Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
Things to Do
The primary activities at the lake unit are fishing and wildlife observation. Sheldon Lake is open every day to public fishing with appropriate licenses. Boats must not exceed headway speed while operating on the lake; they may be launched at the south boat ramp on Pineland Road. Bank fishing is permitted year-round.
Activities at the State Park and Environmental Learning Center include group programming, birding, wildlife/nature study, hiking, and fishing for children. The park (open Monday - Sunday) includes a 0.5-mile self-guided nature trail that passes 28 naturalized ponds that contain alligators and other wildlife. (Binoculars are recommended for best viewing.) Free catch-and-release family fishing is permitted for children accompanied by adults, in the two fishing ponds. Alternative energy technologies and green building techniques (photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind turbine and ground coupled-geothermal) are demonstrated at the Pond Center. A wildscape demonstration garden shows techniques to use native plants and wildflowers that attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your backyard. A composting demonstration area shows easy means of recycling household leaves and grass.
John Jacob Observation Tower: One of the newest park features, this 82-foot tower allows visitors to see incredible unobstructed panoramas of the surrounding wetland and lake, the park’s restored prairie, and even the downtown Houston skyline and the San Jacinto Monument—each 15-plus miles away in opposite directions. The lofty tower views can be accessed via a solar-powered elevator, that leads to two observation decks (or there are stairs if you prefer). This unique tower was funded almost entirely by private donations, and is named in honor of former Anheuser Busch executive John Jacob.
Tours/Programs: The Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center (15315 Beaumont Highway at Park Road 138) offers a variety of nature and ecology programs to organized groups on a reservation basis. Park staff and volunteers provide programs on nature/ecology, nature walks, catch-and-release fishing in two stocked ponds (fishing poles provided), pond ecology, native plant gardening, hunter education, composting and recycling. Programs range in time from 1-2 hours each. Without special arrangements, group size is limited to 50 children. Teachers and chaperones must accompany the group in at least a 1 to 10 ratio.
- Interpretive Guide to Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center
- A Guide to Alternative Energy and Green Building at Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center
- Birds of Sheldon Lake SP & Environmental Learning Center: A Field Checklist
For information on volunteer opportunities at Sheldon Lake, contact the park at (281) 456-2800. Go to the Volunteer Opportunities page for information on the many volunteering options available at state parks and historic sites.
Nearby attractions include the San Jacinto Battleground Historic Complex, which consists of the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, the San Jacinto Monument, and the Battleship TEXAS State Historic Site; Lake Houston Park; NASA's Johnson Space Center; Mercer Arboretum; Houston Zoological Gardens; and the Houston Museum District.