Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center

Sheldon Lake State Park & Environmental Learning Center Houston's neighborhood State Park & Environmental Learning Center...a hidden gem! This state park is FREE to enjoy! No entrance fees required.
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Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center is comprised of two units, Sheldon Lake (access point located at the boat ramp off Pineland Rd.) and the State Park and Environmental Learning Center (main entrance at 14140 Garrett Rd.) The primary activities at the lake unit are fishing and wildlife observation. Sheldon Lake is open every day to public fishing. Boats must not exceed headway speed while operating on the lake; they may be launched at the south boat ramp on Pineland Road. Bank fishing is permitted year-round. Activities at the State Park and Environmental Learning Center include group programming, birding, wildlife/nature study, hiking, and fishing for children. The park (open daily) includes several nature trails which pass through 28 naturalized ponds, prairie, and wetland habitats. These offer opportunities to view alligators and other wildlife. (Binoculars are recommended for best viewing.) Free catch-and-release family fishing is permitted for children accompanied by adults, in the two fishing ponds. Alternative energy technologies and green building techniques (photovoltaic, solar hot water, wind turbine and ground coupled-geothermal) are demonstrated at the Pond Center. A wildscape demonstration garden shows techniques for using native plants and wildflowers to attract birds, butterflies and other wildlife to your backyard.

Operating as usual

Once again, it's time for Friday's Feature Creature!At a rate of 53 beats per second, the wings of the Ruby-throated Hum...
11/06/2020

Once again, it's time for Friday's Feature Creature!
At a rate of 53 beats per second, the wings of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird are built to deftly maneuver them between our prairie’s flowers. Their long beaks are perfectly adapted to reach the sweet nectar collecting in the base of their long tubular blossoms. A migratory species, they’re most commonly seen in Texas during the spring and fall. Millions pass through Texas each year on the way to their wintering grounds in Mexico and Costa Rica. Some make this long trip from as far away as Nova Scotia.
Thanks Stephanie Trice for the great photo!

10/30/2020
Watch your head! It’s Friday’s Featured Creature!

Watch your head! It’s Friday’s Featured Creature!
Walk along the wooded trails of Southeast Texas and you might spy the Golden Silk Orb-weaver! They’re commonly called Banana Spiders due to their large, long, yellow abdomen’s that kind of look like bananas. These arachnids like to build their meter-wide webs up in the trees, earning them another moniker: The Giant Wood Spider. Many an unwary hiker or hunter has been caught in their web. But don’t worry, these spider’s don’t eat humans. They much prefer dragonflies, grasshoppers, mosquitos, and they’ll even indulge in the occasional hummingbird!

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was in the Wildscape Garden investigating reports about strange noises coming from the Swam...
10/25/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was in the Wildscape Garden investigating reports about strange noises coming from the Swamp Shack. He opened up something he shouldn't have, and a swarm of Grim Grinning Gator Ghosts came pouring out of the shack and into the garden! He needs your help hoovering them up before they escape the park. Can you find all the gator ghosts?

Halloween crafts 2020
10/24/2020

Halloween crafts 2020

Halloween crafts 2020

10/24/2020

Not sure what you'll be wearing this Halloween? Park Ambassador Ella can show you how to make some sweet masks of wildlife found in the park! Patterns are in the comments.

10/23/2020
Get ready! It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!

Get ready! It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!
Take a stroll along the banks of Sheldon Lake’s waterways and you might run into a Long-jawed Orbweaver. This family of spiders, also called stilt spiders or stretch spiders, are named for their extra long chelicerae, or jaws. They build their wagon wheel webs near and above water, where they catch flying aquatic insects. As young nymphs change to adults and triumphantly exit the water, they fly up and right into the waiting webs! When these spider like to wait in the middle of their webs, but when disturbed, they rush into nearby vegetation. They disguise themselves by stretching their body out to look like a twig. When that isn’t possible, they can also move fairly well across the surface of the water.

10/17/2020

DId the Great Toilet Paper Apocalypse of 2020 leave you with a surplus of toilet paper rolls? Park Ambassador Ella can help you turn those rolls into some creepy crawly critters in time for Halloween! Craft pattern is in the comments.

10/16/2020
Look Out! It’s Friday’s Featured Creature!

Look Out! It’s Friday’s Featured Creature!

The prairie flowers hide more than pollen. The Northern Crab Spider waits patiently for the right moment to strike. They hold their long forelegs out in a crab-like posture, ready to corral and grab their victims. Like other members of their genus, this spider likes to blend into similarly colored flowers to better ambush their prey, earning them the moniker “flower spiders.”

Don't panic, but Dr. Sheldon's Laboratory has had a little security breach and he needs your help to track down some unr...
10/14/2020

Don't panic, but Dr. Sheldon's Laboratory has had a little security breach and he needs your help to track down some unruly experiments!

