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Destination Texas: Eaton Hill Nature Center and Preserve in Sonora

Destination Texas

Where I-10 and Highway 277 meet, you’ll find Sonora, Texas. It’s home to cute shops, a historic courthouse, the Ice House Ranch Museum and the Sonora Broncos. But there are several other animals you can learn about while you’re here.

The Eatons were ranchers in Sonora. They owned the land, including Eaton Hill and house turned museum, and the mechanisms that supplied water to the City of Sonora. After several generations of Eatons owning the land, it was acquired for a new purpose in the early 2000s.

“The house itself is actually over 100 years old,” Brooke Wood, Executive Director of the Eaton Hill Nature Center and Preserve said.

Wood says its new purpose is all about education, conservation, and preservation. There are hiking trails, bird watching areas, and much more.

Some might be surprised to learn that there are a lot of fossils that have been found in the area, most are aquatic. However, there is one that blows the rest out of the water.

“We also have a mammoth tusk that was found on the Sonora golf course by a Jr. High student in 1991,” Wood said.

But it’s not all about the past, there are plenty of other creatures and exhibits in this house.

“Everything from butterflies to cicadas to spiders, tarantulas, tarantula hawks,” Wood said.

In the back room, you’ll see turtles, snakes, prairie dogs, and other animals that may be in need of some TLC. For this center, it’s about balance and keeping the area and its inhabitants in the most natural state possible.  

“We’re a very unique area. We’re where the Texas Hill Country and Chihuahuan Desert meet and we have animals from both ecosystems,” Wood said.

Wood says, no matter where they’re from, she always hopes visitors feel a new appreciation for West Texas wildlife.

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