Things to Do in Del Rio

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things to do in Del Rio

Historic Val Verde County Courthouse

Del Rio, Texas is located in the Big Bend Region of Texas and is a border town on the Texas/Mexico line. Del Rio is a city in and the county seat of Val Verde County, Texas and is one of the places to visit in the Big Bend Region. It is one hundred fifty-two miles west of San Antonio. The area around Del Rio is mainly agriculture and ranches. Here cattle, goat, sheep, and lambs are produced both for their meat and wool. Hunting is also a popular sport and white tail deer are widely seen in the area. Hunters also come for quail, javelina, dove and wild turkey. Fishing and boating are also enjoyed at the nearby Amistad Reservoir.

The region is also home to over 400 archaeological sites and is considered on the nations richest in aboriginal cave paintings.

Del Rio is also home to the San Felipe Springs, a series of 10 springs that extends two miles along the San Felipe Creek and these form the fourth largest springs in Texas that flow about 90 million gallons of water daily. These springs were an important stop on the historic Chihuahua Road which connected the port of Indianola with Chihuahua City, Mexico. A groundwater divide near Brackettville separates this portion of the Edwards Aquifer from the central portion and the much larger springs in San Marcos and New Braunfels. Early explorers described seven deep, clear pools at San Felipe Springs, with many large fish, surrounded by hackberry trees, grapevines, and cattails. Gaspar Castano de Sosa may have been the first European to visit in 1590. By the late 17th century many other Spanish explorers and settlers became familiar with the Springs, since the the Kings Highway to San Antonio and El Paso passed right by. A mission was established in 1808, and in 1834 the first settlement of San Felipe del Rio began. The cavalry and stagecoaches made great use of the Springs, and water was hauled and sold in town until 1900 when a water system was installed. In 1882 two gristmills were using the water for power, and by 1901 there was also an electric light and ice plant. Irrigation canals and dams were built to water vineyards, orchards, and gardens.

San Felipe Springs still supply the city of Del Rio and Laughlin Air Force Base. The water is no longer intensively used for irrigation because the area downstream from the Springs is now mostly urban. Swimming holes at Horseshoe Park and Lions Park are still very popular cooling-off spots. For a discussion of whether the filling of Lake Admistad has increased flows at San Felipe Springs.

In January 2004 scientists announced the discovery of a new species of fish in San Felipe Creek, the first new fish discovered in Texas in over 30 years. The San Felipe gambusia was first noticed in 1997 by Gary Garrett, a research biologist for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. He asked biology professor Robert Edwards to help him identify it, and the two spent years reviewing existing collections before writing a scientific paper documenting the discovery. They gave it the scientific name of Gambusia clarkshubbi to honor renowned UT Austin fish expert Clark Hubbs. Garrett and Edwards said the fish had probably been in the Creek for many years, but by 1997 it had became easier to find because its numbers increased due to efforts by the city of Del Rio and the San Felipe Country Club to improve the Creek’s habitat.

The entrance to the San Felipe Springs orgination point is clearly marked however the area is CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC but pools of water created by the springs can be seen just up U.S. 90 in Del Rio near the local fast food restaurant.

When looking for things to do in Del Rio is  home to historic buildings, including the 1887 courthouse, along with the ancient acequia system of irrigation canals that are still in use.

Things to Do in Del Rio:

The Whitehead Memorial Museum:

The Museum is located in downtown Del Rio on two acres of beautifully landscaped grounds. Exhibits consist of 9 different buildings, containing various artifacts and period pieces to aid in the preservation of the history of Del Rio and Val Verde County.

Amistad National Recreation Area:

Amistad NRA is the United States portion of International Amistad Reservoir, formed on the Rio Grande along the border of the US and Mexico. Amistad is known for excellent water-based recreation, camping and is surrounded by a landscape rich in prehistoric rock art, a vibrant border culture, along with a wide variety of plant and animal life.

Devil’s River State Natural Area…Devils River State Natural Area is unique in that it is primitive and isolated, with few amenities and no landscaped playgrounds.  The 37,000-acre state natural area consists of two units — the original 20,000-acre state natural area, now called Del Norte, and the newly acquired 17,000-acre Dan A. Hughes Unit. At Del Norte, visitors can enjoy day hiking, primitive camping, nature viewing, mountain biking, horseback riding, swimming, and fishing. Devils River State Natural Area also offers guided rock art tours ad bat flight tours by appointment.  There is also a Group Barracks that holds up to 10 people. The Dan A. Hughes Unit is not yet open to the public.

Historic Downtown…When visiting the downtown area visitors will notice many historic buildings dating back to the 1800’s.  A walking tour pamphlet is available from the chamber of commerce.

Val Verde County Courthouse… The Vale Verde County Courthouse (pictured above) built in 1887 is the original and only courthouse the county has had.  It has undergone restorations but it is unique in that the county has only had one courthouse in its history.

When visiting Del Rio nearby places to visit are Langtry and Sonora.


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Prairies and Lakes March Events

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Prairie and Lakes Events Arlington March 31…Maverick Speaker Series: Jane Goodall…College Park Center at UT Arlington Belton Through March 12… Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race… March 12…Bell County Museum Great Garage Sale… March 12-18…Spring Break at the Bell County Museum… March 19…Discover Day with Charley Chisholm… March 19-20… Sami Show Marketplace…Bell County Expo Center […]

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