Sheldon, Park Investi-gator, was patrolling the Heron Plaza when he found this weird web hanging in the Gator Pond. Shel...
10/11/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-gator, was patrolling the Heron Plaza when he found this weird web hanging in the Gator Pond. Sheldon has questions. Who made this web? What is the zigzag for? Can anyone provide him some leads?

10/10/2020

Have some Fall Fun with Park Ambassador Ella and her Pine Cone Owls! Owl pattern is in the comments.

10/09/2020
Watch out, it's Friday's Featured Creature!

Watch out, it's Friday's Featured Creature!
Swift, agile, and a ferocious predator, the Eastern Pondhawk lives up to its namesake and even surpasses it. Dragonflies hunt with a success rate of 95%, meaning that they catch their intended meal 95% of the time. Compare that to the Cooper’s Hawk and their measly 20% success rate! The dragonfly’s stout mandibles and multi-segmented jaws are perfect for chewing up its catches. These voracious predators are always on the hunt, ready to make a meal out of any smaller insect like bees, flies, and even other dragonflies. The Pondhawk is a common species in the park and is often seen weaving around the aquatic foliage. Males are a powdery blue while females and juveniles are bright green with dark stripes on their abdomen.

10/03/2020

Since we won't be having Halloween in the Park, we're going to bring Halloween to you! Every Saturday befor Halloween, Park Ambassador Ella will be showing you how to make a different Halloween craft. This week: Flapping Bats! Learn with Ella about the different bats in Texas. Check the comments for the pattern.

10/02/2020
Look out, It's Friday's Featured Creature!

Look out, It's Friday's Featured Creature!
A patient, methodical insect, the Praying Mantis is often seen bending their forelimbs together as if in prayer. But this is no sign of piety. As soon as a meal wanders within range, those forelimbs lash out, and soon the claw-like structures running up and down the limb are holding the prey in place. With the food secure, the mantis can dine at their leisure. These solitary predators like to hide near flowers that can attract a whole buffet of insects prey. Flies, bees, crickets, moths, even other mantis’s are always on the menu. Their compound eyes help them see prey coming in all directions. They can even rotate their heads in a full circle to get a better look. In fact, the Praying Mantis is the only insect that can look over their shoulder.

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was observing International Talk Like a Pirate Day when he found these big X's marking the ...
09/27/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was observing International Talk Like a Pirate Day when he found these big X's marking the pond bank. But when he dug under them, he found no treasure. Does anyone have a lead to what he actually found?

Thanks for your help everyone! Working from your leads, Sheldon was able to deduce that the mysterious X’s are in fact the footprints of a White Ibis, a species wading bird. Wading birds, like the ibis, egrets, and herons, lack the waterproof feathers that waterfowl have. To access the areas of water where their food lives, they have adapted long legs that let them wade through the water without getting their feathers wet. Their feet have long toes that splay apart to give them better balance as they walk through the water.

Unfortunately, Sheldon Lake State Park will not be hosting our Halloween in the Park event this year. But we haven't for...
09/26/2020

Unfortunately, Sheldon Lake State Park will not be hosting our Halloween in the Park event this year. But we haven't forgotten Halloween! Stay posted to this page where we'll be posting social distancing Halloween activities all month long.

09/25/2020
It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!

It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!
The dense hairs protecting the Yellow Woolly Bear Caterpillar actually come in a variety of colors, ranging from bright yellow to light brown to almost white. When threatened, this caterpillar will roll itself into a tight ball with the hairs poking outward. Though these hairs are not urticating (stinging) hairs, they can still cause a painful reaction if stuck into the skin of potential predators. While most prevalent in late summer and early autumn, Yellow Woolly Bears are active throughout the year and feed upon a variety of foliage. Like all woolly bears, their adult form is a kind of tiger moth. In this case, they become the Virginia Tiger Moth.

09/18/2020
It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!

It’s time for Friday’s Featured Creature!
The American Alligator has stalked the world’s wetlands and waterways for over 150 million years. They use their powerful tails, which make up half their body length, to propel themselves through the water. Depending on environmental conditions, they can spend between one and 24 hours under the water before coming up for air, though they usually just stay submerged for 30-minute spurts. Gators are opportunistic eaters, feeding mainly on fish, turtles, snakes, small mammals, carrion, and whatever else they can catch. After nearly being hunted to extinction by the mid-20th century, populations have rebounded, with over 5 million gators spread over the South-eastern United States and around 500,000 individuals in Texas alone.

Looking for Volunteer opportunities?
09/13/2020

Looking for Volunteer opportunities?

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was pruning branches in the Wildscape Garden and kept finding these odd orange objects stuc...
09/13/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was pruning branches in the Wildscape Garden and kept finding these odd orange objects stuck to the bottom of the leaves. Can someone give him a clue to help him understand what he’s found?

