Posts tagged “Parks and Recreation Month

Pandemic spotlights vital role of parks and recreation


By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

The services and programs provided by municipal parks and recreation departments have always been indispensable to a community’s well-being and overall quality of life. If that wasn’t clear before the COVID-19 pandemic, it certainly is now.

A survey by the National Recreation and Park Association found that 83% of adults say exercising at local parks, trails, and open spaces has been vital to maintaining their mental and physical health during the outbreak.

We celebrate Park and Recreation Month throughout July by highlighting the powerful role our College Station Parks and Recreation staff and professionals across the country play in health and wellness, conservation, economic impact, and social equity.

In College Station, our nationally-recognized program ensures that residents and visitors have adequate access to parks and green space. Our inventory includes 54 developed and seven undeveloped parks covering almost 1,400 acres. Amenities include: 

  • 35.5 miles of walking trails
  • 44 exercise stations
  • 58 play units
  • 28 swing sets
  • 3 dog parks
  • 1 skate park
  • 10 ponds

We invite you to join us in celebrating Park and Recreation Month by picking up a grab bag filled with parks-themed coloring pages, activities, monarch-friendly milkweed seeds, and more. Stop by the Stephen C. Beachy Central Park Office on weekdays between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. If you call 979-764-3486 when you arrive, we’ll bring it out for curbside pickup.


About the Blogger

Kelli Nesbitt (@kneztalk) has served the Parks & Recreation Department for 15 years, the last eight as marketing coordinator. A native of Bryan, Kelli earned a bachelor’s degree in health & kinesiology from Sam Houston State.


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Parks and Rec offers many ways to get your game on

By Kelly Kelbly, Parks & Recreation Assistant Director

Those of us who work in the Park and Recreation industry know it isn’t always fun and games, but since July is National Park and Recreation Month, we want to celebrate everything that makes our field fun and full of joy and excitement.

Since 1985, America has celebrated this as Park and Recreation Month. This year’s theme is “Game On!  A game is defined as a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.

The College Station Parks and Recreation Department offers everything from summer camps to sports leagues to special events, so there’s a chance for anyone of any level to get in a game.

For example, kids can stop by the Lincoln Recreation Center to test their skills at knockout, ping-pong, or hula hooping. Those in Lick Creek Nature Center programs are often found playing chase or tag. Older kids can drop by the Southwood Community Center, Meyer Senior & Community Center, or Lincoln Recreation Center to play 42, bridge, and mahjong.

If you’re interested in competitive sports, we offer youth basketball and flag football leagues throughout the year, and swimmers can join the Tsunamis, our summer swim team.  We also partner with several organizations to ensure that soccer, baseball, and softball options are available.

Adults can compete in Ultimate Frisbee, spike ball, softball, kickball, basketball, and volleyball leagues.

But the fun doesn’t end there.

Throughout the year, we host dozens of tournaments that showcase outstanding athletes in a variety of sports. If you don’t want to compete, we invite you to drop by as a spectator.

For more information, check out our Summer Parks Guide or website, or call us at 979-764-3486. We have endless opportunities to get your Game On.

Put me in coach; I’m ready to play!


About the Blogger

Assistant Director Kelly Kelbly is in her 18th year with the College Station Parks & Recreation Department. A native of Gilmer, Kelly is a 1998 graduate of Texas A&M.


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5 awesome things to discover in our beautiful parks

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

“Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat.” –Laura Ingalls Wilder

What better way to celebrate Parks & Recreation Month in July than to explore the beautiful parks that significantly enhance our community’s quality of life.

With College Station’s 50 developed parks covering more than 1,300 acres, we have plenty of room and activities for everyone.

Need some suggestions? Here are five free activities for you to consider this month:

1. Gaga Ball and Splash Pad

>>> W. A. Tarrow Park, 1000 Eleanor St.

College Station Parks and Recreation offers more than 60 play units in our city parks, but this one leaves you especially gaga. Everyone’s going gaga over gaga – but what is it?

Gaga is a fast-paced, high-energy sport played in an octagonal pit. It’s a kinder, gentler version of dodgeball that combines the skills of dodging, striking, running and jumping. Participants try to hit opponents below the knees with a soft foam ball. Players must keep moving to avoid getting hit. It’s fun and easy and provides a serious workout.  The more players, the better!

After your gaga game, you can go cool off at the free outdoor splash pad. The fun, brightly colored tipping buckets and directional spray areas safely entertain kids of all ages. The fully accessible splash pad is open from 9 a.m.-8 p.m. on weekdays and noon-8 p.m. on weekends through Labor Day.

