city is blessed with 19 museums, and has a rich cultural
life, aided by the presence of Lamar University. Unlike
much of the Texas coastal plain, the Beaumont area is
blessed with varied topography and ecosystems. In this
region, the eastern hardwood forests, coastal wetlands,
Texas prairie, and the southwestern desert all converge.
Big Thicket National Preserve, immediately north of town,
exhibits all of these characteristics.
is where Texas' oil history began on January 10, 1901,
when the Lucas Gusher blew in at the Spindletop salt
dome, a few miles south of town. All of the big oil
companies set up shop in Beaumont, and the state's
petroleum industry was born. There are several monuments
and markers related to the development of the oil
business in the area. The port here is one of the busiest
deepwater ports in the nation, with the Neches River ship
channel providing a means for large ships to navigate the
30-mile distance from gulf waters. The Port of Beaumont,
at 1255 Main Street, is open from 8 a.m. to noon, and 1
to 5 p.m.
Arthur, an industrial city is a half-hour drive south of
Beaumont. This is a major petrochemical center, with
several large plants owned by gasoline and chemical
to See & Do
Beaumont's City Hall is the site of the Convention and
Visitors Bureau, the place to pick up information on
local attractions. The building is located at 801 Main
Street, and you'll find the visitor office in Suite 100.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call
(409) 833-3638, extension 1620. You'll also find general
information about the area in the Babe Zaharias Museum,
at 1750 Interstate 10, Exit 854 (see below).
a city which owes its existence to being in the state's
first oil patch, Beaumont has several parks which offer a
choice of recreational activities and places to picnic
and stroll. At 801 Main Street, behind City Hall, Riverfront Park has picnic facilities, restrooms,
and a concession stand. Magnolia Park, at 2855
Magnolia, offers families a swimming pool, tennis courts,
a wading pool, volleyball, and several picnic units and a
barbecue area. Tyrrell Park (5305 Tyrrell Park
Rd.) features a creative play area, basketball, picnic
areas, a walking and jogging trail, plus RV hookups and a
The Garden Center is ten acres of gardens, at Fannett
and Tyrell Park Road. There's a pond with ducks and
geese, and winding trails to explore either by
yourself or on a guided tour. Garden hours are 7:30 a.m.
to dusk, daily, call (409) 842-3135
become fascinated with the restorative and purifying
powers of marshlands, and Beaumont is one of the few
American cities to construct a wetland as part of their
water purifying system. Arcata, California is another.
Beaumont's Cattail Marsh is located on Babe
Zaharias Drive, at the entrance to Tyrrell Park. A
one-hour tour of the wetland will lead you to the eight
treatment cells with eight miles of levees on 900 acres.
Many water plants have been planted in the marsh,
including bulrushes, cattails, pickerelweed, arrowhead,
yellow canna, blue flag iris, and smartweed. The water
and plants attract a wide variety of wildlife, including
many birds. From October through March, the marsh is open
to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 6 a.m. to
9.p.m. the rest of the year.
Town is the pioneer settlement area, located along
Laurel and 2nd streets (to 11th Street). Now a place to
go shopping for antiques, art, gifts, jewelry, and to eat
in small cafes, this is a well-preserved area with many
original homes turned into shops and restaurants.
Island is the largest gator breeding farm in Texas,
located on Highway 365 at I-10. The farm offers guided
tours, including a visit with Big Al, the largest living
alligator in captivity. It's open March through October,
with appointments required, call (409) 794-1995.
has two restored theaters, the Jefferson Theatre at 345
Fannin, and the Julie Rogers Theatre for the Performing
Arts, at 765 Pearl. The Jefferson is a former vaudeville
house now used for a variety of shows. The Julie Rogers
is the former City Hall and Auditorium, beautifully
refurbished and holding an audience of 1,700. It serves
as a home for the Symphony of South Texas, the Civic
Ballet and Beaumont Ballet Theater, as well as hosting
other cultural activities.