Make Merry in the Brazos River Basin this Holiday Season!

Make Merry in the Brazos River Basin this Holiday Season!

Lower Brazos Basin

  • Dec. 2: SUGAR LAND – Christmas Tree Lighting

5–8 p.m. at the Sugar Land Town Square,

2711 Plaza Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479

Bring the whole family to enjoy holiday traditions, ice-sculpting, bounce houses, a meet-and-greet with Santa, festive crafts and dazzling holiday performances at the City of Sugar Land's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting. For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 3: SAN FELIPE – Nature Walk

10–11 a.m. at Stephen F. Austin State Park,

Park Road 38, San Felipe, TX 77473
Enjoy the diverse plants and animals found at the park every first Saturday of the month. There will be a guided nature walk highlighting some of the common species of plants and animals, all representing the three distinct ecosystems present within the park. Bring comfortable hiking shoes, water and a jacket if the weather permits. Adults are $5 per person, and children 12 years old and under are FREE. For more information, click here. To register, contact Robbie Fischer at 979-885-3613 or via email at robert.fischer@tpwd.texas.gov

  • Dec. 3: CENTERVILLE – Star Party

6–7:30 p.m. at Fort Boggy State Park,

4994 Highway 75 South, Centerville, TX 75833

Observe the stars, Pleiades star cluster and Mars through a telescope. Bring a chair or blanket to comfortably enjoy the night sky, binoculars and a telescope, as well as a flashlight with a red filter or red cellophane. A few communal telescopes will be set up for all to use. Meet at Lake Sullivan near the fishing pier and dress appropriately for the weather. The program is free with paid park entrance or a Texas State Park Pass. This event is subject to cancellation due to inclement weather. Check our Facebook page for any changes. Call the park office to reserve your spot or for more information, click here.

  • Dec. 3: BRYAN – Little Wonders

5–8 p.m. at Lake Walk Pavilion,

4107 Lake Atlas Drive, Bryan, TX 77807

With all the wonder that comes along with the holiday season, Lake Walk is hosting a children's event for little ones. Join an evening of wholesome holiday fun with several special guests. The evening will be busy with photos with Santa, free admission to the children's museum, face painting, arts, crafts and more. To learn more, click here or check out the Facebook page here.

  • Dec. 4: NEEDVILLE – Birding Hike

8–10 a.m. at Brazos Bend State Park,

21901 FM 762 Road, Needville, TX 77461

Brazos Bend State Park is home to over 300 species of birds, making it the perfect place to bird-watch all year round! Join the expedition at 8 a.m. in front of the 40-Acre Lake restrooms and go on a birding hike alongside park volunteer Jerry Carpenter. The trail is 1.2 miles, relatively flat, gravel-paved and easily accessible for anyone that wants to join! Don't forget to bring your binoculars, field guides and water! For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 10: NEEDVILLE – Brazos River Pickers

5–7 p.m. at Brazos Bend State Park,

21901 FM 762 Road, Needville, TX 77461

Who doesn't love a good concert? Come and enjoy the Brazos River Pickers as they play live country and bluegrass music originating from America's roots. This concert is perfect for the whole family. However, our canine companions may want to sit this one out. The Brazos River Pickers will be set up at the Amphitheater outside the Nature Center. Bring water, weather-appropriate clothes and your dancing shoes! For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 17: CENTERVILLE – Elf Scavenger Hunt

8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. at Fort Boggy State Park,

4994 Highway 75 South, Centerville, TX 75833

The elves have left the shelves and have arrived at Fort Boggy! Take a walk on the Lake Sullivan Trail (approximately 1 mile) and see how many you can spot. The first 10 people to find all 10 elves can receive a prize from the park office. The program is free with paid park entrance or Texas State Parks Pass. Entry is FREE for children 12 years and younger, and the entry fee for 13 years old and up is $3 per person. For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 31: MEXIA – Black Light Hike & Scavenger Hunt at Midnight

10 p.m.–12:15 a.m. at Fort Parker State Park,

194 Park Road 28, Mexia, TX 76667

Take a hike at midnight to celebrate the coming of 2023 with a Fort Parker State Park Ranger! Visit the half-mile Bur Oak Trail and see what you might see with a black light. Continue the New Year's fun with a "Riddle-Me-This" scavenger hunt by moonlight. Can you answer the riddles to ring in the New Year? Be sure to bring a flashlight, closed-toe shoes, and dress for the weather. Sign up by calling the park headquarters at 254-562-5751 between 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information, click here.


