Seining in Como Lake

Participants at the 2016 “Beach and Bay; Come Out to Play Day” are pictured seining in Como Lake at Galveston Island State Park. The annual event will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 15.

There’s an old saying about March, “In like a lamb; out like a lion and vice versa.” It all boils down to March weather being unpredictable at best with blustery winds most likely. That’s why the Friends of Galveston Island State Park set April 15, a month later this year, as “Beach and Bay; Come Out to Play Day.”

Even our hardy volunteers grumbled about the cold winds of the last few years. The park manager has waived the usual $5 per head day use fee for this one day, and he invites you all down to get spring off to a rousing start.

The day is pretty much geared to making it easy, especially for kids, to experience firsthand the creatures and the natural wonders of our unique beach to bay park and the ways we conserve this “Central Park” of Galveston Island, as well as to learn how to kayak and to cast a fishing line. Shuttle buses will ferry continuously across the park to all the many event sites so everyone can spend as much time as they want at any one place and then hop on the next bus to the next place. I’m sure they’ll want to spend a lot of time at the Nature Center where they’ll be able to touch sea creatures, to see “Buccee” the dolphin skeleton in its special see-through display case, and to spot the queen bee in our glass-sided upright beehive.

On the beach side, they’ll be able to experience how a mother turtle struggles through hazards to lay eggs high on the beach. Like a turtle, they’ll use the escape hatch to escape from a shrimper’s drag net, they’ll take a beach hike with savvy guides, and they’ll learn all about the birds that feast at the water’s edge. On the prairie, they’ll help to plant the grass seedlings we grow as part of the park’s ongoing prairie grass conservation effort. Last year, I especially enjoyed the intensity of two toddlers digging the hole, unpotting the grass seedlings, and planting them carefully in the ground. Of course their interest might have been promoted by their grandparents who operate a landscape nursery north of Houston.

In any case, there will be enough for everyone to do and perhaps plenty for the kids to be active enough to sleep well that night. So bring the family on down to Galveston Island and have a delightful day. Just remember to pack a basket because there are no food or drinks available at the park. The buses start shuttling at 10 a.m., and we roll up the welcome mat at 4 p.m., so come early and stay late.

Frank J. Bowser lives in Galveston and is a member of the Friends of Galveston Island State Park.

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