Texans Invited to Celebrate the Holidays at State Parks
Fifty-two Texas State Parks are spreading holiday cheer with more than 75 seasonal events happening now through Christmas. This holiday season park visitors can enjoy Santa hikes, ornament workshops and trails of lights, just to name a few. In Northeast Texas, Atlanta State Park is hosting Christmas in the Park at 9 p.m. Dec. 14-15. Visitors can enjoy a drive through the decorated park and get a chance to see Santa, Mrs. Claus, the Grinch and Smokey the Bear. Any camper who participates by decorating their campsite will have their fees waived. Refreshments and treats will be served at the event. Step back in time and see how the holidays would have been celebrated on the Battleship Texas at its Yuletide Texas event 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Battleship Texas State Historic Site near Houston. Staff on the historic ship will recreate classic Christmas traditions the crew would have experienced during their time afloat while the ship was in service. Younger visiting sailors will also have a chance to take a photo with Santa and transmit a message directly to the North Pole from the ship’s post office. Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site in North Texas is recreating what Christmas would have looked like in the 1870s during their Ghosts of Christmas Past event 5-7 p.m. Dec. 8. Once the sun sets, visitors can stroll through the buildings and glimpse into the holiday festivities of the past. The historic buildings will be filled with soldiers and their families reveling in the evening Christmas celebrations of a nineteenth century U.S. military post.
Warm up by the fire at Indian Lodge in Davis Mountains State Park during their fireside stories of black bears program at 4 p.m. Dec. 8 and 15. Staff will tell tales of the bears in the Davis Mountains including an unbelievable story about the hunt for a grizzly. In Wichita Falls, Lake Arrowhead State Park is hosting a Prairie Dog Christmas Scavenger Hunt 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Dec. 15. Christmas-themed prairie dogs will be hidden around the park for visitors to find. Anyone who finds three prairie dogs wins a prize. Use #laspchristmas to share a photo of you and the prairie dog to Facebook and Instagram. The 49th annual tree lighting at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site Dec. 16, from 5-8 p.m. is a Hill Country tradition started by the President and First Lady Johnson, which has continued for nearly a half century. The event highlights the German holiday traditions of the region. The evening also features carolers, a live nativity, Santa Claus and refreshments. Revisit the past at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm. The farm will be decorated the way families would have celebrated the holidays in the early 1900s. For more information about holiday activities at Texas State Parks, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. A full calendar is available online on the TPWD calendar page. Photos of past holiday events are available on the TPWD Flickr page. Want to bring Texas State Parks home for the holidays? Commemorate parks and the holidays with a Texas State Park ornament. For more than 15 years, the annual park Christmas ornaments have featured some of the most recognizable Texas State Parks landscapes. This year, the ornaments depict the historic buildings at Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site, the tropical dwarf palmettos of Palmetto State Park and the iconic dunes of Monahans Sandhills State Park. The wooden ornaments are available for purchase for $8.95 each or $19.95 for the set of three. To purchase them, call 512-389-8900. Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is also offering a special subscription deal for the holidays. Anyone can give two gift subscriptions to the magazine for just $15. Don’t want to feel left out? Give yourself the gift of the outdoors for an additional $5. Subscriptions can be ordered online http://bit.ly/TPWMagholiday18.