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Beaumont - Texas

Beaumont, Texas - Page 2 of 2

Beaumont Museums

Art Museum of South Texas
This regional museum hosts traveling exhibitions from across the nation and other countries throughout the year. The museum also has a permanent collection, a portion of which, including an impressive group of sculptures, is always on display. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Friday, to 8 p.m. on Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is located at 500 Main Street, downtown, (409) 832-3432. Free admission.

Babe Didrickson Zaharias Museum

Located at 1750 I-10, at exit 854, this museum documents the feats of the famous athlete, a Beaumont native. Displays include the many awards won by Zaharias, whose first name was Mildred, her records, and a history of her life and times. Included is a regional Visitor Center, with tourist information and books about the region. The museum is open daily, except Christmas Day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fee.

Edison Plaza Museum

This historic electrical substation, built in 1929, has been restored and converted into a museum honoring the life of Thomas Alva Edison, and other inventors of the electrical age. The exhibit halls contain artifacts of the early days of electricity, as well as communicating the accomplishments of the electrical industry. You'll find the museum at 350 Pine Street, downtown. It's open Tuesday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Free admission.

Fire Museum of Texas

Fire engine buffs will have to visit this early 20th century fire hall, to see the collection of historic firefighting equipment including seven major units representing firefighting from 1779 to the present day. It's at 400 Walnut Street, downtown. Museum hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Dishman Art Gallery

Located on the Lamar University Campus, at Martin Luther King Parkway and Lavaca Street, this striking building is a showplace for an outstanding permanent art collection and special showings. For information on current exhibitions, call (409) 880-8141. Hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Friday. A tour of the galleries takes from 30 minutes to an hour.

Old Houses on Display

The John Jay French Museum, at 2975 French Road is a Greek Revival style home, built in 1845. The fully restored home shows the life and times of the earliest Texas settlers, through the experiences of the French family. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. The McFaddin-Ward House, at 1906 Calder, at 3rd, offers another glimpse into the lifestyle of an early, wealthy Southeast Texas family. This home is in the Beaux Arts Colonial style, and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is an admission fee and reservations are recommended, call (409) 832-2134.

Spindletop/Gladys City Boomtown

Located on the Lamar University campus, this site includes a reconstruction of an oil boomtown that sprung up following the blowing of Spindletop in 1901. Included is a 58-foot granite monument to the Lucas Gusher. Museum hours are 1 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.

Texas Energy Museum

The petroleum industry is hardly out of sight when you visit the Gulf Coast of Texas, and this museum is not only a peon to the oil industry but is also a hands-on science center with multimedia displays, and exhibits on geology and the natural history of oil and the energy industry in general. Museum hours ate Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Clifton Steamboat Museum

At 7777 Fannett Road (Highway 12), this large two-story complex offers a tribute to military and civilian heroes, including heroes from U.S. military history. There is an admission fee, and the museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Melody Maids Museum

This is by far the most esoteric museum in Texas, exhibiting memorabilia of the semi-famous vocal group that gave performances around the world for 30 years. Admission is free, and the museum is open during theater performances, and by appointment. For information, call (409) 898-7417.

Big Thicket National Preserve

Spread over a huge, jagged J-shaped area north of Beaumont, Big Thicket consists of nine separate land units and four water corridors, covering 86,000 acres. It is here that the varied ecosystems of the region come together. The preserve has been designated an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. The information center for the preserve is located in the administrative offices, at 3785 Milam Street, in Beaumont. The information station is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For advance information, call (409) 246-2337, or write Superintendent, Big Thicket National Preserve, 3785 Milam, Beaumont TX 77701.

Nine hiking trails lead through the area. The trails range in length from one-quarter to 18 miles. Trail guides are available at the Kirby and Sundew nature trails, with trail maps at other trailheads. The Kirby Trail is located near the Information Station. The Sundew and Pitcher Plant nature trails are accessible to wheelchairs. All terrain bicycles and horses are permitted only on the Big Sandy Trail. Backcountry camping is permitted in some of the units, although no developed campgrounds are available. Permits for overnight hikes may be obtained at the Information Station. A guided pontoon boat tour is available, with a fee charged for each person taking the tour. There is no other entrance fee in the preserve.

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Beaumont Camping

Tyrell Park Campground
c/o City Parks Dept., Box 3827, Beaumont TX 77704
(409) 838-3648
The city operates an RV park and campground on Tyrell Park Road, beside the large park. Campground facilities include back-in sites with electricity and water, and a dump station. There is a fee charged, with a limit of seven days. Also found in the park are a playground, riding stable, golf course, and a garden center with botanical garden.

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