Most folks come to La Paz to unplug and to get back to nature. But we’ve learned that others may want that – but then need something nearby that’s interesting or entertaining – or both. I thought I’d start looking at towns close to us that have interesting and entertaining things to offer that you might not know about. In this blog post I’m going to begin with Lufkin, Tx. which is a short 45 minute drive through the beautiful Angelina National Forest from La Paz.
For starters there’s the Ellen Trout Zoo. This is a great little zoo where you can get up close and personal with an impressive collection of birds and animals from all over the world. We took our children to this zoo every summer and now take our grandchildren – who love it.
Next – the Naranjo Museum of Natural History. We discovered this place just this past summer when our granddaughters were visiting. What a cool surprise! The sophistication of this visual history of our planet belies its location in such a small town. My goodness – full-sized complete dinosaur skeletons and some well done reproductions along with relics and artifacts from every age of this earth. A current exhibition is entitled Gulf Coast and East Texas Wildlife. It shows the different aquatic animals that can be found in the waters off the Gulf Coast of Texas.These animals can be found in your backyard. Some of these animals are fairly common and some of us see them every day, but others like the Alligator Gar and Fox are a little more mysterious.
We are interested in art so we very much enjoy the Museum of East Texas in Lufkin. Again, this museum is very impressive for a town of 50,000. Just looking at the current exhibitions makes me want to visit tomorrow!
Finally – what trip to the Piney Woods is complete without checking into the Texas Forestry Museum. One of the largest museums of its kind this is a fun place for the whole family to look at the past, present and future of trees. How we grow and harvest trees,then how we transport and process them. Featured exhibits include Sawmill Town, Paper Mill, Money Trees, logging train, fire tower, and Urban Wildscape Trail.
Lufkin also has a neat downtown area with great cafes and restaurants and even a micro-brewery that features my favorite – homemade root beer.
In future blogs I will continue my trip around La Paz – to Jasper; to our Golden Triangle – Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange; Nacogdoches and then those hidden places in between.
For us Southeast Texas natives it’s been a little chilly this week – lows in the upper 30s and highs of 60 – that’s fireplace weather for us. It’s pretty though with lots of bright sunshine all day. I ferried some guests on a pontoon tour of the Angelina River today and the banks are beautiful with abundant fall hardwood colors interspersed with the evergreens.