Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Bat Flights at Kickapoo Caverns State Park

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018

Enjoying the nightly fight of bats at Kickapoo Caverns State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

One of the least understood, but most fascinating, mammals in Texas is the Mexican free tail bat.

Most of us know of this small, brown flying animal because of the bat bridge in downtown Austin, which boasts the largest urban bat colony in North America.

The bats arrive in March, and through late summer, as the sun goes down, up to 1.5 million of them spiral into the darkening sky, heading east to farmers fields for their fill of insect pests. Their nightly emergence draws hundreds of spectators.

No less impressive—but in a more picturesque setting—is a colony of up to a million Mexican free tail bats that come to roost each spring at Stuart Bat Cave at Kickapoo Cavern State Park near Bracketville.
The bats migrate to the cave in mid-March, and usually stay through the end of October. Bat flights are stunning, and with an entrance permit, visitors can experience the majesty of their nightly emergence.

From time-to-time, visitors have remarked that a bat flew into them, bounced off and kept flying…on their way to dinner…with no harm done.

Find more information about Kickapoo Caverns State Park and Stuart Bat cave at

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Cool Off with a Swim at a Texas State Park

Wednesday, July 25th, 2018
Swimming at State Parks.

Swimming at State Parks.

This is Passport to Texas

You don’t have to hunker down indoors as the temperatures continue to climb. Many state parks offer a cool alternative to air-conditioned cabin fever with a number of natural swimming holes…

Public swimming pools can be fun if you like noise and crowds. If you prefer peaceful playtime, float your cares away at Blanco State Park, 40 miles north of San Antonio. Here you’ll find cool, clear, spring-fed swimming for anyone seeking refuge from the long Texas summer.

Located about one hour from Fort Worth, Dinosaur Valley State Park allows visitors to swim in the same Paluxy River where dinosaurs roamed 113-million years ago.

Garner State Park near Uvalde is home to 10 acres of Frio riverfront, giving visitors plenty of space to swim the clear water, scoot the rapids in inner tubes, or even rent pedal boats.

Find listings of river and creek swimming sites at state parks at You’ll also find a list of sites with lake swimming, and even some with ocean swimming.

Or, if you prefer swimming pools, there’s a directory of parks offering those controlled environments to beat the heat. No matter where you decide to take a dip: don’t forget your sunscreen!

That’s our show for today. For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV – Brazos Bend State Park

Friday, July 20th, 2018

Biking the trails at Brazos Bend State Park.

This is Passport to Texas

The thing that makes Brazos Bend State Park special is its diversity. About an hour from Houston, visitors to the park experience Texas as it used to be.

And within this 5,000-acre park, we’ve got swamps to marshes to lakes, coastal tall grass prairie, and we’ve also got some pristine bottomland hardwood forests here.

David Heinicke is with Brazos Bend State Park.

There’s so many things to see here, but one of the biggest draws here are the alligators. On a good day it’s not unusual to be able to walk the trails, and see thirty or forty big alligators out basking either on the edge of the trails or out on the islands. And I’m happy to say that no one has ever been injured by an alligator here at Brazos Bend.

With three picnic areas, 30 miles of hiking and biking trails and plentiful wildlife viewing, Brazos Bend SP is a day trip waiting to happen. And after the sun sets…

The George Observatory is located here in the park. It’s actually owned and operated by the Museum of Natural Science in Houston. But, it has a 36-inch research telescope in a dome, and then two 18-inch telescopes in domes. You can come out any Saturday afternoon and evening and buy tickets to view through the big scopes, and there’s always a lot of astronomer club members that are willing to show you whatever they’re looking at that night.

Explore Brazos Bend State Park without leaving your living room. Tune into the Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series on PBS the week of July 22. Check your local listings.

Our show receives support from RAM Trucks; Built to Serve.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

End of Summer State Park Camping Trip

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

State Park Family Camping

This is passport to Texas

I know it feels like summer just started, but school will be back in session before you know it. Before the school bell rings for the fall semester, maybe it’s time to gather the family for a camping getaway. With parks in every region of Texas, your destination is only a short drive away.

Most state parks have campgrounds, and some of those have water and electric hook-ups. Several parks also accommodate RVs for those who wish to bring a little piece of home with them to the great outdoors. Before you travel, check to see what RV connections are available at your campsite.

For the pampered camper, check out state parks that offer cabins and lodges. Historic landmarks and secluded ranches make for a relaxing getaway.

When camping, remember to properly dispose of food waste to discourage unwanted animals visitors; and always pack out what you pack in.

Remember that you are you are not just a visitor, you are part of the natural world, and as such, it is your responsibility to keep it healthy and inviting to others.

If you’ve never been camping before, consider attending a Texas Outdoor Family workshop where For Texas Parks and Wildlife staff teaches you and your family the basics in a fun-filled weekend.

Find more outdoor opportunities at the website

That’s our show for today…For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti

Catching Waves — Sound Waves

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Atlanta State Park

This is Passport to Texas

It’s easy to forget how the sounds of nature enrich our wellbeing, or how some manmade sounds can have the opposite effect. The World Listening Project recognizes these relationships.

The World Listening Project is a not for profit organization whose goal is to help people better understand our relationships with the sounds around us.

Dan Godston lives in Chicago and is involved in the World Listening Project. He says Wednesday, July 18 is World Listening Day, and one way to observe it is by taking a sound walk in a state park.

And a sound walk is where you’re focused on what you hear in your sound scape, your sonic environment.

In parks you might hear birds, rustling leaves, water, buzzing insects, the sound of mountain bikes whizzing by, people’s voices, and the crunch of a hiking trail beneath your feet.

Traffic, the clanging and growling of industry and manufacturing, and the thumping bass of car stereos heard from blocks away, are also part of the sonic environment, and often considered sound pollution. Just as bright city lights obscure our view of stars in the night sky, excessive manmade sounds muffle our ability to connect with the natural world.

As stewards of this planet, we should try to be careful about what’s happening to biodiversity, and certainly, I think, having the range of sounds relates to that.

That’s our show…for Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.