Shady Lane Park: Shows Importance of Bayous in Houston

Updated on April 7, 2020
Peggy W profile image

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Large concrete alligator in Shady Lane Park
Large concrete alligator in Shady Lane Park | Source

Shady Lane Park

A jewel in the Houston park system is Shady Lane Park. The name of the park gives no hint as to what is there. Yes, there are trees, so obviously, there is shade if visiting this park when the deciduous trees are fully leafed out.

My husband and I visited this park during the winter. It was a blustery cold day, so there were hardly any people in the park at the time of our visit. We were delighted with our discovery, and I am happy to tell you about it.

The address is 10220 Shady Lane, Houston, Texas 77093.

The exterior of the Community Center at Shady Lane Park.
The exterior of the Community Center at Shady Lane Park. | Source

Community Center

There is a community center in Shady Lane Park. Houston has 60 community centers scattered throughout areas where there are also parks. Many of them have a variety of programs as well as fitness activities. Programs include those for children as well as adults.

The hours posted at this community center are the following:

  • Monday – Friday (fall, winter, and spring) are 11 A.M to 7 P.M
  • Monday – Friday (summer hours) are 8 A.M. to 7 P.M.
  • Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Signs posted inside the building directed people to the Head Start programs at some of the other centers. Information regarding summer enrichment programs is also available.

Gym equipment inside the community center building at Shady Lane Park
Gym equipment inside the community center building at Shady Lane Park | Source

Classes and Hours

The summer weight room schedule for participants is as follows:

  • Ladies Hour 8 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. Monday – Friday
  • Open Hours 4 P.M to 7 P.M Monday – Friday
  • No children allowed

Zumba classes are held in another room that looked as if it was multi-purpose. Those hours were the following:

  • 8 A.M. to 9 A.M Monday to Friday
  • 6 P.M to 7 P.M Monday to Thursday

Community Garden
Community Garden | Source

Shady Lane Community Garden

The Shady Lane community garden is probably a beehive of activity in the warmer months of the year. On June 3rd, people are invited to learn about gardening from 9 A.M to noon free of charge. Healthy cooking demonstrations with free food samples also happen on that date.

Raised garden beds make it easier for people to garden. The fencing around the garden plots helps to dissuade deer and other animals from helping themselves to the food.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
View of the sprayground water feature at Shady Lane ParkCloseup view of sprayground water featureView of a sprayground water feature at Shady Lane Park
View of the sprayground water feature at Shady Lane Park
View of the sprayground water feature at Shady Lane Park | Source
Closeup view of sprayground water feature
Closeup view of sprayground water feature | Source
View of a sprayground water feature at Shady Lane Park
View of a sprayground water feature at Shady Lane Park | Source

Sprayground in Shady Lane Park

Another feature of the park undoubtedly being well attended during our sizzling hot Houston summers is the sprayground water feature. Kids galore will be cooling off at that time of year in this area of the park. Picnic tables under a shade structure provide seating for the watchful eyes of parents keeping an eye on their youngsters.

Spray Park hours are from dawn to dusk. Some of the rules posted include the following:

  • Non-Service animals prohibited.
  • Changing diapers within 6 feet of water feature prohibited.
  • Use of water feature when ill with contagious diseases prohibited.
  • Do not drink water from the water feature.
  • The use of water features when ill with diarrhea is prohibited.
  • Footwear recommended—along with many other common-sense rules posted at all water features in Houston parks.

Wetland area
Wetland area | Source

Purpose of Flood Retention

The City of Houston acquired the 12.4 acres of this park back in 1958. Following the severe flooding that took place in 1989 from Tropical Storm Allison, additional property was purchased by the Harris County Flood Control District. This property along Halls Bayou helps for flood retention, and 68 acres of it abuts Shady Lane Park.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Concrete “waterway.”Concrete “waterway.”Concrete “waterway.”
Concrete “waterway.”
Concrete “waterway.” | Source
Concrete “waterway.”
Concrete “waterway.” | Source
Concrete “waterway.”
Concrete “waterway.” | Source

Bayou Theme in Shady Lane Park

In 2013 a major renovation was undertaken, and what has become a sizeable bayou-themed playground as well as education center was developed. This bayou-themed playground is what truly makes this park distinctive from other Houston metro parks.

Instead of a regular path, people can walk along a concrete simulated “waterway” that leads to different areas of the park. The blue painted “waterway” simulates a bayou and signs along the way tell of the importance of what bayous do for our environment.

Signs posted along the “waterway” path
Signs posted along the “waterway” path | Source

Importance of Bayou Systems

Some of the signs show the following information:

“Wildlife of all kinds LOVE our bayous and wetlands. Stream-side forests called riparian zones shelter mammals and birds, and help keep the bayou’s banks from wearing down (erosion.) Bayous and stormwater basins attract thirsty wildlife and provide a home to fish as well. Bayous add fresh water to salty Galveston Bay, home to natural sea-life nurseries called estuaries.”

Some images of fish and animals on this sign showed the following:

  • common rabbit
  • white-tailed deer
  • sunfish
  • largemouth bass
  • and the American alligator.

