Sunday, April 21, 2024

Outdoorsy day trips offer summertime activity options

Lake Tawakoni State Park, photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

The coronavirus pandemic has altered most people’s summer plans. Many summer camps and vacations have been canceled or rescheduled, and many indoor activities remain closed or will be difficult to maintain social distancing guidelines.

Here are some ideas for a half-day or day trip activity for southern Denton County residents who want to get out of the area for a little bit, while also allowing people to keep social distance.

Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge

Less than an hour from Flower Mound, take a hike between Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake. The natural area is comprised of forests, prairies and wetlands, and is home to a herd of bison, on exhibit along Buffalo Road.

Admission is $5 for adults and $2 for children, online registration is required. Located at 9601 Fossil Ridge Road, Fort Worth, the nature center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays.

A hiking trail in Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Chickasaw National Recreation Area

Less than two hours from Flower Mound, Chickasaw National Recreation Area offers more than 20 miles of trails around streams, lakes, freshwater and mineral springs, foothills and a bison pasture in southern Oklahoma. Swimming, boating and fishing is available in the Lake of the Arbuckles. A section of the land used to be Platt National Park, the country’s seventh national park.

Some campgrounds are closed, as is the Travertine Nature Center. Located at 901 West First St., Sulphur, Oklahoma, the park is free and open 24/7.

Lake Tawakoni State Park

Located about an hour and a half east of Flower Mound, Lake Tawakoni is a 38,000-acre reservoir where guests go to boat, fish and swim. There are also lots of trails for hiking, biking and nature-watching.

Located at 10822 FM 2475, Wills Point, the park is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and admission is $5 for adults and free for kids.

Paluxy River in Dinosaur Valley State Park, photo courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife

Dinosaur Valley State Park

About an hour and a half from Flower Mound, Dinosaur Valley State Park offers guests the chance to literally walk in the fossilized footprints of the dinosaurs in the Paluxy riverbed. Area residents go there to hike and bike 20 miles of trails, swim, fish and paddle in the river, watch for wildlife and more.

Located at 1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, the park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $7 for adults, free for kids.

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center

Located near Dinosaur Valley, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center offers a drive-thru safari experience. Guests can stay in their vehicles and drive through the area and see exotic animals such as cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wolves, rhinos and many more.

Lodging, guided tours, group tours and the Children’s Animal Center are temporarily closed. The park, located at 2299 County Road 2008, Glen Rose, opens daily at 8:30 a.m. The last car is admitted at 4:30 p.m., and all visitors must exit by 6:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for adults and $20 for kids.

Social Distancing

Despite Texas reopening most of its economy, the coronavirus pandemic is not over. Here are some tips and reminders to abide by CDC social distancing guidelines and/or reduce your risk of exposure to or spread of the virus if you visit one of the above destinations.

  • Whenever possible, stay more than six feet away from others not in your household
  • If you have to get within six feet of anyone — whether you’re paying a park admission fee or passing someone on a narrow trail — cover your face with a mask
  • Instead of stopping at a restaurant, pack a lunch
  • If you are sick, or have been exposed to someone who is sick, stay home

Mark Smith
Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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