Take a trip on the "Wild Side" of Beaumont by following our Nature Trail, full of outdoor activities sure to connect your group to the wonders of Southeast Texas.
Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the Rao's Bakery; the popular cafe opened its first shop in Beaumont in 1941. Since then hungry visitors have left full and ready to conquer the day. After breakfast head down to Beaumont's "Riverfront Park" in historic downtown and embark on a Neches River Adventures aboard the Cardinal Riverboat, this 37-passenger slow moving boat is perfect for any group looking to relax and soak in the beauty of the Neches River and Big Thicket in comfort. The river boat and dock are handicap and wheelchair accessible.
Upon docking, the group will surely have worked up an appetite and what better way to enjoy nature than with an old fashioned picnic at the Fire Museum of Texas' new pavilion. Completed in March 2009, the covered pavilion will host luncheons, parties, and groups. There are many dining options like Jason's Deli, which got its start right here in Beaumont. Catered customized lunch can be delivered right to your group.
Head over to the Beaumont Botanical Gardens and Warren Loose Conservatory for a continued glimpse at the beauty of Southeast Texas nature. The indoor conservatory boasts hundreds of species of plant life and a Koi pond stocked with Texas size fish ready to be fed. The garden features a 2-story rock waterfall and lake surrounded by multi-colored roses. The garden is also home to one of the country's first 9/11 Memorials.
Conclude your day the Beaumont way by enjoying a mouth-watering feast at Sartin's Seafood. This local hot-spot has been feeding guests its famous BBQ crabs and fried catfish since 1971. Private group rooms and special menus make service a breeze. Come on a night with live music and your group will surely have something to sing and dance about. Great food, music, and memories in Beaumont!
Rekindle your sense of wonder at Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, located just minutes from Beaumont. Remind your group to bring their cameras to capture the beauty of Shangri La Gardens, recently recognized as one of the Top 10 "greenest projects in the world" by the American Institute of Architects. Take a boat ride into the bayou and sit in silence as your group reflects under a canopy of moss covered Cypress trees. After enjoying a fully stocked gift shop the group can dine at leisure at the on-site Star and Crescent Moon Café serving fresh salads, sandwiches, and soups. While in Orange, stop by the Stark Museum of Art, internationally known for housing one of the largest collections of John James Audubon wildlife books.
Back in Beaumont, feed your group's adventurous spirit at Gator Country - Texas' only alligator theme park. Have a hands-on experience by helping feed LIVE gators and take home a picture to prove it! View educational demonstrations and see the jaw dropping half-ton alligator, lovingly named "Big Al." End your day on a high note by grooving to the music of a local bayou band and feasting on Gator Country Restaurant's famous Cajun cuisine.
Southeast Texas is proud to be home to so many eco friendly stops, our most popular being the Big Thicket National Preserve just outside of Beaumont. Your group will be joined by a guide as they hike into one of the most diverse biological wonders in the world. Birders should be prepared to witness local species in their habitat. Continuing east, make your way to Heritage Village and the world famous Pickett House Restaurant, known for its family style service and homemade fried chicken and chicken and dumplings. Heritage Village is a pioneer town that welcomes groups to wander among the grounds into old school houses and the barn full of antique wagons and buggies. Groups will truly step back in time as they witness blacksmith demonstrations as well as traditional tribal hoop dance presentations.