Special to the E-T

Glen Rose - Have you always wanted to take your family camping, but really weren’t sure how to go about it? If so, Dinosaur Valley State Park will be hosting a two-day program Sept. 12-13 designed for folks just like you.

During the overnight Texas Outdoor Family program, families will spend much of the weekend learning not only how to pitch a tent, cook outdoors, and learn about nature, but also how to use a global positioning system (GPS) to navigate trails and locate hidden caches.  The program also teaches participants about conservation ethics and introduces them to park rangers and what they do.

Dinosaur Valley State Park is home to some of the most well-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world. The park has an interpretive center and offers activities such as river swimming, hiking, and biking.  Along the miles of hiking and biking trails, you’ll have a chance to catch a glimpse of endangered birds such as the Black-Capped Vireo and Golden-Cheeked Warbler. 

The workshop costs $55 per family (up to six people), and includes individual car camping sites for each family, restrooms with hot showers, professional park ranger-led programs and instruction, overnight state park police officer public safety and security, a curriculum developed specifically for use and enjoyment of a state park, and state park Junior Ranger certification programs.

The entire approach adopts a ‘Leave No Trace’ philosophy so it’s environmentally friendly.

“There’s no experience or equipment necessary for these workshops,” said Chris Holmes, program coordinator who is organizing the new workshop series. “We recognize that many people in today’s increasingly urban culture don’t have the same skills or backgrounds as earlier generations of Texans. These weekend workshops offer a supportive environment where families can get started in safe and comfortable settings.

“Everybody is welcome at these workshops and the definition of a family comes in many forms, it may be you and your partner, grandchildren, single parents, friends from church, school, or neighborhood.”

For workshops in state parks, families are expected to bring their own food for the two-day workshops, and suggested shopping and packing lists for meals and personal items will be provided.

Visit the Texas Outdoor Family Web page for more information, including the complete schedule of weekend workshops.

Families can register by calling (512) 389-8903 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday or by e-mailing tofsp@tpwd.state.tx.us.

After registration, a confirmation packet with directions and details will be sent.