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The George Observatory on park grounds is open on weekends and is part of the Houston Museum of Natural Science.
Brazos Bend State Park
Closest available address
21901 FM 762 Needville, TX 77461
Park open Mon.-Thu. 8-10 & Fri.-Sun. 7-10. Nature center hours are more limited.
Best time to visit
Fall, Winter, Spring
Brazos Bend State Park is about an hour’s drive south of Houston and is approximately 5,100 acres in size. The park is best known for alligators, but also offers hiking, horseback riding, camping and has an observatory. Park habitats include wetlands and a mix of woodlands and prairies; wildlife is fairly extensive. Birding is popular here in the spring.
Prior to becoming a park, the land was used for cattle ranching. Pecans were also raised and a hunting club operated for a time. Texas purchased most of the park land in the 1970s and the park opened in 1984. Some of the ponds predate the park itself but were retained to aid waterfowl. The observatory, which is operated by the Houston Museum of Natural Science, opened in 1989.
The most popular park activities are camping, hiking, picnicking and viewing alligators. The nature center has exhibits on local plants and animals and also some live animal displays. Baby alligators and turtles were interesting to view. As for hiking, a mix of trails can satisfy a range of tastes and some trails are restricted to just hikers so you won’t have to dodge bikers or be mindful of stepping in presents left by horses. The 40-Acre Lake Trail at 1.2 miles was easy, flat and relaxing. A small observation platform offered good views and there were several opportunities to see alligators. The Creekfield Lake Trail was slightly shorter and also an easy walk. This trail leads around a small lake that had a number of wading birds and also passes near the George Observatory, which is open to the public on weekends for stargazing. A slightly harder and longer walk included portions of the Whiteoak and Red Buckeye Trails. This area is heavily wooded and there were some limited views of the Brazos River. Brazos Bend Park is a good choice for a pleasant walk or day excursion when in or near Houston. There are enough activities and attractions here, including those for children, to make it an appealing visit for most people.
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