Central Brazos Basin

  • Dec. 2-3: KILLEEN – Holiday Under the Stars

5:30 p.m. at Downtown Killeen,

101 N College Street, Killeen, TX 76541

Holiday Under the Stars is the downtown, jubilant annual weekend event that features a Christmas tree lighting, Holiday Market, Festival of the Holidays and Christmas Parade. There will be live entertainment, winter activities and games, arts and crafts, food trucks and, of course, Santa. For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 2-4: WACO – Waco Wonderland

6 p.m. at Heritage Square, Downtown Waco,

3rd St. and Austin Ave., Waco, TX 76701

Join the holiday fun 4 at Heritage Square in Downtown Waco for the 10th annual Waco Wonderland Festival to celebrate the return of the holiday season! Waco Wonderland is a downtown collaboration between the City of Waco, the Waco Downtown Public Improvement District, City Center Waco and other community partners. This event includes a tree lighting ceremony and fireworks show, downtown holiday parade, snow tube hill, Ferris wheel, visits with Santa, holiday entertainment, musical performances and more. To learn more, click here.

  • Dec. 3: MERIDIAN – Angler Education Instructor Training Workshop

8 a.m.–2 p.m. at Meridian State Park,

173 Park Road #7, Meridian, TX 76665

Become a Certified Angler Education Volunteer Instructor. This free workshop is open to anyone 18 years and older interested in teaching fishing skills to their communities as well as within educational settings. The program provides the curriculum, equipment (when and where available), materials, and support to help volunteers successfully introduce all ages to fishing. Ideal for teachers, group leaders, afterschool or camp staff, and community volunteers. Texas Education Agency-approved Continuing Professional Education (CPE) is available for teachers. Pre-registration is required and is limited to 30 attendees. For more info and to register for the workshop, click on the link here.

  • Dec. 3-4,10-11,17-18,24-25,31: GLEN ROSE – Track Talk

10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043
Walk where the dinosaurs once roamed and hear park rangers narrate the story of how they trekked across Dinosaur Valley State Park! The meeting will take place at the roped-off area at the Main Track Site. Bring your questions about the park and dinosaurs. The event is free with park admission. Click here to see all the Track Talks and other events that are taking place at Dinosaur Valley State Park in December. 

  • Dec. 5: TEMPLE – 76th Annual Christmas Parade

6:15–8:30 p.m.,

2 N Main St., Temple, TX 76501

Don't miss this holiday tradition! The City of Temple is hosting the 76th Annual City of Temple Christmas Parade. This year's theme is "It's a Groovy Christmas," and will feature lighted displays and floats from local organizations, schools and businesses. Join the City of Temple to celebrate the joy of Christmastime and witness the lighting of the City Hall Christmas tree. For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 17: GLEN ROSE – Solar System Walk and Star Party

7–8 p.m. at Dinosaur Valley State Park,

1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043

Celebrate the night sky and learn from real astronomers! Join the excitement with the Fort Worth Astronomical Society for an evening of celestial fun! You will observe planets, stars, and galaxies up close and with the help of knowledgeable astronomers as you take a walk through a scale model of our solar system. The meeting will take place at the park Amphitheater or Day Use Area and walk to the Overflow Parking Lot to look through the telescopes. Free with park admission. For more details, click here.

  • Dec. 31: GLEN ROSE – Midnight Countdown Hike

11 p.m.–1 a.m. at Dinosaur Valley State Park,

1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX 76043

Countdown the New Year with a hike to the Overlook! Please come prepared to hike over rocky and uneven terrain during this midnight hike. Meet at the Main Track Site Parking Lot. The distance will be 1.5 miles round trip. Bring plenty of water, closed-toe shoes and a flashlight. Dino Valley maps will be provided upon entry at the self-pay station. Free with park admission. Reserve your spot in advance here, and for more information, contact Allen Dees at 817-776-3924 or email allen.dees@tpwd.texas.gov. To learn more, click here.


