Beaumont, Texas offers lots of family-friendly fun for all ages.
If you are road-tripping from Texas to Louisiana it’s definitely worth the stop!
This article is written in partnership with Visit Beaumont and contains affiliate links.
Where is Beaumont, Texas?
A city that was once the epicenter of two separate oil booms, Beaumont, Texas has a rich history in both natural resources and stories of families who benefitted from those booms.
21159 FM 365, Beaumont, TX
When you think of alligators, you typically think of Florida and Louisiana, but they can also be found in the eastern third of Texas!
Yes, Texas has gators!
Largest Alligator Adventure Park/Sanctuary in Southeast Texas
Gator Country Wildlife Adventure Park is the only sanctuary for nuisance alligators to reside in Texas.
The 15-acre preserve has over 450 American alligators, crocodiles, many different reptiles, as well as various other mammals that they have received through nuisance rescues, donations, other institutions or abandonment.
You may recognize Gator Country’s owners from their popular reality show on CMT, Gator 911.
Gator Country is also the home of two of the largest alligators in captivity in Texas.
- “Big Al” is 84 years old, weighs more than 1,000 + lbs, and measures at 13 ft 4 inches.
- “Big Tex” is 13 ft 8 1/2 inches long, 1000 + lbs, and is on the National record as the largest live captures nuisance alligator.
During our visit, we attended an educational program led by college graduates in the internship program. Guests at Gator Country have many hands-on opportunities to learn about gators, feed them, and even swim with them!
Wading with gators is part of an Adventure Package available March-September. Don’t worry, this adventure is with smaller gators and their mouths are taped shut during the experience.
More Things to Do at Gator Country
Animal lovers will also enjoy feeding the goats and bunnies.
If you are visiting with smaller kids, there is a playground on site where kids can burn off some extra energy.
Reptile lovers will enjoy the indoor exhibits at Swamp Country with a variety of species both venomous and non-venomous, including small gators and snakes.
Another adventure worth mentioning offered at Gator Country are the Swamp Tours on Taylor Bayou that lasts about an hour.
Giant Alligator Roadside Attraction at Gator Country
From 1-10 coming into Beaumont, you can see a giant home-made alligator from the highway.
As you approach Gator Country from the parking lot you will see the long tail of the 135-foot long, 30 ft tall Alligator, Big Beau.
Big Beau is made of wood, metal siding & framing, and rubber and took 6 months to complete.
To enter Gator Country you will travel through the center of the Big Beau alligator into the gift shop.
Gator Country has seasonal hours so make sure that you call before you arrive.
Did you know that people travel from all over the world to Beaumont just for birding?
Beaumont has a great incentive for guests of all ages to visit local museums and attractions that goes with the birding theme.
How to Use the Beaumont Birdie Passport
You can download the Beaumont Birdie Passport or pick one up at one of the attractions on the list.
- Each Birdie lives in its own special birdhouse at a local attraction. They even have a unique name, stamp, and bird call when you squeeze them!
- Passport participants can collect stamps to fill up their passport by visiting each Beaumont Birdie’s location.
- You can share your Birdie pictures on social media with @VisitBeaumontTX.
- Once you have at least 10 stamps on your Birdie Passport you are eligible to receive your own Beaumont Birdie for FREE!
- Submit your Beaumont Birdie Passport to the Beaumont Convention and Visitors Bureau located at 505 Willow St. Beaumont, Texas 77701.
FREE Museums and Attractions in Beaumont
During my visit, I was amazed at how many museums and attractions were FREE!
This makes it even easier for families to fill up their Beaumont Birdie Passports.
Fire Museum of Texas
400 Walnut St, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Spot the Peregrine Falcon
The Fire Museum of Texas houses an incredible collection of antique engines and firefighting equipment dating back to the 1800s!
Make sure that you also look up at the vintage ladders hanging from the ceiling and the vintage photographs throughout the museum.
Kids can dress up like a firefighter and act like they are driving a firetruck for a great photo op.
They will also love exploring the playhouse on the second floor designed for fire education safety.
Don’t forget to stop and get a picture with a lifesize vintage Smoky the Bear too.
Roadside Attraction -Giant Dalmation Spotted Fire Hydrant
Located directly in front of the Fire Museum of Texas, the 24 ft Dalmation-spotted fire hydrant is hard to miss. It was a donation to the city from Disney for the re-release of the animated movie “101 Dalmations” on March 9, 1999.
Fun Facts: It’s the World’s largest working fire hydrant, weighing over 4500 pounds and its spots are trademarked by Disney.
6088 Babe Zaharias Drive, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Tyrrell the Downy Woodpecker
Beaumont Botanical Gardens is a 23.5-acre garden located near the entrance to Tyrrell Park. There is a paved walkway to view themed gardens with benches along the way that are perfect for bird watching.
The Outside gardens are open during Tyrrell Park hours from daylight till dark every day.
