David Aylsworth: Either/And
January 17 - February 26, 2017
You want swamps and gators? We've got plenty! Southeast Texas is home to the largest alligator population in Texas. And Beaumont's Gator Country Adventure Park is the place to visit to get to know all about scaly reptiles - and even hold a baby gator. The park is home to over 350 gators but the headliner of this popular family attraction is Big Al, the largest gator in captivity in Texas - and that's a fact certified by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Big Al is over 70 years old, more than 13 feet long and weighs roughly 1,000 pounds.
Cattail Marsh includes 900-acres of wetlands and offers a variety of recreational activities with more than eight miles of gravel levee roads for jogging, hiking, biking, horseback riding, bird watching and wildlife photography. Alligators are regularly spotted sunbathing along the banks of Hillebrandt Bayou and Willow Marsh Bayou.
The Neches River is often called "the last wild river" in East Texas because of the diverse ecosystems that include bottomland forests, pine trees and an abundance of wildlife, including alligators. A leisurely way to enjoy this natural gem is aboard the Ivory Bill, an open-air pontoon boat operated by the Big Thicket Association. Neches River Adventures boat tours depart from the dock at Beaumont's Riverfront Park.
Just a short drive from Beaumont, you'll find McFaddin and Texas Point Wildlife Refuges where you can explore bayous and trails along one of the largest remaining freshwater marshes on the Texas coast - and home to plenty of alligators.