I’ve partnered with Discover Wylie to bring you these ideas for fun things to do outside in Wylie, Texas. I’d love to hear your ideas if you have more things to add to this list!
True story: I first heard about Wylie, Texas, 20 years ago when I was living in Southern California, which is where I grew up. A friend had visited and came back and told us about this tiny little town she stayed in called Wylie that was *way* outside of Dallas. A lot has changed in the last 20 years! The population in Wylie has tripled since the year 2000, it’s no longer considered way outside of Dallas, and it’s now the place I call home. If I could go back and tell 22-year-old Carrie I’d be living in Wylie one day, I wouldn’t have believed it!
I’ve been here for almost a decade now, and I’m excited to share my town with you. Today I want to share a collection of fun things to do outside in Wylie, Texas.
Visit the Big Cat Sanctuary, In-Sync Exotics
Remember a few months ago when the world was captivated by Joe Exotic? It was crazy to watch, but not even a little bit surprising to learn that people actually buy lions and tigers as pets. The reason I wasn’t surprised is because A) lots of people in Texas seem to have stories about a friend of a friend who has a panther that escaped and is now running loose somewhere, and B) we live right down the road from a big cat sanctuary that provides lifelong homes for exotic animals that people buy and then can no longer care for when they mature.
In-Sync Exotics is located in Wylie and currently home to over 70 cats. That’s a startling number, but the truth is that as long as people continue to buy wild animals, they will continue to need sanctuary. In-Sync does not breed big cats – they provide sanctuary for animals that have been abandoned, confiscated, or surrendered.
When you visit In-Sync, you are able to get within close proximity of the animals (to be clear, it’s all very safe and you will have two fences between you and the cats – there’s no funny business going on here). Your entrance to the park helps support these cats, which require a great deal of care. It takes a lot of people to clean tiger enclosures, and the animals eat a lot of meat. The animals here are well-loved.
You can expect to spend about two hours visiting the park, which is not very large but does have a lot to look at. When we visited last, the cats were getting boxes to play with as enrichment. It was a lot of fun to watch, and they often have special programs that the public can attend.
You can buy tickets at the sanctuary, but be sure to check hours of operation before you go (currently, they are only open on weekends).
Take Horseback Riding Lessons
Wylie is a suburb of Dallas, but parts of it are still pretty rural. The reason my friend came here in the first place, so many years ago, was to get certified as a riding instructor at a Therapeutic Riding Center in Wylie that was well-known for its certification program. Today, even as the city grows and subdivisions pop up almost overnight, horses continue to be an important part of the town. At least, they are to me – I always find the horses, wherever I go!
There are three barns in Wylie that offer riding lessons (and my horse stays at one of them, too). These facilities do not rent out horses for trail rides, or by the hour. You would have to schedule a riding lesson in order to ride. I recommend reaching out to these places in advance to schedule a time to visit and see which lesson program might work for you. These barns also offer boarding, if you have your own horse.
The Double B Equestrian Center has a couple of different trainers, and lessons are available in both English or Western. They have lesson horses, as well.
North Texas Equestrian Center has several trainers to choose from. They focus on hunter/jumper and dressage training, and also provide boarding. North Texas Equestrian Center is also home to Texas Therapeutic Riding Center, which is a certified therapeutic riding center.
Located on Lake Ray Hubbard, Honor Equestrian is another training facility that offers lessons.
Enjoy a Day at the Lake
Wylie is known as “The City Between the Lakes” as it’s located between Lake Lavon and Lake Ray Hubbard. If you own a boat, that’s a lot of lake to explore for fishing and boating!
If you don’t own a boat, you can rent one. You can rent a boat from Anchor Bay or Collin Park Marina, both located in Wylie. Collin Park Marina is located in Collin Park, which also has campsites, softball fields, a playground, and even a floating restaurant.
Just down the road from Collin Park is the East Fork Trail Head, where you’ll find the southernmost trail head of the 25 mile long Trinity Trail. This trail is popular with trailer riders and is great for horses, but you can also hike it – and get some great views of the lake (as well as access to it). We’ve done portions of this trail several time (wear bug spray and sunscreen in the summer!).
Parks in Wylie
One of the reasons we moved to Wylie is because it is so family-friendly. The city has 33 parks to choose from, ranging from neighborhood playgrounds to large sports complexes. You can see all of the parks here, but I want to share a couple of my favorite with you, too.
My kids have always loved Founders Park, which for years they called “The Pirate Park” because of the giant pirate ship fort on the large playground (allll the kids love this park)! They still love this park, but these days when we go to Founders it’s more likely for a sporting event. This is where Wylie youth soccer, softball, and football games take place. It also backs up to Wylie High School, and has access to tennis courts.
Another favorite of mine is the Municipal Complex Trail. This park/trail is located at the library, so we can plan on a library trip and then let the kids run wild on the trails (which are paved, easy to walk, and bike-friendly).
Play a Round of Golf
Golfers in the family will love the Woodbridge Golf Club. The course is situated in the Woodbridge development and surrounded by the community’s trail system. It’s a pretty course with lots of nature! I don’t play golf, but my husband and my mom’s husband love to play around at this course every now and then – they love that they don’t have to go far to play.
I regularly walk the trails around the course and I have seen some amazing sunsets along these trails.
It’s still funny to me that I first learned about this town so many years ago, never imagining I’d live here. Today I love sharing my town and my favorite things to do here. If you’re looking for fun things to do outside in Wylie, Texas, I hope this helps!
You can learn more about Wylie at the Discover Wylie website.