Upper Brazos Basin

  • Nov. 25-Dec.18 and Dec.19-23: GRANBURY

Santa's House Pictures with Santa on the Historic Granbury Square Courthouse,

Nov. 25-Dec.18 (Fridays from 68 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m.12 p.m., 24 p.m., 68 p.m.; Sundays from 13 p.m., 68 p.m.) and Dec.19-23 (68 p.m.),

100 E. Pearl St., Granbury, TX 76048

Visit the Granbury Santa & Friends at their very own Santa House located on the grounds of the historic Hood County Courthouse. Children of all ages will enjoy the interactive Santa House that is free and open to the public. Click here for more events, times and information, or learn more at the Facebook page here.

  • Dec. 3: GRANBURY – First Saturday Bird Walk

7–9 a.m. at Acton Nature Center,

6500 Smoky Hill Court, Granbury, TX 76049
This monthly tour is directed by Dr. Billy Teels, who earned a Ph.D. in Wildlife Ecology from Mississippi State University and worked as a biologist for 30 years. Now retired, Dr. Teels leads a monthly bird walk through the town of Granbury. Bring your binoculars and plenty of water! For more information, click here.

  • Dec. 3: ABILENE – Lake Hike

9–11 a.m.

150 Park Road 32, Tuscola, TX 79562
Join the Big Country Master Naturalists for a 5-mile hike around Lake Abilene. To attend, you'll need an entrance permit from the park headquarters. Wear comfortable walking shoes, dress for the weather and bring plenty of water. Learn more about the event here

  • Dec. 3: ABILENE – Family Fun Saturday

10 a.m.–1 p.m. at National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature,

102 Cedar St., Abilene, TX 79601

Join the fun with a snowy day with Santa. Santa appearance, The Snowy Day movie viewing, fine art project, Letters to Santa writing station, donuts, bookstore open, and the Snowy Day art display will all be included in the day's festivities. Admission for the public is free! To learn more, click here.

  • Dec. 10: ABILENE – Fa La La in the Forest

6–8 p.m. at Abilene State Park,

150 Park Road 32, Tuscola, TX 79562

Come see the Christmas lights show at Abilene State Park! Campers will adorn their campsites, screened shelters and yurts with lights and decorations. The public is invited to take a drive-through tour of the park. The Friends of Abilene State Park will accept monetary donations instead of entrance fees ($5 per car suggested). For more about the event, click here.

  • Dec. 10: CLEBURNE – Pancakes with Santa

9–11 a.m. at Cedar Lodge Pavilion,

301 Westhill Drive, Cleburne, TX 76033
Come have a pancake breakfast with Santa and enjoy a craft of pinecone bird feeders! This event is free, with $6 per person park admission for those 13 years and older. It is a good idea to make reservations online ahead of time due to capacity limits! Contact Jaycee Fernandez at 817-645-4215 or email jaycee.fernandez@tpwd.texas.gov. For more information, click here

  • Dec. 17: ABILENE – Star Party

6–8 p.m. at Abilene State Park,

150 Park Road 32, Tuscola, TX 79562

Join the Big Country Master Naturalists for a night of stargazing. The meeting will occur at the soccer field across from the swimming pool. Red lights only, please, so as not to interfere with the night vision of other guests. Entrance fees will be waived for this event. For more information, click here, or check out the Facebook page here.

  • Dec. 31: MINERAL WELLS – First Day Hike: Midnight Hike

11:30 p.m.–1 a.m. at Lake Mineral Wells State Park & Trailway,

100 Park Road 71, Mineral Wells, TX 76067

Come ring in the New Year outdoors on a guided hike, approximately 1.5 miles along the Cross Timbers Black Country Trail at Lake Mineral Wells State Park. Explore the creature sounds of the night and the Texas winter night sky. Bring a flashlight, bundle up for the weather, wear sturdy shoes and bring water for the hike. Meet at the Cross Timbers Trailhead near the Cross Timbers Camping Area. Hikes are free with paid park entrance fee or a Texas State Park Pass. To learn more, click here.