Enjoy an Adventurous Summer 2015
From water parks to lakeside picnics, intriguing museums to exploring a community, the Upper East Side of Texas has no shortage of things to do for families and adventurous souls of all ages during the dog days of summer.
Here are a few ideas to get started.
1. Have a zoo fest by going to the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler one day and plan to visit the more intimate Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin on another. The Caldwell Zoo is 85 acres of more than 3,400 animals dwelling in six main habitats or exhibits including the African Savanna, North America, South America, African Aquarium, North American Herpetarium, and the Wild Bird Walkabout. The Lufkin zoo has close to 700 reptiles, birds and mammals from around the world including a Maasai giraffe and white rhinoceros. There’s a train ride that goes around the zoo and across Ellen Trout Lake. Caldwell Zoo, 2203 Martin Luther King Blvd. 903.593.0121. www.caldwellzoo.org. Ellen Trout Zoo, 402 Zoo Cir. 936.633.0399. cityoflufkin.com/zoo.
2. While in Lufkin check out the Naranjo Museum of Natural History that features exhibits with cave bears, the Whooly Mammoth, bison, and many dinosaurs. Also, the museum recently unveiled an almost four billion-year-old moon rock on permanent loan from NASA’s Johnson Space Center. It came from the Apollo 14 space mission and is the largest moon rock sample in NASA’s display collection. 5104 S. 1st St. 936.639.3466. naranjomuseum.org.
3. Speaking of NASA, Hemphill in Sabine County has a number of markers and memorials where debris fell when the Space Shuttle Columbia shuttle exploded February 1, 2003. There’s also a museum in Hemphill that tells the story of space exploration from the first Columbia mission through its final mission and honors that crew. Patricia Huffman Smith Museum, 375 Sabine St. 409.787.4827. nasacolumbiamuseum.com.
4. Check out the Enchanted Fair Garden at the East Texas Arboretum in Athens. A farmers’ market takes place twice a week and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center has bird watching and many other activities as well as fishing. 903.677.0775. athenstx.org.
5. Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at the ninth-annual Toyota Texas Bass Classic (TTBC) with a world-wide fishing tournament, concerts by Billy Currington, Lee Brice, Joe Nichols, and Rodney Atkins, and much more on the banks of the beautiful Lake Fork. 866.907.0143. ToyotaTexasBassClassic.com.
6. Call local city offices to find out about July 4th celebration details. A couple of notable events with great music are the Gun Barrel City July Fest with Vanilla Ice, Aaron Watson and more, and Ben Wheeler’s celebration honoring the late Brooks Gremmels.
7. Go to local farmers’ markets and pick your own centers. The Upper East Side of Texas is home to many fantastic markets that not only help the farmers and provide healthy foods but make a day of fun activities including music and cooking demonstrations.
8. Check out Bob, Stanley, and Joseph’s barbecue joints in Henderson, Tyler, and Jefferson, respectively. All three are regular winners in the region and the state for the best barbecue. Read more about each of them in the County Line archives, countylinemagazine.com.
9. Take a train excursion. The Texas State Railroad has really beefed up its offerings this year from full meals to photography opportunities to holiday treats leaving from both the Palestine and Rusk depots. 877.726.7245. texasstaterr.com.
10. Check out the extensive list of events and things to do on County Line eMagazine. From resource listings to exploring individual communities, the possibilities are endless. countylinemagazine.com.