I live in Houston and have worked as a nurse. I have a lifelong passion for traveling, nature, and photography (preferably all together!).
There is much to do, see, and enjoy in McClendon Park, located in Precinct 3 of Houston, Texas. This well-utilized park consists of 22.8 acres. The address is 3770 Summit Valley Drive, Houston, Texas, 77082.
Directly seen from the paved parking lot is a fun zone for children to climb and play. Kids can experience scrambling over a rock formation, enjoying a good swing ride, to sliding down slides. It is a well-thought-out playground.
McClendon Park Pavilion
The covered pavilion in the park is impressive. It offers seating capacity for many people. Wood only is allowed in the grills. People must make reservations in advance to use this pavilion for groups utilizing this space for food preparation and parties.
There are quite a few picnic tables sheltered from the sun or rain. They have distinctive pavilion-type coverings. Most of these are near the children’s playground area and parking lot. A few open picnic tables are atop a hill in the park. With sizzling summer temperatures in the Houston metro area, these sheltered picnic tables are probably well utilized.
Bayou Fitness Trail
The Bayou Fitness Trail length is 1.67 miles in length. Spaced at intervals along the trail are LifeTrail exercise stations. They are three-sided and have instructions on how to use the equipment properly.
There is also information about butterflies and birds known to exist in this area, along with photos of them.
Butterflies found along the bayou include the following: Monarch Butterfly, Cloudless Sulphur, Gulf Fritillary, Black Swallowtail, Viceroy, Red Admiral, and Gray Hairstreak, and even more.
Birds of the bayou include the following: Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, White Ibis, Cattle Egret, Yellow-Crowned Night Heron, Fulvous Whistling-Duck, and Belted Kingfisher, among others.
One such fitness station on the bayou fitness trail had information about Native Americans. It specifically told about the Karankawas and how they lived. The last of the panel shows the following sad story of their demise.
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“As explorers from Europe arrived to colonize the Christianize the Native Americans in the early 1700s, hostilities began. Spanish explorers established missions to facilitate their forced conversion to Catholicism, but they had limited success.
When Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821, a large number of Karankawa had already been exterminated by diseases brought from Europe as well as violent efforts to claim land by westward expansion from settlers.
As Texas was taking steps to become an independent republic and Mexican authorities south of the Rio Grande River unwilling to accept them into their country, the Karankawa Indians were left with no land to call their own. Juan Nepomuceno Cortina led a group of Texans who attacked the remaining members of their group in Rio Grande City in 1858, effectively wiping out the Karankawa Indians.”
Different quotes, some sage and others funny are also on view on the LifeTrail exercise stations. Here is a sampling of them.
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worth purpose.” -Helen Keller (1880-1968)
“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you.” -Wally ‘Famous’ Amos (1936- )
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” -Herm Albright (1876-1944)
A paved path through the forest preserves part of McClendon park allows views of nature in that type of setting. It is a relatively small part of the park but welcomed. Take the time to view things most noteworthy. It might be a dragonfly flying ahead of you, shafts of sunlight illuminating the bark of trees, or mushrooms growing on a log.
Different types of sports are available to play in the wide-open spaces of the sports fields. From disc golf to soccer to just batting some balls or tossing frisbees, it provides entertainment for many people.
Wetland Garden in McClendon Park
The sign below tells about the function of wetlands.
“Wetlands have many functions. The function of this wetland is to filter and cleanse the water to be reused for watering the various plants within the park. Wetlands act as living filters by removing pollutants from surface and groundwater through the uptake of nutrients by the plants and the trapping of sediments. This is accomplished as the incoming water from the right zig-zags through the wetland and exits to the left and enters the underground storage reservoir for the irrigation system.”
For people who wish to learn about plants that can survive with little rainfall or watering, the xeriscape garden in this park is illustrative. Undoubtedly it is lusher at other times of the year. We visited this park in the winter.
A hill overlooks Bray’s Amphitheater, and most people probably use that for seating when watching performances. I can well imagine that people spread blankets and enjoy open-air shows of various types because limited bench seating is on the site.
Much to Do, See, and Enjoy!
Hopefully, you now have an overview of the many things available to enjoy in McClendon park. Do you have similar parks in your area?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Peggy Woods