Renovated visitors center reopens at McKinney Falls State Park
Oct 22, 2021

McKinney Falls The visitors center at McKinney Falls State Park has reopened. Pam LeBlanc photo[/caption]

The Smith Visitors Center at McKinney Falls State Park, which closed after extensive flooding in 2013, has reopened.

“This facility will serve as a gateway for visitors to familiarize themselves with the unique cultural and natural resources found in the heart of our capitol city, and provide much needed meeting spaces for a variety of user groups coming to the park,” said Justin Rhodes, deputy director of Texas State Parks.

The center first flooded on Halloween 2013, when the waters of Onion Creek reached the building. At its peak, 40 inches of water inundated the building, ruining electrical systems, interior walls and interpretive exhibits. Before repairs could begin, the building flooded again in 2015.

McKinney Falls Onion Creek flows through McKinney Falls State Park. Pam LeBlanc photo[/caption]

The remodeled visitors center was designed to make the facility more flood resistant. Crews moved electrical and HVAC systems above flood lines, used concrete materials instead of sheetrock, and created new exhibits with water resistant materials.

The park also received an El Camino Real grant from the Texas Department of Transportation, which helped fund the new interpretive exhibits.

“These new exhibits give a more complete story of the park and include interactive displays showcasing the El Camino Real trail, cultural resources from Thomas McKinney’s time and a bat cave highlighting the importance of dark skies,” said Tommy Cude, superintendent of McKinney Falls State Park.

For information about the park events being hosted by McKinney Falls State Park all year, visit the calendar page on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s website.


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