TX: Outdoor Fools Day Offers Food, Fun and Outdoor Activities
Life’s better outside, especially during springtime in Texas.
And nowhere will it be better on April 9 than at Outdoor Fools Day
at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC).
The annual event will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and all
activities are free with regular paid admission ($5.50 adults,
$4.50 seniors, $3.50 children ages 4 to 12) to the center.
A short video of highlights from a prior year gives a taste of
what Outdoor Fools Day is like; it can be found here.
The purpose of the event is to showcase outdoor recreation
opportunities in East Texas while teaching some of the skills that
will help you enjoy them, such as camping, fishing, dutch oven
cooking, birding and more.
The Blackland Prairie Raptor Center will display various birds
of prey while explaining their place in the ecosystem and why it is
important to protect them. You can get an up-close look at the
birds during a 12 noon presentation in the Hart-Morris Conservation
center, and they will also be displayed around the grounds at other
Returning for another year will be the popular Wildlife on the
Move “The Unhuggables” show, which features a variety of animals
and lots of information about them. Presenter Eric Brittingham
delivers a rapid-fire presentation about the animals’ habitats and
conservation and debunks myths such as “snakes are slimy.” You’ll
be able to prove that to yourself by touching a 12-foot python
following a 1:00 p.m. presentation in the Hart-Morris Conservation
Center. Some of the creatures will also be on display at other
times on the grounds near the Conservation Center.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Coastal Fisheries Division
will present a salt-water touch tank that is always good for smiles
and squeals as kids touch creatures that are harmless but don’t
The Lone Star Bowhunters Association and the Dogwood Chapter of
the Lone Star Dutch Oven Society are perennial favorites at Outdoor
Fools Day. Young and old alike enjoy flinging arrows at life-size
replicas of deer, hogs and turkeys almost as much as they like
snacking on tasty goodies cooked over coals and served up warm.
Tracking dogs from Texas Trackers will do their thing along the
Wetlands Trail, demonstrating how these amazing dogs with their
sensitive noses can follow the trail of a wounded animal. They also
love to be petted. (Please leave your own dog at home. Pets are not
allowed at TFFC.)
One of the most popular activities is rocket-building and
launching, presented by Sky Ranch. In just a few minutes the Sky
Ranch volunteers can help you build a paper-and-duct tape rocket
and launch it using compressed air.
Other exhibits will include a state park area that will help you
learn how to set up a camp. There will be fly-fishing and kayaking
instruction and information on hunter education. TFFC is one of the
best places in the state to take your hunter education course, and
you can visit with the instructors during Outdoor Fools Day.
Shopping for a variety of outdoor products will be offered by
Cabela’s, and the TFFC gift shop is well-stocked with snacks and
fishing-related clothing and gift items.
Don’t forget to bring an ice chest so you can take home some
rainbow trout. Fishing is always free at TFFC, you never need a
license, and bait and tackle are always furnished. You are welcome
to bring your own fishing gear, but only single hooks with the barb
mashed down are allowed.
Currently each person can harvest and keep up to five trout for
free. Just be sure to check in at the Anglers Pavilion for
orientation before fishing and report your catch there before
Outdoor Fools Day is made possible by the generosity of our
sponsors: Holiday Inn Express Hotel and Suites-Athens; First State
Bank; Schneider Electric; Dr. Mark Roberts, DDS; McDonald’s-Lilly
Enterprises; Red Hat Rentals; FutureMatrix, Inc., Aaron’s Sales and
Lease; Best Western Royal Mountain Inn-Athens; Cabela’s; East Texas
Medical Center; Friends of TFFC; Wulf Outdoor Sports and Virtual
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is at 5550 F.M. 2495,
Athens, Texas, which is about 75 miles southeast of Dallas. For
information or directions, call (903) 676-2277 or visit