Jun 3, 2023

11 East Texas Family Outings

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by Katie Rapp

Summer is a great time to take advantage of all of the amazing outings we have available here in East Texas.  But if you are new to the area then you may not know what we have to offer. 


We put together a list of our 11 favorite East Texas family outings to help you get started!

Caldwell Zoo

This is hands down our favorite outing!  This zoo is located in Tyler, TX and is just the perfect size for families and young children. It is an amazing place full of memory-making opportunities. They also have baby cheetahs right now!


There is a petting zoo, bird feeding, giraffe feeding, and a playground. Plus during the summer it isn’t unusual to see the Kona truck.

The Discovery Science Place

If the heat is wearing you down and you need indoor playtime to beat cabin fever then head to downtown Tyler to The Discovery Science Place. This is great for all ages and has a ton of hands of activities to get all of that energy out. 


There are two sides and something for everyone! If you enjoy The Discovery Science Place there are memberships available and they reciprocate with the Perot Museum in Dallas. 

Wits End Ranch

This is a fun ranch full of activities and puppies (don’t worry, they won’t send one home with you!). They host field trips and large group activities. Take some friends and plan a trip!  Make sure you call in advance to check availability.

Faulkner Park Tyler

If you love winding bike trails and splash pads then you need to plan a day trip to Faulkner Park in Tyler. It is located in South Tyler near 49 but it is worth the drive! Pack your swimsuits, bikes, and lunch for a full day out.

Mineola Splash Park

The Mineola Splash Park has brightly colored water features to make the time there even more entertaining!  There is also a dry park next door. Make sure you take chairs and blankets because there is limited seating available. 

Cotton Belt Depot Train Museum

If you have some tiny (or not so tiny) train enthusiasts then you might want to check out the Cotton Belt Depot Train Museum this summer. They have model trains, historical train information, and fun facts.


There is usually an annual train show but it has been canceled for 2021.

Tyler Rose Garden

Tyler is known for its roses and the best place to see all of the varieties is the Tyler Rose Garden.  This is a free and beautiful place to explore and have a picnic. It is also a great place for photos.

Freshwater Fisheries Center

Find amazing education programs, hands-on activities, and a better understanding of our Texas lake ecosystems at the Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, TX. They also have a great aquarium!

Southwestern Dairy Museum

The Southwestern Dairy Museum was designed to look like an actual dairy farm complete with a silo. Take some time to learn about the history and importance of dairy farmers and you might find a sweet treat at the end!

Cherry Creek Park, Canton TX

For a fun and different play experience, this “castle park” in Canton is fuel for the imagination. Pack a lunch and make a day of it!

UT Tyler Cowan Center Children’s Theater

For another indoor activity on the hottest days of the summer, take in a children’s play at the UT Tyler Cowan Center. These are more suitable for young elementary children and older. 


Do you have a favorite outing that didn’t make the list?  Let us know in the comments! We definitely want to add it to our personal list. 

Looking for a community or someone to grab coffee with who is in a similar life season? We’d love to connect with you and get to know you better! Below you will find a few people that can’t wait to meet you, shoot us an email so we can make a plan!

Tyler OJ Campus

Teresa Ator: teresaa@gcc.org

Bethanie Tayler: bethaniet@gcc.org

Tyler UB Campus

Max Heller: maxh@gcc.org

Chrisleigh Heller: chrisleighh@gcc.org

Lindale Campus

Molly Pontius: mollyp@gcc.org

Debra Kirby: debra@gcc.org