Historical LandmarksThe North Channel area holds a special place in Texas' rich history. At one time Texas claimed independence from Spain as its own sovereign nation. While the reign of the Republic of Texas was brief – 1836 to 1848 – many of the state's earliest historic sites are located within minutes of the North Channel area.
The San Jacinto Battleground, located nearby, marks where Texas won independence from Spanish rule in 1836. Here, Sam Houston's rag-tag army defeated Mexican General Santa Anna's superior forces. The 570-foot San Jacinto Monument, with the San Jacinto Museum at its base, is the largest masonry monument in the world. Nearby, the Battleship Texas is moored on the San Jacinto Monument grounds. Commissioned before World War I, this U.S. Navy warship is one of the few remaining ships of its kind. It is open to the public for daily tours.
The San Jacinto Monument Museum is open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, with the elevator and observation deck open daily from 10 am to 5:30 pm. The Battleship Texas is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, contact the San Jacinto Monument, located on Texas 225 East at Battleground Road, (281) 479-2421.
Other historic battle sites are in the area. The site of Santa Anna's capture on the Houston Ship Channel next to the Washburn Tunnel, is marked by a monument and park. Nearby, the site of the destruction of Vince's Bridge has also been preserved. Located on South Richey Road in Pasadena, history holds the site as the place where Deaf Smith, Sam Houston's chief scout, destroyed the bridge at Vince's Bayou and ensured the beleaguered Texas Army victory over Santa Anna's superior army.
Houston rates first among the nation's 10 most populous cities in total acreage of parkland and second behind only San Diego in park acreage per capita, according to a 2007 study by The Trust for Public Land. Houston has 56,405 acres of total park space, with 27.2 acres per 1,000 residents. The national average is 18.8 acres per 1,000 residents.
12303 Sonnier Street
Houston TX, 77044
Alexander Deussen (1882-1959), a petroleum geologist, donated a 309-acre site on Lake Houston to Harris County in 1956. The site was converted into a public park and named the Alexander Deussen Park.
The highlight of the park is a herd of buffalo, giving visitors the opportunity to view these large and beautiful creatures in a natural setting.
There is no charge to use the boat ramps at Alexander Deussen Park, and fishing is permitted from piers.
The 2.5-mile jogging trail has an asphalt surface with exercise equipment along the trail.
There are 3 multi-purpose fields located in this park. These fields can be used for baseball/softball, football and/or soccer. The fields can be reserved, however reservations are not required. Lighting is not available.
Reservations of 150 people or more is required for the use of the Open Air Pavilion. Kitchen facilities, lights, and electrical outlets are available. Wood and charcoal barbeque grilling is also available. Seating capacity for the Open Air Pavilion is 400. Volleyball poles are available for use. Nets and balls not provided.
There are 230 cement picnic tables available, in which some are handicap accessible.
New play structures with shade canopies were recently installed.
- Boat ramps/piers
- Duck pond
- Jogging trail
- Multi-purpose fields
- Open air pavilion
- Picnic areas
- Senior Center with daily activities
- Water Gazebo
- Wildlife (buffalo) exhibit
1001 Commerce Street
Houston TX, 77002
Often described as “Houston's heart” and Houston's “Plymouth Rock,” Allen's Landing is an area that truly defines Houston. It was here in 1836 that August C. and John K. Allen stepped ashore and claimed Houston as their own. The confluence of Buffalo and White Oak bayous also became Houston's first port and a thriving commercial hub.
After years of deterioration and numerous planning efforts, Allen's Landing is undergoing major revitalization and rejuvenation. Already completed is a concrete paved wharf designed to replicate the original port, a promenade, terrace overlooking the bayou, trail/walkway, entry plaza at intersection of Commerce and Main, terraced grass lawn, and text-based Public Artwork.
Improvements are being made west and east of the existing park, including the downtown streetscape enhancement project, which will feature pedestrian connections from Commerce Street to the bayou. Four major entryways will also include stairs, ramps, landscaping, signage, and public art.
* Trash Receptacles
* Drinking Fountain
* Bike Rack
* Decorative Lighting
P.O. Box 278
Anahuac TX, 77514
In Anahauc National Wildlife Refuge, the chorus of thousands of waterfowl, wind moving through the coastal prairie, the splash of an alligator going for a swim, and a high-pitched call of a fulvous whistling duck are heard during visits. The meandering bayous of Anahuac NWR cut through ancient flood plains, creating expanses of coastal marsh and prairie bordering Galveston Bay in southeast Texas. These coastal marshes and prairies are host or home to an abundance of wildlife, from migratory birds to alligators to bobcats and more.
