November 8, 2010

McKinney Roughs Nature Park

One of my favorite places… McKinney Roughs is a1,100 acre nature park where characteristics of four ecosystems converge to create an unusual blend of natural resources. Located just 13 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, McKinney Roughs is home to hundreds of plant and animal species living within the rolling box canyons, wildflower meadows and lazy river bends of the Texas Colorado River.

The Visitors’ Center has interactive exhibits about the area’s indigenous species and why the “river is the reason” for the presence and protection of this natural area. Visitors can explore close to18 miles of trails by foot or horseback. Hiking fees are $4 for adults, $2 seniors/military/disabled, and free for children 12 and under. Included in the day-use fee is the opportunity to borrow one of three different nature packs offered at the nature park: the birding pack, the plant pack, and the kid pack. Horseback riding fees are $10 per person, and riders must provide their own horses.

The park’s Mark Rose Natural Science Center is home to quality science-based education programs led by trained educators and professional staff. Teachers, home schoolers, youth and corporate groups can schedule day or overnight education programs to learn about water conservation and land stewardship. Recreation programs such as a river raft trip and team-building on the challenge course tie together the strands of your group’s nature experience.

Some of the FREE programs offered at McKinney Roughs include:
  • Walk on the Wild Side!–1st Saturday of each month (except Jan. 1st) through February, from 10am-noon, adults and children ages 8 & up
  • Ranger in the Roughs–3rd Thursday of each month through February, 7pm-8pm, all ages
  • Stargazing at the Roughs–2nd Friday of each month through February, 9pm-10:30pm, all ages
They offer MANY other community programs and one-day classes and clinics, including river and recreation programs, education programs, and the At Home in Nature series. There are also multi-day youth programs like Academy in the Roughs and one-day youth educational Natural Science programs about Water Conservation, Wildlife Conservation, and Land Stewardship. And there’s the Challenge Course… The McKinney Roughs Challenge Course encourages team development using games and initiatives, low and high fixed elements and rock climbing.

You can also rent their facilities. McKinney Roughs is the ideal location for your group’s next retreat, workshop, meeting or special event. They have state of the art facilities and provide a personalized event planner to ensure your group a relaxed and memorable experience. For more information about McKinney Roughs, click here.

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