Big Thicket National Preserve

Overview

The Big Thicket National Preserve consists of nine land units and six water corridors encompassing more than 97,000 acres. Big Thicket was the first Preserve in the National Park System established October 11, 1974, and protects an area of rich biological diversity. A convergence of ecosystems occurred here during the last Ice Age. It brought together, in one geographical location, the eastern hardwood forests, the Gulf coastal plains, and the midwest prairies. December 15, 1981, the Preserve was designated an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Program. July 26, 2001, the American Bird Conservancy recognized the Preserve as a Globally Important Bird Area joining thousands of others around the world. The Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center is open daily 9:00AM to 5:00PM, closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day. The visitor center provides many opportunities to discover the rich diversity of resources found in the Preserve. The visitor center eatures the interactive Discovery Station, which interprets many different aspects of fire ecology and fire-fighting. Visitors can also look through a microscope at a feather or insect wing, see how a river ecosystem functions, see models of venous snakes, and learn more about the diversity of the Big Thicket. Two films are also available to learn more about the resource. Visitors can enjoy bird watching, hiking, biking, and other recreational activities.

Map

Seasonality / Weather

Rain, heat, and humidity are typical. An average rainfall of 55 inches is well distributed throughout the year. Summers are hot and humid with daytime temperatures between 85 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Moderate temperatures in the mid-50s are normal for winter. Spring and fall are the most pleasant seasons for outdoor activity.

Directions

Driving: 

Enter Beaumont, Texas, via Interstate 10 and then take U.S. Highway 69-287 north from Beaumont. Eight miles north of Kountze, Texas, take FM 420 east and follow the signs to the visitor center.

Flying: 

The Southeast Texas Regional Airport, near Beaumont, Texas, has commercial airline service. Houston, Texas, about 100 miles from the preserve, has two major airports served by a number of major airlines.

Public Transport: 

Amtrak and commercial bus transportation are available in Beaumont, Texas.