Shady Lane Park portion of a sign
Shady Lane Park portion of a sign | Source

Basins and Birds

“Basins are built for flood damage reduction, but birds love them too! Houston sits along a major migration path – the Central Flyway. Many colorful birds stop here on their long journey from South and Central America to Canada, and back again. Look for feathered travelers in the spring, resting after their flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Other birds such as the great blue heron, live here all year.”

Some of the bird images on this sign included the following:

  • Great Egret
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Osprey
  • Roseate Spoonbill
  • Black-bellied Whistling-Duck
  • Spotted Sandpiper
  • Snowy Egret
  • Little Blue Heron

A portion of a sign in Shady Lane Park
A portion of a sign in Shady Lane Park | Source

Controlling Storm and Flood Waters

The information below was taken from posted signs in the park.

“Bretshire Stormwater Detention Basin straddles Halls Bayou. It fills like a big lake during heavy rain and safely releases stormwater back to Halls Bayou as water levels fall. Wetland ponds inside the basin filter stormwater from surrounding neighborhoods, sending cleaner water into Halls Bayou!”

“Bayous are part of the water cycle too! Rain falls from the sky onto areas of land called watersheds, which drain into their bayou or creek. You’re standing in the Halls Bayou Watershed right now! Halls Bayou flows into Greens Bayou, which in turn flows into the Houston Ship Channel, and on into Galveston Bay.”

“Storm drains built under the street are another way stormwater moves from our neighborhoods into our web of bayous. since it all flows into the bayous and eventually into Galveston Bay, be careful not to dump grass clippings, lawn chemicals, or motor oil into the storm drain system!”

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Such a cute playground in Shady Lane Park!View of playgroundView through hollow concrete tree log View through hollow concrete tree log View through hollow concrete tree log Playground equipment Playground equipment Playground equipment Playground equipment View of playgroundView of playgroundView of playground
Such a cute playground in Shady Lane Park!
Such a cute playground in Shady Lane Park! | Source
View of playground
View of playground | Source
View through hollow concrete tree log
View through hollow concrete tree log | Source
View through hollow concrete tree log
View through hollow concrete tree log | Source
View through hollow concrete tree log
View through hollow concrete tree log | Source
Playground equipment
Playground equipment | Source
Playground equipment
Playground equipment | Source
Playground equipment
Playground equipment | Source
Playground equipment
Playground equipment | Source
View of playground
View of playground | Source
View of playground
View of playground | Source
View of playground
View of playground | Source

Playground Areas in Shady Lane Park

There are marvelous areas for older kids as well as adults to play. Still, the children’s playground built with the bayou-inspired theme is what particularly drew my interest. Slides and climbing equipment suddenly took on an entirely different look with concrete fashioned hollow logs and animals seeming to be peeking out at one. The artistry in creating this playground is fantastic!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Outdoor classroom boatLogs for seating near the outdoor classroom
Outdoor classroom boat
Outdoor classroom boat | Source
Logs for seating near the outdoor classroom
Logs for seating near the outdoor classroom | Source

Outdoor Classroom

There is an area in Shady Lane Park that serves as an outdoor classroom. A concrete fashioned flat bottomed boat is in the setting of a wetland garden. Felled logs serve as seats.

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Covered Basketball Court Outdoor Fitness Center
Covered Basketball Court
Covered Basketball Court | Source
Outdoor Fitness Center
Outdoor Fitness Center | Source

Other Amenities

There are hiking and biking trails as well as soccer fields in Shady Lane Park. Usually, my husband and I like to do some hiking in parks—especially in newly found ones for us—but it was one of those icy days in Houston. We even retreated to our car to eat our picnic lunch if that tells you something!

At least we got an overview of what this park has to offer visitors. It is a beauty that informs people as well as entertaining them.

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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Peggy Woods

    Comments

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      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Liz,

        We were amazed at the creativity of this park. Many of our parks that also have community centers offer such amenities.

      • Eurofile profile image

        Liz Westwood 

        7 weeks ago from UK

        I am amazed at the variety of activities available here.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        Many of our parks in the Houston metro area also serve as reservoirs when we get flooding rains. This Shady Lane Park is educational for people to learn just how important our bayous are and how wildlife also use them. Whoever created the playground area used such artistry!

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Ruby,

        These bayous do take a lot of excess water. Our streets are designed to also take on water but then drain quickly. A person just has to wait it out when downpours cause the roads to flood.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi FlourishAnyway,

        Yes, this park is educational as well as fun for people of all ages.

      • bdegiulio profile image

        Bill De Giulio 

        7 weeks ago from Massachusetts

        Another wonderful park in Houston. I like how they combined flood control with an urban park and it draws wildlife which is great. I like the alligator in the playground.

      • always exploring profile image

        Ruby Jean Richert 

        7 weeks ago from Southern Illinois

        I remember the flooding problems when I was there working as a traveling nurse. The ditches would fill quickly, then the roads would flood, but that was in the 70s. Shady Lane Park looks like a nice place to take the family.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 

        7 weeks ago from USA

        I love the bayous and their natural beauty. I’m glad this park promotes their value. Seems like it offers a little bit of something for everyone.

      • Peggy W profile imageAUTHOR

        Peggy Woods 

        7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas

        Hi Bill,

        Our city and the surrounding areas are full of bayous! That is why we see so many seabirds this far inland. Their function for drainage purposes is vital to our area.

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 

        7 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

        I don't think bayous when I think of Houston. Very cool park!

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