The park features, a coastal prairie and marsh, are home to many migratory birds and alligators such as muskrat, nutria, opossum, skunk, raccoon, and coyotes with characteristics of red wolves. Between October and March, there are as many as 27 species of duck present in refuge, including green-winged teal, gadwall, shoveler, ruddy duck, and northern pintail. Huge groups of snow geese, sometimes in excess of 80,000, feed on rice fields near Shoveler Pond; secretive yellow rails usually live in refuge, also roseate spoonbill, ibis, egrets.
* Outdoor educational programming (free, K-5th)
* Wildlife observation
8500 Bay Area Blvd.
Pasadena TX, 77507
Armand Bayou Nature Center is one of the largest urban wilderness preserve in the U.S., protecting 2,500 acres of natural wetlands, forest, prairie, and marsh habitats once abundant in the Houston/Galveston area. ABNC is home to more than 370 species of birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians, along with thousands of native plants.
Reconnect with nature at this remarkable part of the Texas Gulf Coast. Recognized as one of the top birding locations in the Galveston Bay area, ABNC attracts visitors from around the world. Hiking and paddle trails provide easy public access to unique outdoor experiences. Turn the clock back at the restored 1890's Martyn Family Farm site. Or consider a bayou cruise, canoe trip or night owl prowl.
See native wildlife including American alligators, hawks, river otters, white-tail deer, several turtle species and much more. Visit with the resident bison that graze one of the center's prairies. For an up-close look, visit the facility's education center, home to animals including snakes and spiders.
- Accessible hiking trails
- Live exhibits and wildlife viewing platforms
- World-class birding
- Guided boat and canoe tours
- Martyn Family Farm demonstrations
7400 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. South
Houston TX, 77072
Arthur Storey Park, blends the importance of storm water detention with a park environment that includes amenities provided through a local initiative. Every weekend, hundreds of Harris County residents enjoy all that Arthur Storey Park has to offer.
6400 Winfield Road
Houston TX, 77050
Dedicated to the memory of Barbara Jordan, an unforgettable force in Civil Rights for African-Americans and a hero to women and Americans with disabilities, the 6-acre Barbara Jordan Park features basketball courts, a community center, picnic areas and more.
The .5-mile jogging trail has an asphalt surface with exercise equipment along the trail.
Picnic areas are available with concrete tables. Some of the picnic tables are handicap accessible.
There are 2 tennis courts available with lighting. Reservations not required. Open everyday from 6:00am to 10:00pm.
There is one sand volleyball court available, net provided. Reservations not required.
There is one meeting room with full kitchen facilities available for public use in the Barbara Jordan Community Center. Reservations are required before use. For more information or to make reservations, please call the Northside Park Reservation Office at 281.591.6951. The seating capacity of this facility is 75-100 people.
Community center with a meeting room
7500 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston TX, 77058
With an average of only 18 days per year with temperatures below freezing and 99.6 days with high temperatures falling in the 90s, Houston's nature enthusiasts know that there's no better city to soak up the great outdoors.
3535 War Memorial Drive
Houston TX, 77084
The history Bear Creek Pioneers Park was created in the 1940s by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to prevent the repetition of flooding that occurred in Houston in 1935. Bear Creek Pioneers Park occupies a portion of the Addicks Reservoir, which was previously a land that was occupied for 100 years by farmers that were mostly German immigrants and their descendants. In 1965, Harris County leased 2,154 acres (8.72 km2) of the reservoir and started the park development.
Bear Creek Pioneers Park is 2,168 acres in size and has paved roads and parking for visitors. The park also features walking trails, an equestrian trail, a small zoo (including buffalos, an ostrich, and emus) and aviary, playgrounds, soccer fields, little league and softball fields, four lighted tennis courts, eight picnic pavilions, horseshoe courts, and hundreds of picnic tables and grills. Near the aviary ducks can been seen walking freely around a pond. The park also has restrooms all around the park and drinking water fountains.
There is no cost to enter the park but pavilions must be reserved before use. Picnic tables and grills do not need to be reserved. The park has no stores and visitors must bring their own food if they plan on eating or drinking.
The Harris County War Memorial is found in this park, next to the Eldridge Parkway entrance. The Memorial was built in 1985 to honor known residents who lost their lives in World War I and the wars ever since. Memorial services are held at the War Memorial every Memorial Day at 2:00 p.m.
