Archive for the 'State Parks' Category

Toddle Down this Trail of Lights

Tuesday, December 4th, 2018
Kriesche Brewery State Historic Site during the Trail of Lights.

Kriesche Brewery State Historic Site during the Trail of Lights.

This is Passport to Texas

Thousands of twinkling lights illuminate a quarter mile walking trail at the Monument Hill and Kriesche Brewery State Historic Sites in LaGrange.

The trail of lights is open to the public five nights during the first part of December from 6 pm to 8 pm. And our park is decorated with lots of lights and different ornaments throughout the grounds. Kriesche house is open, it’s decorated for Christmas. We have entertainment, refreshments, and Santa Clause is there for children to tell their wishes to.

Dennis Smith is park superintendent. The remaining dates are December seventh, eighth, fourteenth and fifteenth.

[It’s] just a really pretty site here. We sit on a 200 foot bluff that overlooks the city of La Grange—and see the night lights of the city. It’s just a really spectacular opportunity for people to come out and enjoy a great Christmas celebration.

The trail of lights is the perfect family activity for the holiday season.

Every year we have comments from families that say we’ve been coming out here for the last 20 years. Families that come from Houston, Austin, San Antonio—just to come back to the trail of lights each year. We see more and more of that as we go by, and are just really glad to see these families keep coming back with more generations of their families to help celebrate the season.

Find details about all holiday events at State parks at texasstateparks.org.

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

Get Campy with the Kiddos

Monday, November 26th, 2018
Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

Family camping trip at Bastrop State Park

This is Passport to Texas

When Ryan Spencer worked for Texas Parks and Wildlife, he connected people with nature through the Texas Outdoor Family Program.

I work out of a trailer and we go all over the state. It’s a unique office, but I really love it.

Ryan currently manages the Children in Nature Collaborative in Austin. But when he was with Texas Parks and Wildlife, he would…

…go from park to park and show people how to go camping for the first time.

Studies prove that when children spend time outside with their families they are healthier, happier and smarter. In addition, the family bond grows stronger.

They have better family cohesion. So that means, that children who spend more time with their parents outside, become nicer teenagers when they grow up.

Rally the family around outdoor fun and caring for our environment.

We teach about “Leave No Trace” and how to protect the environment while you’re out there enjoying it. We want to give them some skills that they can repeat on their own when they come back from the state park. So, things like cooking on a camp stove; setting up a tent.

To find a Texas Outdoor Family Workshop near you, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Out show receives support from RAM Trucks. Built to serve.

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

Where to see Bald Eagles

Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Bald Eagle at Lake Texoma. Image by: Hilary Roberts

This is Passport to Texas

After nearly disappearing from most of the United States decades ago, the bald eagle is now flourishing. It was removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in 2007.

The symbol of our nation got its name from an old English word “piebald”—which means white faced.

You’ll find bald eagles in every state but Hawaii; the largest US concentration thrives in Alaska.

These impressive birds also spend time in the Central and East Texas. Want to see one?

You’ll have the best luck finding eagles on lakes and rivers during peak season, which is October through March. Start your search at a Texas State Park.

Visitors to Fairfield Lake State Park, southeast of Dallas consistently spot bald eagles. They’ve also been seen at Martin Creek Lake State Park, near Longview.

There’s a bald eagle nesting site at Lake Texana, 35 mi. northeast of Victoria. Visitors can see them from the viewing stand on the east side of the parking lot.

In Central Texas, folks often spot the birds around Lake Buchanan, which is 70 miles northwest of Austin.

If you see bald eagles this fall or winter, document your observation at the Texas Eagle Nest project on iNaturalist.org.

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

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 Texasstateparks.org.

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 texassrtateparks.org. 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.