Warren Loose Conservatory is 10,000 sq ft featuring a majority of plants from tropical and rain forest areas. Check the Beaumont Botanical Gardens website for hours and days to visit the inside of Warren Loose Conservatory.
500 Main St, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Arthur the Painted Bunting
The Art Museum of Southeast Texas features both a permanent collection and special exhibits ranging from exhibits 19th century to contemporary American art.
Make sure that you check their calendar for upcoming programs, tours, and Free Family Art Days offered 4 times a year.
1750 Interstate 10 Frontage Road, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Babe the Northern Flicker
Learn more about hometown legend and the world’s greatest female athlete and Olympic gold-medalist, Mildred Babe Didrikson Zaharias.
The museum highlights Mildred’s achievements with awards and memorabilia throughout her life.
350 Pine Street, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Edison the Great Horned Owl
Learn more about America’s Greatest Inventor, Thomas Alva Edison at the Edison Museum located inside the historic Travis Street building.
The Edison Museum is the only facility of its kind west of the Mississippi River with more than 1,400 artifacts in our growing study collection and an expanding reference library.
BIRD SPOTTING AT CATTAIL MARSH SCENIC WETLANDS AND BOARDWALK
4233 Babe Zaharias Drive, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Beau the Pileated Woodpecker
THE spot for bird watching, Cattail Marsh includes 900 acres of wetlands. Guests can view more than 250 species of birds annually from the boardwalk that stretches across the marsh.
Originally the site was constructed as the final phase of Beaumont’s wastewater treatment system in 1993. Environmentalists and wildlife professionals from all over have come to appreciate this innovative process and inspirational model.
If you visit when there is an obvious bird watcher, make sure that you ask them questions. Most love sharing their birding passion with others. During a morning visit to Cattail Marsh, a bird watcher let us use his scope to watch a bald eagle with it’s babies in a tree several miles away.
In addition to bird watching, this is a great place for walking, hiking, biking, and photography with 8 miles of gravel roads to experience the beauty from other perspectives. Be on the lookout for gators in the area too.
After your visit, you can still monitor the birds at Cattail Marsh Wetlands Boardwalk and Education Center from the live webcam onsite.
This is a nice option for people who love birding and may not be able to physically visit the wetlands as often as they would like.
Texas has 500 species of birds and you can see around half of that amount year-round in Beaumont!
View the wetlands from an elevated perspective at the Cattail Marsh Wetlands Education Center. Guests of the center can learn more about the wetlands ecosystem and birding.
Inside the center, guests can join thousands of users and submit the location’s bird sightings on the eBird Kiosk.
With more than 100 million birds sightings contributed each year by users, it’s the world’s largest biodiversity-related citizen science project, managed by Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Addition Resources at Cattail Marsh Wetlands Educational Center:
- Birding Checklist and Tips for Beginning Birders
- Do-It-Yourself: Educational Worksheets
- Why Wetlands are important and need to be restored.
- Photography 101
- Nature and the plants that attract Birds
- Maps and visitor information
6102 FM 420, Kountze, TX
Big Thicket National Preserve has 40 miles of hiking across 7 different trails, 100 miles of water, and 9 different ecosystems. With over 113,000 acres and 15 different units in 7 counties there is a LOT to explore!
Visitors will find plenty of outdoor adventure from hiking to kayaking in an area like no other in southeast Texas.
START AT THE BIG THICKET NATIONAL PRESERVE VISITORS CENTER
To truly appreciate the diverse ecology and history of the area, I highly recommend stopping at the visitors center first.
Kids will enjoy hands-on learning at the interactive Discovery Station. The park rangers will also tell you if there are any trail closures or special events.
Guests that enjoy primitive camping can get a free permit at the Big Visitors center for backcountry camping. Ironically, you won’t find many gators in the area unless it’s an immature male who was kicked out of the nest.
If you want to spend time on the water, there are several outfitters nearby with canoe and kayak rentals.
Big Thicket is one of the first National Preserves in the US and even allows hunting, fishing, and trapping at the preserve with a free permit.
The limited permits are first-come, first-serve and only certain units are open to hunting
Big Thicket National Preserve offers several FREE guided hikes and paddling programs/kayak trips to the public with a ranger. (They even have infant life jackets)
The 4-6 hour paddling programs are really popular and it’s recommended that you call in advance and pack a hardy lunch and water.
The kayak programs on Village Creek and the Naches River are first-come, first-serve. You can also call to see if they are available at another time and date if you have a group with a minimum of 6 people and a max of 16.
Younger guests between ages 5-13 can engage with the park through the Junior Ranger activity-based program where kids can earn a badge and certificate.
A GUIDED HIKE ON SUNDEW TRAIL
During our visit, we really enjoyed our guided hike with Alex. He showed areas of the trail that had been a part of controlled burns.
