Walk Amongst the Fossils in Dinosaur Valley State Park

Thursday, May 24, 2018

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:

Aquatic 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.

Hancock Springs Free Flow Pool is one of the last free-flowing spring-fed pools in Texas with water staying at a cool 72 degrees no matter how hot it gets outside. The spring will reopen May 26 and is at Hancock Park, Highway 281 South in Lampasas. Adult admission fee is $3.50 per day and seniors and children are $2.50. The pool will be open Thursday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m.

Belton Lake Outdoor and Recreation Center, at the intersection of North Nolan Road and Cottage Road, has a number of activities for families to enjoy. Camping sites, picnic pavilions, horseback riding trails, hiking, mountain biking, as well as a man-made beach complete with a downhill water slide and more are available. Military patrons pay $3 per car; all others are $10 per vehicle. Visit hood.armymwr.com for more information.

Copperas Cove has two swimming pools at South Park, 2602 Dennis Drive, and the City Park Complex, 1206 W. Avenue B. Both pools will open for the season on Memorial Day weekend.

Upcoming Events

Children and teenagers can register now through June 1 at their local Killeen Public Library branch to be a part of the Summer Reading Club, which will start June 4 and end July 28. The libraries will host free special events and entertainment throughout the summer, while encouraging readers to complete their summer reading log. Pick up a packet during registration for more information.

The annual Fort Hood Chapter Memorial Walk will take place this Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen. Visitors will walk a half-mile loop on the cemetery grounds 21 times to signify the 21-gun salute in honor of the veterans laid to rest there, along with a moment of silence. Appropriate athletic attire and water are recommended.

A Memorial Day observance event will be at 10 a.m. Monday at the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen to honor fallen soldiers. Large crowds are expected; arrive early to find parking.

Source: http://kdhnews.com