2. Picnics

>>> Stephen C. Beachy Central Park, 1000 Krenek Tap Rd.

What better way to enjoy nature than going on a simple picnic?

Stephen C. Beach Central Park offers lots of green space to enjoy an outdoor meal. You can set up a classic picnic under the trees by the pond and watch the ducks and fishers, sit beneath the gazebo, or use a picnic table and cookout on the barbeque pit. The park also offers a covered pavilion with restrooms.

The most beautiful thing about a picnic is its versatility. You can make it simple or sophisticated with many days of planning or quickly pack the essentials for some impromptu fun.

Of course, there’s more to picnicking than just eating, and Central Park has plenty of fun activities. You can play a pickup game on the basketball courts, or play sand volleyball, flag football, soccer or frisbee on the athletic fields. The park also has a pair of lighted tennis courts, a play unit for the little ones, a one-mile walking trail, and two ponds stocked with plenty of hungry fish.

3. Trails

>>> Veterans Memorial Mile & Lynn Stuart Pathway, 3101 Harvey Rd.

The Veterans Memorial Mile is a mile-long path that reveals our military history through 700 brick pavers embedded in the sidewalk. Where else can you get a vivid history lesson while exercising in a beautiful setting? A trip around the loop provides a year-to-year historical progression.

The Lynn Stuart Pathway is a half-mile walking path through a wooded, shaded area that features a series of historically correct bronze statues. The interpretive panels and statues provide strong visual representations of the brave veterans who fought in battles throughout our nation’s history.

We encourage you to get off the beaten path and explore our more than 30 miles of nature and jogging/walking trails.

4. Dog Parks

>>> Barracks Park, 205 Capps Dr.

Oh, the dog days of summer!

Take your canine companion out for some summer fun at Barracks Park, a fenced-in recreational area with benches and a covered shelter for owners to relax while their pups play. You’ll need to keep them hydrated with the fountains at the side of the park.

>>> Lick Creek Park, 13600 East Rock Prairie Rd.

With five miles of wooded trails to conquer, Lick Creek is for owners and dogs that prefer a little adventure.

>>> Steeplechase Park, 301 Westridge Dr.

Steeplechase is the perfect playground to release than pent-up summer energy with play units for the kids and a fenced-in area for your pup.

>>> University Park, 300 Park Rd.

University Park has opportunities for both small and large dogs with separate fenced-in play areas. It also has a walkway through the woods that leads to a large pond. Let them cool off, jump in the water for a swim, and frolic with the other dogs.

5. Instagrammable Photos

College Station’s parks do much more than enhance our quality of life and provide recreation and leisure activities. They’re also ideal places to raise your Instagram game.

After all, if you didn’t take a picture, did it really happen? Even if you have lived here for years, you will find a plethora of picture-worthy treasures, hidden gems, and overlooked sweet spots to capture on camera.

Here are a few of “Instagrammable” hot spots to get you started:

>>> Brison Park, 400 Dexter Dr.

Tucked in the Southside Historic District just a few blocks from the A&M campus is nine-acre Brison Park, a neighborhood oasis that might be the most beautiful and serene green spot in our entire parks system. Acquired in 1947, it’s among our oldest parks and is full of historic character with 100-year-old oak trees, a seasonal stream, and gently rolling hills.

>>> Gabbard Park, 1201 Dexter Dr.

Gabbard Park has all the elements to supply beautiful photography backdrops. You can find flowers and trees blooming with color, classic park benches overlooking a pond occupied by paddling ducks, a walking bridge, and a winding, lighted trail.

>>> Lick Creek Park, 13600 East Rock Prairie Rd.

Many people consider the 515-acre Lick Creek Park to be the crown jewel of College Station’s park system. As the area’s premier nature preserve, Lick Creek displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. The park has five miles of marked trails and opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study. Lick Creek is a nature lover’s dream.

Take advantage of Parks and Recreation Month and discover something awesome right here in College Station!


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth 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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Celebrate Park & Recreation Month at a park near you

By Kelli Nesbitt, Parks & Recreation Marketing Coordinator

Park-Rec-month-poster-8x11College Station’s Parks & Recreation Department maintains 55 parks covering almost 1,400 acres, not to mention a variety of recreational facilities and programs. In fact, we like to think we have something to offer everyone.

But it wasn’t always like this.

In honor of Park and Recreation Month, let’s review our local parks and recreation history and see just how far we’ve come.

Where we were then

Not long after College Station incorporated in 1938 – with a population of about 2,000 – the first city council created a parks board to manage public parks and grounds. In 1947, the city purchased land from F.B. Clark and Hershel Burgess to establish our first municipal park.