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July events at state parks in the Highland Lakes

Learn the basics of geocaching on July 9 and July 18 at Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City. iStock image

What's more American than the great outdoors? Celebrate the Texas State Parks in the Highland Lakes from Independence Day weekend through the end of July. Inks Lake State Park in Burnet County, Pedernales Falls State Park near Johnson City, and Enchanted Rock State Natural Area can fill up quickly, so consider booking a day pass online before you visit.

INKS LAKE STATE PARK

Located at 3630 Park Road 4 West near Burnet. Daily entrance is $7 for ages 13 and older and free for children 12 and younger. Call the park at 512-793-2223 or visit its webpage for details.

  • Independence Day Celebration Bike Parade — 10 a.m. July 2; decorating at 9 a.m. Adorn your bicycle in red, white, and blue and join the parade. Come either pre-decorated or use the park's supplies (while they last).
  • Constitution to Nature — 11 a.m. July 3. Learn about the U.S. Constitution and its preamble as well as the oak-gall ink with which the important document was written. Then, write your own nature-inspired preamble with ink and feather quill.
  • Guided Nature Hike — 9 a.m. July 9, July 16, July 23, and July 30. Join a park ranger on a 0.2-mile hike to Devil's Waterhole to learn about native plants and local geology.

PEDERNALES FALLS STATE PARK

Located at 2585 Park Road 6026 near Johnson City. Daily entrance is $6 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger. Call the park at 830-868-7304 or visit its webpage for details.

  • Stories in the Stars — 9 p.m. July 1, July 2, and July 22; 9:30 p.m. July 29; and 10 p.m. July 30. View stars, constellations, and planets in the Star Theater and learn about their significance to humanity. Program is about an hour; open stargazing follows.
  • Skins, Skulls, Scales and Scat — 9 a.m. July 3, July 4, July 17, and July 21. See, feel, and smell examples of Texas Hill Country wildlife by what is left behind.
  • Junior Ranger Academy — 11 a.m. July 3, 10 a.m. July 11, and 1 p.m. July 23. For ages 6 and older. Children discover the world outside and earn badges to complete levels 1, 2, and 3. Adults must accompany their child.
  • Fishing with a Ranger — 8:30 a.m. July 7. Fish on the Pedernales River (no license required) while learning the basics in this catch-and-release program. Bring your own pole or borrow one from the park with reservation in advance.
  • Prehistoric Hunting: The Atlatl — 9 a.m. July 9, July 10, and July 14. Learn about ancient hunting technology that predated the bow and arrow and try your hand and aim with an atlatl. Ages 8 and older may participate. Adult supervision required for ages 17 and younger.
  • Geocaching 101 – 11 a.m. July 9 and 10 a.m. July 18. Learn how this modern-day treasure hunt works and start searching for caches. Use your own device with the Geocaching app or borrow a GPS unit from the park with reservation in advance.
  • Falls and Fossils — 9 a.m. July 15 and July 24. Discover the secrets of the Pedernales Falls with a 30-minute history and fossil demonstration followed by a 30-minute hike.
  • Nocturnals Night Hike — 9 p.m. July 16. See what it's like to live like a nocturnal animal.
  • Star Party — 8:30 p.m. July 23. Join the Austin Astronomical Society for a look at the night sky through the members' telescopes. Pre-registration required.
  • Astronomy 101 — 7:30 p.m. July 30. Learn the basics of stargazing with various types of equipment.

ENCHANTED ROCK STATE NATURAL AREA

Located at 16710 RR 965 in Fredericksburg. Daily entrance is $8 for ages 13 and older and free for ages 12 and younger. The park quickly reaches capacity, so reservations are encouraged and also required on weekends, holidays, and school breaks. Call the park at 830-685-3636 or visit its webpage for details.

  • Stargazing 101 — 9:30 p.m. July 1 and July 22. Learn about the importance of dark skies while stargazing.
  • Stories in Our Stars — 9:30 p.m. July 2 and July 23. Learn about light pollution and the stories behind some of the best-known constellations.
  • Marvel at the Moon — 8:30 p.m. July 3. Gaze at the moon through a telescope while learning about its craters and ancient stories.
  • Star-Spangled Night Hike — 8:30 p.m. July 4. Take a challenging, 1½-mile round trip night hike on the Summit Trail and gaze at the stars at the top. Registration required.
  • Birding 101 — 8 a.m. July 8. Get an introduction to birding on a park ranger-led hike. All experience levels are welcome. Loaner binoculars available for the first 12 visitors.
  • Almost Full Moon Hike — 8:30 p.m. July 9, July 10, and July 11. Hike to the top of Enchanted Rock under the light of an almost-full moon. Registration required.
  • Astronomy 101 — 7 p.m. July 22 and July 23. Learn the basics of night sky viewing with various types of equipment.

For more state park events, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website. And check out the Highland Lakes Hiking Guide before you head out for useful information.

editor@thepicayune.com

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