Here in Texas, we’ve got several little-known parks and nature preserves that are perfect when you need a little adventure in your life. The following our some of our favorite underrated parks in the Lone Star State.
1. Parrot Park/Old Mill Museum (Lindale)
This outdoor museum commemorates the southern agricultural and oil boom of the early 20th century. Among the exhibits are a model railroad, a restored Model T, actual tractors from the era of Eli Whitney, a replica gas station, and more. History buffs will have a field day here, and everyone else will still thoroughly enjoy themselves.
2900 S. Main St.
Lindale, Texas, 75771
2. Sparky Park (Austin)
Formerly an electrical substation, this fairytale park was built in 2008 in an attempt to make the abandoned equipment less of an eyesore. Kids love to run around and touch all the random objects on the walls, and adults can enjoy a picnic lunch and a good book underneath the trees on a pretty day.
3701 Grooms Street
Austin, Texas, 78705
3. Dinosaur Valley State Park (Glen Rose)
The name says it all - Dinosaur Valley State Park was home to many prehistoric beasts millions of years ago. Their footprints have been fossilized in the mud beneath the Paluxy River, and you get the opportunity to see them firsthand. Ever wondered how your feet compare to those of dinos? Wonder no more!
1629 Park Road 59
Glen Rose, Texas, 76043
4. Kiddie Park (San Antonio)
The country's oldest amusement park is right here in Texas. All of the original rides are still intact, including a carousel, a ferris wheel, a school bus, cars, airplanes, and more. Kids will have a blast while parents will take a mental trip back to playing in similar parks as a child.
San Antonio, Texas, 78209
5. Fort Worth Water Gardens (Fort Worth)
If you ever need to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, there's no better place than the Fort Worth Water Gardens. Standing by the meditation pool with water cascading down the steps all around you brings about an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity like you've never felt before.
1502 Commerce St
Fort Worth, Texas, 76102
6. HOPE Outdoor Gallery (Austin)
Graffiti artists from all over the city lay down their work on the cement walls of this abandoned construction project. Although the owner of the land made it clear that there is no open invitation to make use of the space, the art continues to grow anyway and he hasn't made an effort to remove it. You should definitely check it out when you get a chance because its days very well might be numbered.
Austin, Texas, 78703
7. The Orange Show (Houston)
This 3000 square-foot tribute to oranges was built by a Houston postal worker between 1956 and 1979. It's made from concrete, brick, steel, and a bunch of other random objects from tiles to mannequins. In 1982, The Orange Show was restored and opened to the public, and a nonprofit organization uses the space to put on arts events.
2402 Munger St
Houston, Texas, 77023
8. Combine City (Amarillo)
If this setup looks familiar, that's because it is. Located near Cadillac Ranch, Combine City is modeled after the iconic Route 66 roadside attraction. You can't paint or walk around among the combines, but you can still get out and take plenty of pictures!
(Claude Highway and Whitaker Road)
Amarillo, Texas, 79118
9. Oleander Garden Park (Galveston)
Galveston nicknamed itself "The Oleander City" after the flowers were planted all over the island following the devastation of the 1900 hurricane. It might be a bit somber, but that doesn't make the plants any less beautiful.
2624 Sealy Ave
10. Mineral Well Fossil Park (Mineral Wells)
Underneath the soil of this eight-acre park, you'll find countless fossils dating back over 300 million years. It's one of the few parks in the entire country where you can take home your findings, and admission is free!
2375 Indian Creek Road
Mineral Wells, Texas