Outdoor Activity of the Month: October — History
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Outdoor Activity of the Month: Bring Texas History to Life!
History and cultural treasures come alive in Texas State Parks this October! From playing air/sea/land games aboard the historic Battleship Texas, to getting a taste of the outdoors at a living history farm, or hiking to view 4,000 year old rock art— bring your family closer to the rich cultural history of Texas!
But that’s only the beginning. Many state parks offer guided tours of 19th century missions, military frontier forts, and Civilian Conservation Corps structures or special history events and presentations— like The First Regular Army or “Buffalo Soldiers”. Plus, October is Texas Archeology Month, and Texas State Parks feature some of the best Native American pictographs in the nation.
History is better outside! Here’s just a sample of what’s happening around Texas:
- Experience farm life as park interpreters dressed as a German-immigrant family in the Hill Country in 1915, feed the livestock, make soap, gather eggs, split wood and more. On Sauer-Beckmann Farm at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park.
- Stroll along a historic nature trail to visit an 1870s German family’s house and brewing business. Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historic Sites.
- Explore a cave at Longhorn Cavern State Park, one of six Civilian Conservation Corps-built parks in the region. Over two-and-a-half tons of silt, dirt, and guano were hauled out, much by wheelbarrow, to create the park!
Dallas/Ft. Worth Area
- Step back in time circa 1867 when Ft. Richardson was established as a federal fort after the Civil War. Stay the night at a campsite on a wild land where American Indians once raided and where rowdy soldiers and corrupt carpetbaggers once lived and traveled. Fort Richardson State Park & Historic Site.
- Watch history develop on a family visit to Penn Farm Agricultural History Center, a restored 1950’s farm. See the evolution of the farm as modern conveniences and machinery were added, and visit reconstructed and historic buildings from the mid-1800s through the mid-1900s. Cedar Hill State Park.
- Hike around Cedar Lake to a Civilian Conservation Corps earthen dam and rock spillway at Cleburne State Park. Active during the height of the Great Depression, the CCC’s handiwork remains visible throughout the state park system today.
- Come play WWI and WWII land/sea/air games; sleep overnight aboard this 100-year-old battleship (which was once the most powerful weapon in the world); lunch aboard the last floating dreadnought-era battleship; hear lectures on military and operational history of USS TEXAS at "Texas BROADSIDE! 2013" event on October 4 – 6th. Battleship Texas State Historic Site
- Walk where heroes walked. On this location, General Sam Houston triumphed over the Mexican army of General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, and assured Texas independence from Mexico in1836. See the story of Texas in the museum located in the base of the San Jacinto Monument, the world’s tallest free-standing monument. San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.
- Gain unique insights into the lives and times of the men who fought and won Texas’ independence from Mexico at the Star of the Republic Museum, Independence Hall and Barrington Living History Farm. Discover what life was like for a child in the mid-19th century and make some old-fashioned toys to take home, each Thursday in October. Washington-on-the-Brazos State Park.
- Ride in a famous stagecoach. Tour one of Texas’ most authentically restored stagecoach inns, as guides dressed in period clothes take you back to Texas in the early Republic. Fanthorp Inn comes alive with special "Texian Days to Remember", on the second Saturday of each month, and offers rides on the 1850 Concord stagecoach. Fanthorp Inn State Historic Site.
San Antonio Area
- Immerse yourself in the Spanish Colonial Era through lively guided tours, weaving and craft demonstrations, traveling exhibits, and other events. Tour the beautifully reconstructed Franciscan Mission Espiritu Santo, home of the largest ranching operation in Texas in the 18th century. Goliad State Park and Historic Site.
- Experience farm life as park interpreters dressed as a German-immigrant family in the hill country in 1915, feed the livestock, make soap, gather eggs, split wood and more. On Sauer-Beckmann Farm at Lyndon B. Johnson State Park.
- Camp in a comfortable cabin built by the Civilian Conservation Corps at Garner State Park.
West Texas and the Panhandle Area
- Rock out for 3 days at the 18th Annual Rock Art Foundation Rendezvous on October 18. Join other pictograph aficionados in touring as many sites as possible along the Lower Pecos River area. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site.
- Visit one of the largest fortified adobe trading posts in Texas, along with exhibits on the history from the 15th century, natural history, and archaeological history of the area. Fort Leaton State Historic Site.
- Connect with the West Texas ranching heritage of Big Bend Ranch, 570 million years of geological history and a variety of prehistoric pictographs (rock paintings). Big Bend Ranch State Park.
- The 35-million-year-old igneous rocks of Hueco Tanks have been beckoning travelers and offering sanctuary for at least 4,000 years. Come see the largest collection of pictograph “masks” or face designs in North America and one of the last strongholds of the old ranching era in El Paso. Hueco Tanks State Park and Historic Site.
- Hike to one of the oldest cave dwellings in North America and see some of the oldest and most outstanding Native American pictographs in the world. Seminole Canyon State Park & Historic Site.
Remember, kids 12 and under get free admission to Texas State Parks!
Need more inspiration?
- Interactive online exhibits: Visit our Civilian Conservation Corps page that includes the interactive online exhibits and education resource, “The Look of Nature: Designing Texas State Parks during the Great Depression” and “A New Deal for Texas Parks.”
- Social Media: Talk about history at Texas State Parks Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy on Facebook or @TXParksCCC on Twitter.
- Videos on Texas History/Culture:
- Overview of History and Archeology at Texas State Parks http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N2m_0c-gww
- Goliad State Park & Mission Espiritu Santo http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvkstp6N-is
- Buffalo Soldiers Unknown Army http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLGvTqFPHCw
- San Jacinto Archeology http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9Z6ctRfO2M
- Videos on Texas History/Culture:
- TP&W Magazine: Read the Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine article[ http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2012/jul/scout1_huecograffiti/ ] about the restoration of one of the most important pictograph sites in the Southwest.
Pack up the kids and take a journey back in time. You’ll discover that it’s not what you find; it’s what you find out!
What to bring:
- Hat and Sunglasses
More Outdoor Fun for Kids
- "Get to Know" Texas State Parks Youth Arts Contest [ http://www.get-to-know.org/contest/us/how-to-enter/ ]
- Arts in the Parks Program [ http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/programs/arts-in-parks/ ]
- Junior Ranger Explorer Packs [www.texasstateparks/JuniorRanger ]
- Texas Geocache Challenge [www.texasstateparks.org/geocache]
- Outdoor Kids Journal [www.tpwd.state.tx.us/kids/get_out/outdoor_kids/okjournal.phtml/]
- Neighborhood Fishin’ Program [www.neighborhoodfishin.org]
- Animal Trackers [www.tpwd.state.tx.us/publications/nonpwdpubs/young_naturalist/animals/animal_tracks/]
- Ranger Talks — [http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/ranger-talks-slide-shows] or individual park information at www.texasstateparks.org
What Experts Say about the Benefits of Nature Play [http://texaschildreninnature.org/healthy-happy-smarter]
Pack out what you pack in: Leave No Trace! [http://lnt.org/]
Activities Calendar: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/calendar/history