Walk Amongst the Fossils in Dinosaur Valley State Park
Getting the family together during the school year can be difficult when navigating busy schedules, but as summer approaches, more time can be found to spend together exploring the natural beauty of Texas.
Located just west of Fort Worth and a two-hour drive from Fort Hood, Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose allows guests to discover and view natural fossils left behind by dinosaurs living in the area more than 113 million years ago, when the park was on the edge of an ancient sea.
The Paluxy River that runs through the park is host to a number of theropod and sauropod tracks unlike any in the area, due to the fossil-friendly composition of the mud millions of years ago that preserved the footprints of these carnivorous and herbivorous reptiles. Visitors can follow a map of the park area to help locate the known fossils.
Aside from the unique peek into prehistory, the park offers picnic sites, camping, guided tours, horseback riding trails, swimming, fishing, wildlife watching, and trails for hiking and mountain biking.
“We have a pretty extensive trail system,” for mountain biking that is used for special event races throughout the year, or for anyone looking for a different experience from hiking, said Molly Hickey, park office manager.
Camping sites for Memorial Day weekend are already full, as they have been booked for months.
“You have to start anywhere from three to 10 months out to get a reservation for the weekend,” said Hickey. “It’s the norm in the state parks now” to fill up so quickly.
A number of weekend events occur on a rotating basis, with anything from night hikes led by park volunteers, fossil hunts, to tours of an old moonshine distillery site on park grounds to educate visitors on the history of the county, said Hickey.
The park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. unless camping overnight. Daily entrance fee is $7 for adults, and children 12 years and under are free.
To check campsite availability, call 512-389-8900. For more general information on the park and events, call 254-897-4588.
If staying closer to home this weekend, use this listing of events and other options for family fun:
Summer Fun Water Park, 1410 Waco Road in Belton, is now open for the season. Summer Fun features multiple water slides, a lazy river, large swimming pool, and pavilions for parties. The park is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 1 to 6 p.m. on Sundays. Admission prices: adults, $16; children three to 12 years old, $13; non-swimmers, $7; and seniors, free. The park offers discounted rates for admission after 3 p.m., and Sunday admission is $13 for all ages. Summer Fun also features teen and adult nights throughout the summer. Go to summerfunwaterpark.com for more information.
The Killeen Family Aquatics Center, 1800 E. Stan Schlueter Loop, will open again for the season on Memorial Day weekend. The center includes a 10,360 square foot multi-use pool, a lap pool, bathhouse, three water slides, kid’s play area, shaded rest areas and more. Day passes range from $5 to $8 based upon age, with kids 3 years and under always free. The center will be open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1 to 6:30 p.m.