Celebrating 100 Years of Texas State Parks with Special April Events

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AUSTIN — The Centennial Celebration of Texas State Parks is in full swing as spring brings more Texans outdoors. To commemorate 100 years, every state park will host at least one special community event during the 2023 Centennial year, along with regular park events all year long. In April, state parks across Texas will host a variety of events, including several that commemorate Earth Day. Everyone is invited to join in the fun.

April 1

Palmetto State Park  (near San Antonio and Austin) 100 Years, 100 Species

Celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks at Palmetto State Park by helping identify 100 different species. Learn different tips and tricks of identifying; some include sound, sight, and apps such as iNaturalist and SEEK. The event will run from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Cooper Lake State Park — Doctors Creek Unit (northeast of Dallas) Festival of the Fish

Several come and go programs will be featured during this celebration of fish.  Fish with a park ranger, learn fish anatomy and other species-specific information during a hands-on painting activity, learn to tie and attach tackle to your line, and visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Fishing Trailer. The event will run from 9 a.m.- 3:15 p.m.

Lake Somerville State Park — Nails Creek Unit (east of Austin) Get Hooked on the Outdoors  

A new spring fishing event which incorporates multiple styles of fishing. Come learn to fly fish with our partners at Good Fly, experience creek fishing from a kayak, or take a child fishing for the first time in our stocked family fishing pond. All ages and experience levels welcome. The event will run from 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

April 14 – 16

Caddo Lake State Park  (East Texas, northeast of Marshall) Caddo Homecoming!

Celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks and 30 years of conservation with the Caddo Lake Institute during this week-end-long event. Walk into yesteryear at Caddo Lake State Park and try your hand at canoeing, fishing, games, art, and even a sock hop. Decorate your campsite with a retro theme, visit an outreach table or local presentation, and enjoy events and activities all weekend long. The event will run from 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

April 15

Ray Roberts Lake State Park — Isle Du Bois Unit  (north of Dallas-Fort Worth) Greenfest on the Greenbelt

Come celebrate 100 Years of Texas State Parks at Greenfest 2023, presented by the Greenbelt Alliance of Denton County. Greenfest includes a 5k run, a 1-mile fun run and a family festival centered around health, wellness, and outdoor recreation. The event will run from 7:30 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Mustang Island State Park (near Corpus Christi) Mustang Island State Park – Explore the Shore
Help Texas State Parks celebrate 100 years of providing outdoor camping, fishing, and hunting. State parks are rolling out the red carpet and inviting all interested visitors to see their parks from a new perspective. Mustang Island will offer a large array of interpretive events throughout the day where visitors can come and go and explore their shore. The event will run from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Martin Creek Lake State Park  (East Texas, southeast of Longview) Bait and Boats

Join us for an introduction to water-based recreation. Start your morning off by attending our Fishing 101 course to show new users the basics of fishing. Test your new skills on the water by participating in our fishing derby. Wrap up your day on the water, as park rangers guide a sunset paddle in kayaks and canoes around the island. Equipment available by reservation. The event will run from 9 a.m.- 8 p.m.

South Llano River State Park (near Junction, West of San Antonio) 100 Years at South Llano River

Join us as we celebrate the Texas Hill Country and Walter Buck, Jr., who donated this land to TPWD. There will be various activities for the family; we are also making a 100-year celebration quilt. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

Dinosaur Valley State Park (near Glen Rose, southwest of Dallas- Fort Worth) Annual Spring Wing Ding

Join us as we celebrate everything migratory and with wings. We will have ranger programs, self-guided activities, arts and crafts, hikes and nature walks and much more. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Bonham State Park (northeast of Dallas-Fort Worth) Texas State Parks 100-Year Celebration

Celebrate this 100-year milestone with us at Bonham State Park. We will have various natural and cultural table talks and activities for all to enjoy including identifying fossils, a Bois ’d Arc Trail CCC hike and a backyard bass program. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.

McKinney Falls State Park (near Austin) McKinney Falls Fest: 100-year Celebration

Come out to the park for a fun day full of guided hikes, guided fishing, live music, food trucks, activity booths and more. We will be celebrating all things Texas Hill Country — joining us is Austin Wildlife Rescue, the Buffalo Soldiers, TreeFolks, Snakes of Hays County, Earth Native, Bat Conservation International and many more. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. 

Lake Whitney State Park (northwest of Waco) Star Party in the Park

Enjoy an evening in the park viewing the galaxy by using star maps, a laser pointer and telescope. Retired National Park Ranger and Astronomer Larry Smith will guide you through the planets, moon and stars. The event will run from 8 p.m.- 10 p.m.

April 22

Mission Tejas State Park (East Texas, west of Nacogdoches) 16th Annual Folk Festival at Mission Tejas

Kick back and take a trip back in time. Explore the festival grounds beneath the pines and interact with presenters that bring our past to life. Learn about the crafts, skills, trades and history that helped early Texans survive. There is fun for the whole family, with many activities for all ages. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Village Creek State Park (north of Beaumont) Village Creek Fun Day

Join us as we celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks. Our fun day will feature activities for all ages including primitive skills practice, paddling tutorials, archery, yoga, fishing, guided hikes and more. There will also be a Camping with a Ranger overnight event that night. The event will run from 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Big Bend Ranch State Park (far West Texas) Airstrip Astronomy

Join us for an exciting night of stargazing, astrophotography and astronomy-based oral history at the Sauceda Airstrip. You will view the night sky with your eyes, through the lens of telescopes with amateur astronomers, and learn the basics of night sky photography, all accompanied by a narrative transporting you through space and time. Limited camping on the airstrip is available by reservation only. The event will run from 6- 10:30 p.m.

Pedernales Falls State Park (Johnson City, west of Austin) Celebration under the Stars

Come celebrate 100 years of State Parks with a party under the stars. We’ll have stargazing with constellations, deep sky objects and planets. Other nighttime activities include a camping demonstration, a nocturnal wildlife table and a nighttime sensory testing station. Night-sky-friendly lighting will also be demonstrated. The event will run from 7:30- 10:30 p.m.

April 29

Goose Island State Park (in Rockport, near Corpus Christi) Goose Island Extravaganza

Join us in the celebration of 100 years in Texas State Parks. Activities include fishing, archery, kayaking, a star party, demonstrations, food and more. A Star Party will be held that evening. This event will run from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

In addition to these Centennial celebrations, several state parks will be commemorating Earth Day with special events on April 22, including an Earth Day Extravaganza at Ray Roberts Lake, an Earth Day Park Pick-Up at Martin Creek Lake, a Hawk Watch at Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley, an Adopt-a Beach event at Sea Rim and a Wildscape Work Day at Sheldon Lake.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation is partnering with TPWD and H-E-B to celebrate 100 years of Texas State Parks. H-E-B, the presenting sponsor of the celebration, has donated $1 million to help Texas State Parks engage all Texans in discovering and enjoying their state parks.

For more information on the Centennial Celebration, including community events, the history of Texas State Parks and how to make a day visit or overnight reservation, visit the Texas State Parks 100 Years website at TexasStateParks.org/100years.