Parks and Recreation

6 fresh reasons to enjoy Werewolf Creek on Halloween

By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant

The spell has been cast.

With ghosts, witches, and creatures of fright roaming the night, Halloween will once again be a spectacular blast at Wolf Pen Creek Park. Join us for the City of College Station’s Trick or Treat at Werewolf Creek on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 5-10 p.m. The free event offers activities for all ages and a memorable evening of frightful family fun.

The park transforms into a five-acre, trick-or-treating paradise, thanks in part to dozens of candy booths hosted by local businesses, non-profits, and other community groups. The booths will offer candy and activities, and the festival site will feature large carnival games, a petting zoo, joy jumps, a hay maze, food trucks and much more.

>> Photos: 2016 Trick or Treat at Werewolf Creek

The event offers six fresh thrills and chills this year:

1. Costume Contest

You can be the ultimate master of disguise in our Halloween costume contest as ghoulish guests are welcome to enter and show off their creativity. The contest features prizes in several categories, including babies and toddlers, kids, teens, families, couples and group costumes. For guidelines and a schedule, visit cstx.gov/halloween.

2. Haunted Trail

Walk into a wicked woods full of frights and strange sites. The haunted trail leads to the festival. Walk this way – it’s scary fun for the whole family.

3. Photo Opportunities

Spiders, bats, black cats, and more, see what photo opportunities are in store. Look for oversized, spooky photo opportunities with some of your favorite Halloween characters.

4. Pumpkin Patch

It’s not too late to decorate with pumpkins. The Pumpkin Patch will be operated by Faith in Action and will sell pumpkins ranging from $1 to $35, depending on size. All of the proceeds will go to BCS Habitat for Humanity. Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted.

5. Story Time

Guests of all ages can hear favorite Halloween tales, stories and rhymes.

6. Live Entertainment

“It’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark…” Experience the Michael Jackson magic though tribute artist Michael Ray as he performs “Thriller.” The College Station High School dance team will also perform, and a creepy, crawly show of various reptiles from the Texas Reptile Hospice and Sanctuary will be on display.

Guests may bring refreshments — coolers must be 48 quarts or smaller – but food vendors will be available. Alcohol and glass containers are not allowed. Post Oak Mall offers convenient parking, and handicap parking is available at the Arts Council and Amphitheatre parking lots on Colgate Drive. Shuttles will not be available.

For more information on the costume contest, food vendors, and to see the entertainment schedule, go to cstx.gov/halloween.

Don’t miss the fun– the Halloween countdown has begun!

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Kutch is in her third year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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Lick Creek Nature Center to be unveiled Saturday

By Hallie Kutch, Marketing Staff Assistant

Many people consider the 515-acre Lick Creek Park to be the crown jewel of College Station’s park system.

On Saturday, that precious jewel takes on an even shinier gleam with the grand opening of the long-awaited Lick Creek Nature Center. From 9 a.m.-noon, we cordially invite you to enjoy education stations, guest speakers, and guided tours through the 2,400-square-foot facility and the park’s many trails.

The free event begins with a welcome ceremony and ribbon cutting, followed by guided tours every half hour starting at 9:30 a.m. We’ll serve light refreshments, and dogs on leashes are welcome. Horses and bikes are not permitted.

Residents overwhelmingly approved the $2.1 million Lick Creek Park Nature Center as part of the 2008 bond election. The design was approved in 2014, but construction was delayed until an adequate water line could be installed for fire protection.

The nature center serves as the focal point of the picturesque park, which is located at 13600 Rock Prairie Rd. As the area’s premier nature preserve, the park displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. It offers five miles of marked trails and provides ample opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study.

The facility features a meeting room, restrooms, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and an amphitheater available to rent for receptions, classes, meetings and more. Additional improvements and amenities have enhanced one of College Station’s favorite recreational areas and made it more accessible — and enjoyable — for young and old alike.

The nature center’s mission is to provide exceptional experiences while educating and inspiring visitors to explore, respect, and protect the natural world. The Parks and Recreation Department is teaming with community partners and organizations to host educational classes, programs, and events for all ages to enhance appreciation of the environment and encourage wildlife conservation and stewardship.

The nature center officially opens to the public on Nov. 1. Operating hours will be weekdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays from 1-6 p.m.

Paid classes already are underway. A few of the offerings include:

  • Outdoor education field trips.
  • Weekly Saturday programs such as birdhouse building contests, campfire building demonstrations, storytelling, survival tips, etc.
  • Saturday Showcase: once-a-month traveling education exhibits.
  • Self-led nature walk/wildlife identification scavenger hunt.
  • Birding 101 and guided nature walks.
  • Sunrise and sunset yoga classes.
  • Wild Wednesday: weekly hands-on programs to get you up close and personal with native critters and plants.
  • Friday Family Hikes: bring a picnic and hike before dinner with your family.
  • Little Ag Producers: youth learn how to identify, grow, harvest and prepare local vegetation.
  • Sunday Safety Series: learn snake and insect identification and bite protocol and outdoor and trail bike safety.

For more information on classes, special events, and facility rentals, go to cstx.gov/parks.

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About the Blogger

Hallie Kutch is in her third year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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Oct. 7 event makes racing in diapers superb family fun

By Virginia Godwin, Assistant Recreation Supervisor

Friendly competition never goes out of style — especially when the competitors are still in diapers.

On Saturday, Oct. 7, young crawlers, stumblers, walkers and runners from across the Brazos Valley will get together for the Toddler 2K and Baby Crawl at Wolf Pen Creek Park. The fun-filled event will also feature vendor booths and health and wellness activities that families can enjoy together.

