Park Preview-Arthur Storey Park

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The Scoop

Arthur Storey Park is a 175 acre park off of Sam Houston Parkway in West Houston.  Situated along Brays Bayou, its detention is ringed with a hike and bike trail that is just short of two miles. A playground, Tai Chi court, picnic tables, duck pond, gazebo and restrooms round out the list of this park's amenities.  

tai chi platform

tai chi platform

What We Loved

We stopped by this park while out running errands and had no idea what to expect. Unfortunately, our visit did not begin well as we were greeted by construction noise, trash everywhere and a horrible smell wafting from the detention pond. However, as we were walking back to the car after finding a decent place to eat our lunch, we happened upon this wonderful Tai Chi space. Somehow, despite the noise from the highway and nearby construction, this area of the park had a feeling of peace and tranquility. There were several large oaks providing shade and I was really glad that this was our last stop before leaving the park. 

What We'd Like to See Instead

I was immediately turned off by the gator warning signs. With small children, this is an animal that simply make me nervous (This is probably the reason we haven't braved Brazos Bend State Park yet!). In addition to the aforementioned observations, the park was just too crowded. Kids were practically on top of one another on the playground. It reminded me of an elementary school playground at lunch time. We were there on a Friday afternoon and while it was nice to see so many people enjoying the outdoors, the patrons clearly did not respect the park as trash littered the ground. We would also like to point out the upon reason other reviews of this park, we discovered numerous accounts of car break-ins and a general consensus that it is not safe to walk alone in the park in the early morning or evening hours. This park is definitely not our best Houston find. 

Park Preview-Galveston Island Beach Pocket Park #2

11745 San Luis Pass Road
Galveston, Texas 77554
409-797-5102 or 888-425-4753 ext 102
http://www.galvestonbeachinfo.com/pocket_parks.asp

The Scoop

While it doesn't have the most glamorous name, this beach pocket park more than served its purpose for our short day-trip. Located on the west end of Galveston Island, Pocket Park #2 is a short distance from some of the island's main attractions, but quiet enough to feel like an escape from all of the hustle and bustle. Its ammenties include restrooms, outdoor rinse-off showers and chair and umbrella rentals.

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What We Loved

This was our first time on the beach in a few years and while it may not be the most beautiful of beaches (a person can get slightly spoiled after living in Hawaii for a few years), there is something very humbling about standing at the water's edge and looking out at water and sky as far as your eyes can see. It was a clean, relaxing place to spend a few hours with young kiddos. 

Promising restroom and shower facilities...too bad they were closed. 

Promising restroom and shower facilities...too bad they were closed. 

What We'd Like to See Instead

When we arrived, there was no attendant at the park entrance. Usually, there is a parking fee and we were happy to hang onto our few dollars, but a lack of staff meant amenities were limited. We didn't realize the restrooms were locked until we were getting ready to leave and needed a place to change and take care of business. Restrooms are key with little ones in tow. If we were to visit again, we'd make sure the restrooms were open before getting settled. There are numerous stops along the shore, so we'll probably explore other parts of the island rather than make a repeat trip to this location. 

Park Preview-Matheson Park

1240 Ulrich Road
Tomball, Texas 77375
281-290-1400
http://www.ci.tomball.tx.us/index.aspx?NID=340

jerry matheson park-view from parking lot

jerry matheson park-view from parking lot

The Scoop

Commonly referred to as "Tire Park," Jerry Matheson park is a small, 10-acre park located in Tomball, Texas but don't be fooled by its small size.  This little spot boasts an AMAZING playground, picnic pavilion, baseball field, lighted tennis courts and swimming pool.  

One of two firefighter poles!

One of two firefighter poles!

What We Loved

We fell in love with this park immediately.  The zip lines, TWO fireman poles, and ladder hidden in a rocket ship were enough for the boys to want to stay at this park all day.  From the looks of it (won't open for the season until May), the swimming pool is well maintained and spacious. The baseball field looks like the perfect place to take the kiddos on a Sunday afternoon for a game of catch. 

rocket ship ladder and climbing wall

rocket ship ladder and climbing wall

What We'd Like to See Instead

The park was in definite need of a fresh layer of mulch.  It had rained the day before so there were some spots near the rope swings/zip lines that were a little muddy. It didn't put a damper our trip at all, but one of the boys did have a fall that resulted in a pretty dirty backside!    

view from back corner of playground

view from back corner of playground


Swimming pool

Swimming pool


Ball Field

Ball Field

Campsite of the Month-Black Rock Park

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The Scoop

Black Rock Park is an LCRA park located on Buchanan Dam about halfway between Burnet and Llano.  The most popular time to visit is during the summer which is no surprise with its ample shorelines perfect for camping, swimming, boating and fishing.  They have a good variety of campsites available, including 18 water only tent sites and 13 RV friendly campsites.  They also have 18 mini cabins that can sleep up to five with additional room to pitch a tent outside.  These cabins have electricity and an A/C and heat window unit.  Although they do not have any hiking trails there are plenty of things to keep you entertained and there are several other places to explore nearby. 

Cabin

Cabin

What We Loved

The park and facilities are well maintained.  We liked the cabin option for days when you need some relief from the heat, rain or cold.  The park is a family friendly environment and my daughter enjoyed the large swing set and feeding the ducks.  The shoreline also has a nice shallow area for swimming or soaking up some sun. 

Shoreline cabins

Shoreline cabins

What We'd Like to See Instead

More restrooms!  While the individual restroom with private shower stall is a really nice luxury while camping, there were only 3 to be shared between 18 cabin sites which turns mornings into high traffic times for those waiting to use the restroom.  I would love to see a set of separate men’s and women’s restrooms with several stalls, that way people may still use the restrooms while the showers are occupied. 

Thanks to our dear friend Tebaliah Martinez for her March contribution to our Campsite of the Month series!