There are 400 species of plants in the preserve and prescribed fires help protect plants from invasive species and pests.
The Sundew Trail and the Pitcher Plant Trail are both known for being great trails for birding. If you visit in the spring from March-May there are a variety of wildflowers that bloom in the preserve.
The preserve is pet-friendly and you are just asked to keep your dog tethered. There is a bathroom and shelter near the parking lot for the trail.
Carnivorous Plants at Big Thicket National Preserve
Did you know that 4/5 of the types of carnivorous plants found in North America can be found in Big Thicket National Preserve?
Carnivorous Plants at Big Thicket National Preserve
- Sundews (Pictured Directly Above)
- Pitcher plants
If you are looking for the Venus flytrap, sorry, it’s only found in North and South Carolina.
Low-Cost Museums and Attractions in Beaumont
Visiting a museum in Beaumont doesn’t have to break the bank.
In fact, you’ll find the museums in Beaumont, Texas to be surprisingly affordable with low admission costs. Many of the museums are only around $5 for adults.
5550 Jimmy Simmons Blvd., Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Patillo the American Goldfinch
Each building highlights a different aspect of what the town would have been like during that time period.
Ex.)Barbershop, hotel, print shop, post office, saloon, livery, etc.
If you have a group of 10 or more guided tours are available on select hours and days.
If you are visiting with younger kids, make sure that you take a scavenger hunt sheet when you pay. This is a great way to help younger kids engage with the museum. There are 3 different versions of scavenger hunt in case you want to mix things up with different hunts for each kid.
LUCAS GUSHER RE-ENACTMENT (FREE)
Instead of oil, the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum uses water to recreate the gusher. The water sprays from the large Spindletop near the museum entrance for 2 minutes vs. 9 days like the original gusher from January 10, 1901. You watch the gusher without paying for admission.
701 Main St, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Neches the Purple Martin
The Beaumont Children’s Museum helps kids learn through play with STEAM-focused learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) and hands-on exhibits.
600 Main Street
Featured Bird: Gladys the Cedar Waxwing
Learn more about the story of Texas oil. From it’s history to modern-day uses, you’ll learn a lot and have a new appreciation for oil in all of its forms.
8727 Fannett Road, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Clifton the Canada Goose
Learn more about the area’s military and civilian heroes from wars that were fought in Southeast Texas and Louisiana, as well as the Steamboat Era, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam inside a 24,000 square feet, two-story museum.
HISTORICAL HOMES IN BEAUMONT
If you love history, there are several historical homes in Beaumont that will give you a greater insight into how the oil industry changed the lives of many of its residents.
1906 Calder Ave, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Mamie the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Learn more about the lives of a prominent family that lived in this Beaux-Arts Colonial style home for 75 years that was built in 1906 during the Texas oil boom.
During the tour of the McFaddin- Ward House you’ll explore the 3 story home that has original furnishings, a carriage house, and beautiful gardens.
Reservations are needed for the docent-led tour and can be made by calling 409-832-2134.
*Children must be 8 or older to tour the home. All ages welcome on the self-guided tour of the Carriage House.
To help kids engage more with the tour, make sure that you pick up an interactive scavenger hunt booklet that challenges younger guests to find specific things in each room.
2240 Calder Avenue, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Homer the Eastern Bluebird
The Chamber House was the former home of C. Homer and Edith Fuller Chambers along with their two daughters Ruth and Florence.
The house dates back to 1906 and the two daughters lived in the home after their parents passed away for nearly 90 years.
One of my favorite pieces in the home was the family’s victrola. What made it even more special was that we got to hear it being played which was even more surprising given its age.
3025 French Road, Beaumont, TX
Featured Bird: Johnny the American Robin
Learn more about the life of a prosperous Texas pioneer family from 1845-1865 at the John Jay French Museum.
Milled lumber was used for building the two-story home built in 1845, which also happens to be one of the oldest surviving homes in Beaumont.
HORSEBACK RIDING AT TYRRELL PARK
5305 Tyrrell Park Rd, Beaumont, TX
Tyrrell Park Stables offers lessons, trail rides, parties, hayride, and bonfires that are scheduled by appointment only.
Your trail ride could be on payment or on one of the hiking trails depending on whether the trails are dry or wet.
COLORFUL MURALS IN BEAUMONT, TEXAS
There are several colorful murals around Beaumont that are an Instagrammers dream.
GEOMETRIC BEAUMONT PRINT BY ARTIST KIMBERLY BROWN
Location: 1700 Calder Ave.
3 COLOR MURALS IN 1 LOCATION
If you want an area with a higher concentration of murals, 660 Fannin St. is a great place to go.
COLORFUL TRAFFIC BOXES THROUGHOUT DOWNTOWN BEAUMONT
As you drive around downtown Beaumont you will notice colorful electrical boxes throughout the city.
There are over 70 unique traffic boxes created by local artists in a variety of styles and themes.
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