Thanks for your help everyone! Sheldon was able to deduce that he’d found the egg cluster of an assassin bug. These predatory insects can be found lurking in foliage all over the park. They feed on a wide variety of bugs, including bees, flies, and caterpillars, which they capture with their sharp, beak-like mouth parts. These mouth parts can also be used to deliver a painful bite to humans, so avoid handling any that you might find in your garden.

The park is open to the public as of Saturday, September 12th. We hope to see you here!
09/12/2020

The park is open to the public as of Saturday, September 12th. We hope to see you here!

Look out, it’s Friday’s Featured Creature!Walk along the Pond Loop Trail and you’ll hear the baritone croaking of the Am...
09/11/2020

Look out, it’s Friday’s Featured Creature!
Walk along the Pond Loop Trail and you’ll hear the baritone croaking of the American Bullfrog. Bullfrogs are the largest frog found in North America, growing up to 8 inches long. These ambush predators lie in wait in the pond shallows, waiting to grab and inhale any unsuspecting morsels that get too close. And they’re not too picky! These amphibians eat all kinds of small animals, including insects, small rodents, snakes, fish, and whatever else they can catch and swallow. Males are very territorial, defending their territories with calls, threat displays, and when push comes to shove, wresting. Rivals grapple with each other until the victor pushes the other out of the disputed territory.
Thanks Tom and Florence for the great photos!

There's no escape, it's Friday's Featured Creature!This ribbon snake got more than they bargained for when thy ventured ...
09/04/2020

There's no escape, it's Friday's Featured Creature!

This ribbon snake got more than they bargained for when thy ventured into the web of the Black and Yellow Garden Spider! This arachnid usually dines on flying insects, but they're known to indulge in the occasional vertebrate when the opportunity presents itself. The female body can measure up to an inch long, not including the legs, making them one of the largest spiders found in the park. The male of the species is much smaller and can fit itself on the female's abdomen. These orbweavers are known for the distinct zig-zag shape that they weave into the center of their webs. Current theories hold that the zig-zag might attract prey or help larger animals avoid walking into the web.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has learned that an individual at Sheldon Lake State Park is presumptively posit...
09/02/2020

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has learned that an individual at Sheldon Lake State Park is presumptively positive for COVID-19. At this time, out of an abundance of caution, the park will close and will reopen for day use reservations on 09/15/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was busy sweeping his office floor when suddenly, a big spider came crawling out of his dus...
08/30/2020

Sheldon, Park Investi-Gator, was busy sweeping his office floor when suddenly, a big spider came crawling out of his dustpan! Sheldon is confused. He thought spiders only lived in webs. Can someone help him understand what’s going on?

Thanks for your help everyone! With the leads you provided, Sheldon has deduced that this individual is a Rabid Wolf Spider. Wolf spiders, as it turns out, do not spin webs to catch prey, but instead chase it down with their fast legs and excellent eyesight. In fact, of the majority of the 45,000 extant spider species are not web weavers. Instead, they use a variety of other strategies to catch food, such as trapdoors, ambush, venom spitting, and stalking their prey.

It's time for Friday's Featured Creature!The Green Anole operates on T-Rex Movie rules: they only hunt prey that's movin...
08/28/2020

It's time for Friday's Featured Creature!

The Green Anole operates on T-Rex Movie rules: they only hunt prey that's moving. For the anole, that includes spiders, flies, crickets, moths, ants, termites, and worms. These little lizards possess the ability to change their color, switching between green and brown. Contrary to popular belief, the anoles don't change to camouflage themselves. Rather, they change to communicate changes in mood, hormonal state, and body temperature.

Sheldon Lake State Park will resume normal operating hours on Saturday, August  29th. We look forward to seeing you here...
08/28/2020

Sheldon Lake State Park will resume normal operating hours on Saturday, August 29th. We look forward to seeing you here!

Sheldon Lake SP will be closed starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug 26 and is set to reopen to the public Monday, Aug 31, w...
08/25/2020

Sheldon Lake SP will be closed starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug 26 and is set to reopen to the public Monday, Aug 31, weather permitted.
Yall be safe out there!

Address

14140 Garrett Rd
Houston, TX
77044

Opening Hours

Monday 08:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 08:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 08:00 - 17:00
Thursday 08:00 - 17:00
Friday 08:00 - 17:00
Saturday 08:00 - 17:00
Sunday 08:00 - 17:00

Telephone

(281) 456-2800

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Comments

We found all 10 monsters! But by the time we got back we had no one to tell😕. The kids had a lot of fun figuring out the clues and running around. Thank you!!
What is the name of these beautiful flowers? We saw them on our walk this morning.
When are the lotus blossoms in bloom in your park?
Didn't see any alligators this time but got some awesome pics of flowers and dragonflies! 😊
What a wonderful place to hike so close to the city!😊
Learning is FUNdamental
Fun at Sheldon Lake with Garden Villa
So much fun with my boys!
Sheldon Lake State Park 11-3-18
Sheldon Lake State Park 11-3-18