The wildlife habitat located in the park consists of a duck and goose pond, an aviary, and exhibits for various animals including birds of prey, peacocks, bison, emus, pot bellied pigs, white-tailed deer, donkeys, sheep and goats.
- Observation Pond
- Equestrian trail
- Small Zoo
- Baseball field
- Horseshoe court
- Soccer field
- Softball field
- Walking trails
County Road 227
Freeport TX, 77541
Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, a freshwater slough winding through salt marshes, offers rare, native bluestem prairie that graces the uplands. Brazoria NWR is on a key location on the Texas Gulf, which helps Freeport draw one of the highest Audubon Christmas bird counts in the nation--more than 200 species. In winter, more than 100,000 snow geese, Canada geese, pintail, northern shoveler, teal, gadwall, American wigeon, and mottled ducks fill the plentiful ponds and sloughs to capacity. Sandhill cranes join in, too. In summer, birds that nest on the refuge include ten species of herons and egrets, white ibis, roseate spoonbill, mottled duck, white-tailed kite, clapper rail, horned lark, seaside sparrow, black skimmer, and scissor-tailed flycatcher.
Look for alligators year-round on Big Slough and in refuge ponds. In dry seasons, their trails thorough the mud and excavated gator holes are easy to spot. Roseate spoonbills capture the pink glow of sunrise in their wings in flight. Those same rosy feathers proved a near death sentence when demand for feather hats decimated spoonbills, great egrets, and other fine-feathered fowl until plume hunting ended before World War I.
More than 300 bird species, central flyaway migratory waterfowl in winter and neotropical migratory songbirds, create one of the highest audubon bird counts in the nation in freshwater marshes, sloughs, and ponds. There are four thousand acres of native coastal bluestem prairie, designated an internationally significant shorebird site by the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, with birds including roseate spoonbills, herons, yellow rails, ibis, and other wading and shorebirds. There are also alligators, upland birds, coyotes, and armadillos.
Waterfowl hunting is permitted on Christmas Point and Middle Bayou. Fishing is available year round, and bank fishing for redfish, spotted sea trout, black drum, and flounder is found at Clay Banks and salt lake area. During the winter, wildlife observation is popular for Audubon/Freeport bird count of Teal Pond, Rogers Pond, Middle Bayou, Big Slough, and Mottled Duck Marsh.
* Visitor Center/Environmental Education Center
* 2 Boat ramps
* Visitor Center/Environmental Education Center
* Wildlife observation
* TEKS-aligned lessons.
1113 Vine Street
Houston TX, 77002
Buffalo Bayou, the 52-mile slow-moving waterway that was the site of Houston's founding in 1836, has become a destination for outdoor recreation near downtown Houston. It is one of the few bayous left in central Houston which was not reconstructed with concrete in the 1960s and 1970s. It contains an incredibly diverse urban ecosystem supporting dozens of native species of flora and fauna.
Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect a remnant of the bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem along the Trinity River. The refuge is currently at 18,500 acres and continues to grow. This Refuge is located within the Lower Mississippi Joint Venture Project Area of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and, as such, is highly valuable habitat for a diversity of waterfowl species. A highly valuable habitat, it is used during migration or nesting by nearly 50 percent of the neotropical migratory bird species listed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Although not fully surveyed, the refuge contains more than 620 plant species and 400 vertebrate species.
Champion Lake (public use area) includes a bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem (one of 14 priority-one bottomland sites identified for protection in the Texas Bottomland Protection Plan), bottomland hardwood forested swamps, open water, wet pastures, upland cultivated pastures, natural pine forests, and mixed pine-hardwood forests sheltering a diversity of waterfowl species.
The refuge is home to white-tailed deer, squirrels, numerous other furbearers, freshwater turtles, alligators, snakes, river otters, and bald eagles.
Only small groups may use this site as restroom facilities are extremely limited. Guided tours are not available.
* Wildlife viewing
The Waterborne Education Center's (WEC) homeport is Anahuac Harbor, located at the mouth of the Trinity where the river meets the bay. Field labs also take place regularly on the Houston Ship Channel and occasionally on the Sabine and Neches rivers.
Houston TX, 77079
The land occupied by Terry Hershey Park was acquired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s. Located along the banks of Buffalo Bayou and South Mayde Creek, the park spans 500 acres and features some of the nicest on and off-road bike trails in Texas. There is a walk-in sundial where your shadow will tell you the time if you stand on the appropriate stone (and if the sun is shining).
Hours of Operation: