At Cattail Marsh Wetlands Area, 900 acres offer a variety of recreational activities, with more than 8 miles of gravel roads perfect for jogging, biking, hiking and more. Take the family and make a contest out of who can spot the most animals. This wildlife refuge has attracted the interest of environmentalists and serious birders, with more than 350 species making appearances annually. It's also home to gators and aquatic animals. Cattail Marsh Wetlands Area is located at 5305 Tyrrell Park Road. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 409-861-1929.
Just a short driving distance from Beaumont is Texas Point and McFaddin National Wildlife Refuges. The area is the largest remaining freshwater marsh on the Texas Coast. The refuges are open daily from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. The visitor center is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Both refuges are located along Highway 87 (7590 South Gulfway Drive in Sabine Pass).
Near Cattail Marsh in Tyrrell Park, the Beaumont Botanical Gardens offer 23 acres of ever-changing beaut. Stroll the paved walkway connecting the themed gardens showcasing camellias, modern and antique roses, bromeliads and many native plants. It's the prime location for family photo-taking. Once you've got the perfect shot, take the kids to feed the fish at the koi pond, where they can also see ducks and turtles. The Beaumont Botanical Gardens are located at 66088 Babe Zaharias Drive. The gardens are open to the public during daylight hours daily at no charge.
And gators, oh my!
Southeast Texas is home to the largest alligator population in the state. In Beaumont, these scaly critters are celebrities in their own right, and the perfect place to learn more about them is at Gator Country. At this gator refuge, visitors can feed alligators, swim with them and attend educational shows. Gator Country is located at 21159 FM 36. Admission is $15 for adults, $12 for children 2 to 12 and $11 for seniors. For more information, visit www.gatorrescue.com.
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