11 Reasons To Visit Buffalo Bayou Park in Houston, Tx

Buffalo Bayou Park is 160 acres piece of land that stretches from Shepherd Drive to Sabine Street. The park was reserved in the early 1900’s. During the  20th century, Houston city was blessed with the land around the bayou to create a city park. Modern changes increased which led to the grounds being subdivided into other smaller parks, Interstate 45, roadways and various public spaces.

With time it became difficult for pedestrians to enter the park because of the existence of Allen Parkway and Memorial Drive to the south and north of the park. In the 1950s, continuous flooding in the park caused the army corps of engineers to dispose off the vegetation at the banks.

They dug deeper into the bayou to allow flood waters to pass through without any difficulties. Even after all the efforts were implemented to improve the drainage system it failed because the lack of trees caused the brush to grow and impede the flow of water.

In 2011, Houston city partnered with Buffalo Bayou Park and signed an agreement to improve the site. The project involved $50 million for everything to be done. Some finances came from private donations, $30 million from the kinder foundation, together with some public funding.

The agreement to renovate Buffalo Bayou Park, was inclusive of introduction of Eleanor Tinsley Park. Later, in October 2015 when the project was complete, the park was officially opened.

Address: 1800 Allen Pkwy &, Memorial Dr, Houston, TX 77019, United States


Hours: opens from 6 am -11 pm

Area: 160 acres.

1. Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark

Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Credit: flickr.com

The skate park was named after attorney Joe Jamal from Houston. In 2008 it took $2.7 million to complete and design the 30,000 square park. Later in 2016, the park was renovated with more modern features. Since then, several events and competitions have been hosted in this park.

2. Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion

The Barbara fish Daniel nature play area and picnic pavilion is situated near the skatepark. This park has beautiful features like a sandpit, a huge boulder rock scramble, a stream and waterfall, slides, stones and climbing logs. Also, they have a picnic pavilion and a tree house with a climbing net which they rent for events such as house parties and birthday parties.

3. Johnny Steele Dog Park

Johnny Steele Park, named after architect Johnny Steel, was opened in January 2015. This 2 acres park has separate play areas for small and large dogs. Also, there is a dog washing area and a pond where dogs can swim freely and comfortably. The park is developed to manage the times of flooding from storms due to its proximity to Bayou park.

4. Eleanor Tinsley Park

Image Credit: houstonchronicles.com

Eleanor Tinsley Park was known by Houstonians through the freedom over Texas concert or free press summer festival. The park is designed to offer a lot and good services even when there is no festival taking place. Visitors can meet up for a volleyball game at the beach since it is a flat open field that makes a perfect spot for a free-bee game.

Eleanor Tinsley Park has a spectacular view of the downtown skyline for shutterbugs to take pictures. Also, there is a beautiful terrain garden area on the west of the park full of buds and other vegetation which contributes to better photographs.

5. Tour The Magnificent Underground Cistern

Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Credit: pixabay.com

This park contributes to Houston’s history. This cistern is a drinking water reservoir that has existed since the era of 1920s. The cistern was in service for decades but in 2007 it was commissioned out after the engineers discovered an irreparable leak.

Today, the vestige of history is open for public outings and often hosts temporary art installations. Visitors are allowed to enter the cistern every Wednesday and Friday afternoon for $5. You must book in advance for the necessary arrangements. There are free tours on Thursday.

6. Viewing The Bat Colony from Waugh Bridge

Image Credit: flickr.com

Underneath the Waugh Drive bridge, there is a unique scent. A large colony of 250000 Mexican free–tailed bats has made a habitat beneath the bridge. According to bats professionals, bats coming from their dwelling underneath the bridge is not predictable. However, you might be lucky to see them come out just before sunset or after nightfall. During rainy or cold nights, the bats may not come out at all.

Every month, on the first and third Friday nights, visitors come to the park to see bats emerging from their home.the park has appointed a bat squad volunteers to help guide the visitors to the viewing venue and respond to any questions they might have. it is advisable to arrive at the venue 30 minutes before time to get better view of the bats emerging.

7. Houston Police Officer Memorial

Image Credit: flickr.com

The Memorial is a pyramid-shaped structure that commemorates the HPD officers who paid the greatest sacrifice in the line of duty. The memorial park is usually safeguarded during the day and night and its structure symbolizes a kingly grave. Every year a procession and wreath-laying ceremony takes place.

8. Lost Lake

Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Credit: pexel.com

Buffalo bayou park’s lost lake is a secret treasure located just off of the bayou. In the 1970s the lake used to be a pond, which drained away when the natural dam collapsed. The pond was thereafter reformed to its former praise and currently, it sits near a visitor’s camp with public washrooms.

The Dunlavy is a private event space that overlooks the lake. There is a small restaurant at the Dunlavy that provides visitors with breakfast and lunch services from 7 am until 2 pm every day.

9. Walking And Jogging

Image Credit: flickr.com

In Buffalo Bayou Park there are kinder footpaths that run alongside the main paths. The pathways are reserved for walking and running for those who want to evade having to dodge bikers and roller bladders. They race closer to the main path offering those on foot a more profound contact with the surrounding vegetation. The park also has bigger fields and other open spaces alongside the shaded paths. The place is quiet and peaceful to lay out a blanket and relax.

10. Biking

Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Credit: 365dayinhouston.com

The park is usually full of cyclists because the park has bike trails and offers short-term bike rentals in and around the park. The places you can rent a bike from include, Sabine Plaza, Jackson Street at Memorial, Spots Park, And City Hall. The bike is usually rented out at a pay of $3 per 30 minutes or you can choose a monthly membership.

11. Accommodation

Buffalo Bayou Park
Image Credit: flickr.com

There are different place from which you can grab a meal in the park like in the private event Dunlavy which offers breakfast and lunch. Also, there are hotels near the park that offers accommodation during the night example holiday inn Houston downtown an IHG Hotel.


Buffalo Bayou park is an interesting park to visit. There are a lot of things to do that are fun and enjoyable to take part in. It is also family and dog friendly because of the presence of Johnny Steele Dog Park for dogs and Barbara Fish Daniel Nature Play Area and Picnic Pavilion for picnics and holding parties with friends and family.

Leave a Comment