Day Trips & Beyond: February Events Roundup

Drivin' the blues away

It’s time to get over the winter doldrums and get out and join the February parades and festivals.

During the nine-day festival, dozens of parades will wind through downtown Galveston and along the seawall. (Photo Courtesy of Galveston CVB)

The oldest and largest celebration in Texas leading up to Lent has something for everybody. Mardi Gras in Galveston means traditional balls and parades as well as family-friendly events like the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux pet parade. Alongside the colorful revelry will be a music festival featuring Sugar Ray, Stoney LaRue, La Mafia, and many other bands.

Feb. 17-28, Galveston, 888/425-4753, www.mardigrasgalveston.com

Begun in 1901, closed in 1968, and revived in 1989, the historic and scenic railway roars through the brush country right to the door of the Grand Canyon Historic District. (Photo Courtesy of Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel)

Two vintage steam engines return to service on the daily run between Williams, Ariz., and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on selected Saturdays during the upcoming year. These mighty work horses are a rare sight. Both engines are even more unusual because they run on recycled waste vegetable oil collected from local restaurants.

First Saturdays, March-October, and Feb. 18, April 22, Sept. 16. Grand Canyon Railway, Williams, Ariz., 800/843-8724, www.thetrain.com

Travel Notes:

Screenwriter, director, two-time Academy Award nominee, and Texas A&M graduate Al Reinert will be one of the special guests at the Nacogdoches Film Festival on the Stephen F. Austin University campus. Along with movies, documentaries, and shorts, the long list of workshops and panel discussions cover screenwriting, acting, and directing. Feb. 24-26. www.nacogdochesfilmfestival.org

The Hill Country Science Mill will host Dr. Kold and his freezing science experiments Saturday, Feb. 11, at 11am and 1pm. Learn all about COLD and the properties of materials at low temperatures. He'll even show how you can make ice cream in less than a minute. The hands-on science museum has several special events coming up in February including Introduce a Girl (or Boy) to Engineering Day on Feb. 25. www.sciencemill.org.

New Mexico Restaurant Week returns. It’s an event so big that it takes three cities to contain it all – Albuquerque, Santa Fe, and Taos. Area chefs will bring out their best prix fixe dinners. Lodging specials and culinary classes and tastings round out the experience. Feb. 19-March 12. www.nmrestaurantweek.com.

The first public access to the wreckage of Sir John Franklin’s fabled Arctic expedition vessel sets sail this September. The Franklin Expedition left England on May 19, 1845, on a trip to map the Northwest Passage. Two months later the expedition’s two ships disappeared. The 140-year mystery was partially solved in 1997, when the bones of the sailors were found on King William Island off the coast of Nunavut Province, Canada. Franklin’s flagship, the HMS Erebus, was finally discovered in 2014 in 11 meters of water off King William Island. Parks Canada and Adventure Canada will take visitors to the wreck site for the first time Sept. 7-23. Underwater remotely controlled vehicles operated by archaeology experts let passengers view what few have seen. The voyage also visits wilderness areas, native villages, the aurora borealis, and wandering slabs of sea ice. www.adventurecanada.com/trip/out-northwest-passage-west-east-2017.

Other February Events:

Hot Rods & Hatters Car Show and Concert
Feb. 3-4, Lockhart, www.hotrodsandhatters.com

Lunar New Year Celebration
Feb. 4-5, Houston, www.lunarnewyearhouston.com

Planetarium Show
Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28, Clute, www.bcfas.org

Laredo Birding Festival
Feb. 8-11, Laredo, www.laredobirdingfestival.org

Hug-In and Valentine Ball
Feb. 10-12, Luckenbach, www.luckenbachtexas.com

Czech Music Festival
Feb. 11, Ennis, www.ennisczechmusicfestival.com

Cowboy Mardi Gras
Feb. 16-18, Bandera, www.11thstreetcowboybar.com

“Maya, Hidden Worlds Revealed”
Feb. 11-Sept. 4, Perot Museum, Dallas, www.perotmuseum.org

“Of Texas Rivers and Texas Art”
Feb. 16-April 9, San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, www.samfa.org

Mardi Gras! Galveston
Feb. 17-28, Galveston, www.mardigrasgalveston.com

Greater Houston Train Show
Feb. 18, Houston, www.sanjacmodeltrains.org

Alamo Metro Chorus
Feb. 19, Fredericksburg, www.fredericksburgmusicclub.com

Charro Days Fiesta
Feb. 19-26, Brownsville, www.charrodaysfiesta.com

Free Entrance Day in National Parks
Feb. 20, www.nps.gov/planyourvisit

Whooping Crane Festival
Feb. 23-26, Port Aransas, www.whoopingcranefestival.org

Nature Day & Youth Fishing Day
Feb. 25, Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson, www.tpwd.texas.gov/seacenter

Buffalo Soldier Heritage Day
Feb. 26, San Angelo, www.fortconcho.com


Gerald McLeod has been traveling around Texas and beyond for his "Day Trips" column for more than 25 years. Keep up to date with his journeys on his archive page. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 40312, South Austin, TX 78704.

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