Youngsters will compete on their developmental level and will be divided by age into early crawlers, strong crawlers, early walkers, strong walkers, and toddlers. Crawlers and early walkers will have a short distance race with one parent or caregiver at the starting line and one at the finish line. Walkers and toddlers will compete in a 2K race and may be accompanied by a parent or caregiver. Participants will be given complete instructions after they check-in starting at 9 a.m.

College Station Parks & Recreation and Fit4Moms are also offering a free family workout from 9-9:45 a.m. Moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles and anyone else is welcome to participate and model healthy activities for the little ones.

Children five-and-under must be kept in a stroller during the workout but will be entertained throughout. If you have not participated in a recent Fit4Moms class, please arrive early to complete a waiver form.

The cost is $5 per child, and registration ends Oct. 5.

Call 979-764-3486 for more information, or go to rectrac.cstx.gov to register.

 


About the Blogger

Virginia Godwin is in her fourth year as assistant recreation supervisor/youth services. A College Station native, she previously served as staff development specialist for Kids’ Klub, the College Station Independent School District’s after-school program.


 

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Get ready for the October monarch migration

By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

After enduring the summer heat, fall is always a welcome relief in Texas. It’s also an ideal time to sow nectar plants for the monarch butterfly migration and to prepare your gardens for the spring.

Texas is an important stop in the journey since it’s situated between the butterflies’ main breeding grounds in the north and their wintering areas in the south. The monarchs funnel through the Lone Star State in both fall and spring.

Monarch Garden Tips

The butterflies are expected to pass through the Brazos Valley in early October, according to Jane Cohen, the A&M Garden Club’s butterfly chair. She recommends growing nectar-producing plants to benefit the monarchs. The blooming flowers provide a sweet liquid that provides energy for the insects as they travel.

Here are 14 nectar plants to consider for your garden:

  • Black-Eyes Susan
  • Zinnia
  • Plumbago
  • Cassis
  • Goldenrod
  • Pipe-Vine
  • Purple Mist
  • Passion Vine
  • Senna
  • Sunflower
  • Hollyhock
  • Purple coneflower
  • Lantana
  • Joe-Pye Weed

Cohen says it’s best to plant in locations with plenty of sunshine since adult butterflies typically prefer to feed in the sun.

Vibrant colors such as red, yellow, orange, pink and purple tend to attract adult butterflies the most, and they also are drawn to patches of the same plant or color of flowers. It’s a good idea to incorporate continuous-blooming annuals in islands of color, or clusters of nectar plants and is beneficial to include milkweed either nearby or mixed.

You should also be mindful of the flower’s orientation. It’s important that flower blossoms are flat-topped or clustered to make a platform for the butterfly to land and walk. Butterflies need nectar throughout the adult phase of their life span, so plant for a continuous bloom so that when one plant stops blooming, another begins.

More About Milkweed

Milkweed is the only plant the caterpillar eats and is where butterflies lay their eggs. That makes an abundance of milkweed vital, especially in the spring. Milkweed can be planted in early fall, but the seeds are best planted in November when it’s too warm for the ground to be frozen, but too cool for the seeds to sprout until spring.

Tropical milkweed is a primary monarch food source, but it should be cut back to the ground in late fall to encourage the butterflies to continue their journey to Mexico.

An excellent way to start your garden is to pick up two free Butterfly Retreat seed packets from our Central Park office at 1000 Krenek Tap Rd. Each pack covers more than 20 square feet and contains a wildflower mix that’s perfect for creating a butterfly habitat.

Educational Opportunities

  • Butterflies in the Brazos Community Meeting: Share your ideas and plans to promote monarch butterflies and other pollinator habitats on Wed., Sept. 27 from 9 a.m.-noon at the Brazos Center. The free gathering includes education about local groups and their efforts to increase awareness about butterfly preservation, native plants for butterflies, and other pollinators. We will also explore ways to involve residents and identify community partners for networking along with an overview of basic gardening tips. The program will feature speakers from the A&M Gardening Club, Texas Master Naturalist, Keep Brazos Beautiful, Native Plant Society, Master Gardeners, Monarch Gateway, the USDA/TAMU Future Scientist Program, and the College Station Parks & Recreation Department.
  • Landscaping and Plants for Butterflies: Ann Boehm of Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Master Gardeners and Butterflies in the Brazos will give an overview on landscaping and plants for butterflies. The free class will be Oct. 14 at 11 a.m. at Producers Ag Center (1800 N. Texas Ave.) in Bryan. You don’t need to RSVP.

We also invite you to visit our community demonstration gardens that were created by local community organizations:

For more information, go to cstx.gov/monarchs.

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Kutch is in her third year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

Photo Copyright: xkardoc/123RF Stock Photo

 

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Navy Cruisers to perform Saturday at Veterans Park

By Gabby Salazar, Tourism Events Supervisor

With Texas A&M being one of only six senior military colleges in the country, College Station has always been proud to honor those who serve our country. We prominently display our appreciation for the military in local museums and memorials, especially Veterans Park & Athletic Complex.

That makes Veterans Park the ideal venue for Saturday’s free concert by the United States Navy Band Cruisers, the Navy’s premier contemporary entertainment ensemble. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7. Before the show, guests can take pictures with military and first-response vehicles, tour the Veterans Memorial, enjoy kids’ activities, and more. (more…)


Youth sports programs offer volunteer opportunities

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

Without dedicated volunteer coaches, our local youth recreation programs couldn’t grow and prosper. Coaches teach fundamentals and help kids develop skills while instilling the time-tested value of hard work, practice, sportsmanship, and teamwork.

College Station Parks & Recreation offers more than 20 youth sports programs – with over 1,200 participants – throughout the year. If you’ve ever considered coaching, we provide opportunities for you to encourage, guide and train young athletes in flag football, basketball and girls volleyball. (more…)