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TPWD News Release — March 31, 2009

Brazos Bend State Park Turns 25

Anniversary Celebration Scheduled for April 4, Entrance Fees Waived

NEEDVILLE, TX — A full day of park activities and interpretive programs as well as a midday ceremony are scheduled to commemorate the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration of Brazos Bend State Park on Saturday, April 4, at this popular park in Southeast Texas, located less than an hour’s drive from Houston’s southwest side.

The morning activities include guided interpretive hikes into the park’s numerous scenic trails and wetlands areas, identifying various wildlife and plants, and a children’s story time. The park’s usual $5 per-person entrance fee normally charged for adults ages 13 and older will also be waived from 7 a.m.-noon for those attending the 25th anniversary event.

"For 25 years, Brazos Bend has been a great place for families to come and spend the day enjoying nature, or for folks to just get away and relax from their normal and busy routine," said Brazos Bend Superintendent Steve Killian. "Despite being just a short drive from Houston, the park remains a wildlife viewing paradise for things like the American alligator, whitetail deer and some 300 species of birds. We’ve been a natural oasis for the Houston area for this many years, and with the continued support of our visitors and from those dedicated to preserving and enjoying the outdoors, we’ll be here for future generations of Texans as well."

The anniversary ceremony is set to begin at 11 a.m., with speeches by local elected officials such as State Representative Dora Olivo, State Senator Joan Huffman and Fort Bend County Judge Bob Herbert; a recognition of past and current park managers; a conservation message by State Park Division Director Walt Dabney; a future vision for state parks by TPWD Executive Director Carter Smith, and songs performed by the local Needville High School choir and singer/songwriter Frank Seay.

In the afternoon, more interpretive programs are slated, including reptiles of Brazos Bend, birding programs, a pond life ecosystem demonstration, snake program, nature hikes, a plant photography walk and another children’s story time.

Live Bluegrass music and storytelling are also scheduled for the evening.

Food vendors will be on site selling refreshments during the day-long event, and the park stores will be open selling souvenirs and convenience items.

Renown for its unique wildlife viewing opportunities, as well as a healthy grove of huge and stately moss-draped live oak trees, the 5,000-acre Brazos Bend State Park has become one of the most visited park destinations near the Houston area during the last quarter century. Over the years, the park has received national recognition as a top recreational park in Texas, offering visitors hiking, fishing, biking, equestrian, and overnight camping opportunities, and even preserves a rare section of remaining upland tall-grass coastal prairie ecosystem.

Adding to Brazos Bend’s colorful array of public attractions, the George Observatory was added to the park in 1989 by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, and continues to feature one of the largest telescopes in the U.S. that is open to the public on a regular basis. Access to the observatory is open most Saturdays, and use of the telescope should be set up in advance and requires an additional fee.

For more information on Brazos Bend State Park, the 25th Anniversary Celebration, or other activities, contact the park at (979) 553-5102, or visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/parks.

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