AUSTIN—Although holiday celebrations look a little different this year, Texas StateParks and the Texas Historical Commission State Historic Sites are hosting more than50 events across the state to help bring in some holiday cheer. This year, 32 Texas State Parks and six State Historic Sites are presenting Thanksgiving and Christmas themed scavenger hunts, self-guided walks and virtual events.
Anyone planning a trip to a Texas State Park should keep in mind that parks are operating at a limited capacity, reserving a day pass in advance is highly recommended since some parks are expected to reach their capacity limit. Day passes can be reserved online though the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) website or over the phone by calling (512) 389-8900.
We encourage our visitors to follow posted rules including wearing a mask wheninside buildings or when gathered with others at a Texas State Park. Local andstatewide limitations and restrictions apply and can change rapidly, so we recommendchecking social media or calling the park directly for updates before traveling. At Bastrop and Buescher State Park, visitors canenjoy two self-guided scavengerhunts everyday throughout November. The “Happy Harvest Hunt” scavenger hunt will help parkgoers discover the edible and helpful plants in the Lost Pines ecosystem. Visitors can also learn to identify the tracks and signs ofturkeys and otherwildlife on the “Turkey Trails” scavenger hunt. Anyone wanting to participate in thehunts can grab a laminated scavenger hunt sheet and marker from the kiosk at thePiney Hill restroom at Bastrop State Park or the headquarters at Buescher State Parkand head out on the trails.
From 10 a.m. –4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19., visitors at Brazos Bend State Park cantake part in a self-guided holiday hike. Visitors can pick up a guide at the NatureCenter and start their walk at the Creekfield Lake trail to experience some holidaycheer and learn about the park. This easy hike is ADA accessible, kid friendly andcan be done at your own pace. After completing the hike, parkgoers can return back to the Nature Center and share what they’ve learned to receive a prize. Visitors are invited to enjoy a free drive through Cooper Lake State Park-DoctorsCreek Unit and see how campers transform their campsites into a winter wonderland from 6 p.m. -8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18 –Saturday, Dec. 19. Reservations arerequiredfor anyone wishing to camp.
Anyone visiting Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site during the first threeSaturdays of December can grab a self-guided tour packet, walk the grounds for freeand learn about how Christmas was celebrated in northTexas during the 1890s (whenDwight Eisenhower was born) and 1940s (when the Denison community preserved theBirthplace house). Children’s craft kits will be available for purchase through thesite’s retail-to-go program while supplies last. Birthplace house tours areavailable with advance reservation and payment. For more information, call (903)465-8908.
In South Texas, families can pick a spot in the day use area of Falcon State Park toview the Second Annual Falcon Lake Christmas Boat Parade from 7 p.m. -10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. Visitors will be able to see decked out boats float by in cheerful Christmas lights.
The grounds of Kreische Brewery and Monument Hill State Historic Sites are beingtransformed with holiday lights during the evenings from 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 4-6,10-13 and 17-23. This annual event has been expanded to 14 nights to allow plenty ofopportunities for social distancing. Guests will also be able to enjoy the walking trail with new light displays and photo opportunities in a safe, outdoor venue. The exterior of the Kreische House will be decorated in the 19th century German tradition.
For more information about holiday activities at Texas State Parks, visit the TexasParks and Wildlife Department website. A full calendar is available online on theTPWD calendar page. For more activities at THC’s State Historic Sites, visit the Texas Historical Commission website.