Day Trips & Beyond: January Events Roundup

See what 2020 has in store

Start the New Year by celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and the Lunar New Year.

The cool waters of Jacob’s Well have attracted visitors to the Wimberley area for centuries. The winter tours at the Hays County natural area highlight plants, animals, and geology around the artesian spring. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

From the cliff overlooking it, the 12-foot-diameter hole in the creek bed at Jacob’s Well Natural Area looks like a bottomless pit. Swimming is not allowed during the winter when the area is going through its annual aquatic restoration period. Instead, the natural area is opened for tours guided by master naturalists on second and fourth Saturdays from October to April. The tours give a unique peek into the natural history, geology, and hydrology of the headwaters of Cypress Creek. Swimming begins on May 1 by online reservation only.
Jan. 11, 25, Guided Tours of Jacob’s Well Natural Area, Wimberley, 512/214-4593,

Built in Aberdeen, Scotland, the ELISSA was rescued from destruction in 1970 and made her first voyage as a restored sailing ship in 1985. The iron hull continues life as a rare functional sailing museum. Most students on the Day Sails won’t be climbing in the yardarms, but will learn a thing or two about sailing. (Photo by Gerald E. McLeod)

The Galveston Historical Foundation has begun taking reservations for the annual Day Sails of the ELISSA over two weekends in April. GHF offers a limited number of spots on board as sail-training students ages 10 and older. Students receive hands-on and lecture learning on sailing the 142-year-old ship on a six-hour trip in the Gulf of Mexico. The voyage, which includes lunch, costs $200. The Official Tall Ship of Texas, the 1877 iron Braque is one of the oldest and longest-sailed vessels in the world.
April 3-5, 9-12, ELISSA Day Sails, Galveston, 407/765-3444,

Travel Notes:

For 20 years, Fred Renk produced bloodless bullfights at the Santa Maria Bullring on his ranch in the brush country outside of a La Gloria. It was the only bullfight ring in Texas and with the demise of tourism on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, the last of the bullfight rings along the border. The era of bloodless bullfights, in which the matador snatches a flower from the bull rather than killing it, comes to an end on Jan. 12 and Feb. 16. Renk, 83, began promoting bullfights in the U.S. in 1986. He built the bullring an hour north of Edinburg in 2000 as a retirement ring for his two sons. Now that both sons have passed, in 2006 and 2019, there is no one to continue managing the winter bullfights. “Bullfights are very exciting, but it’s a lot of work to put them together. We’re just too old to work that hard anymore,” says Lisa Renk, Fred’s wife of more than 30 years.

After a New Year’s Eve grand opening, PY1 becomes Arlington’s newest entertainment venue for a limited time. The 81-foot-high, pyramid-shaped virtual reality facility will host three 50-minute shows: Through the Echoes, a site-specific multimedia production; Stella – The Time Machine Journey, a participatory show for the entire family; and PY1 Nights, an adult nightlife experience. The adventure in light, sound, and visual effects is set to last only until Feb. 1.

Flyball is a fairly simple dog sport, and it’s a lot of fun to watch. Teams of dogs race each other over a line of hurdles to a spring-loaded box, “catch” a tennis ball from the box, and race back to their handlers with the ball. The fastest time wins. The pups will be racing at the Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor on Jan. 18-19. Admission for spectators is free, so come see why Dogz Rule.

Other January Events:

New Year’s at the Bishop’s Palace
Jan. 1, Galveston,

Hair of the Dog
Jan. 1, Gruene,

Pfreeze Pflop
Jan. 1, Pflugerville,

First Day Hikes
Jan. 1, State Parks,

“The Complete Work of William Shakespeare Abridged”
Jan. 2-25, Cleburne,

Sam Rayburn Day
Jan. 4, Bonham,

Dale Watson in Concert and Dance
Jan. 4, Coupland,

Battle of Galveston Walking Tour
Jan. 4, Galveston,

Free Show Friday – The Georges
Jan. 10, Gruene,

Gospel Music Festival
Jan. 10-12, Rockport,

Lunar New Year
Jan. 10-12, 17-19, Grand Prairie,

Winter Paddling Event #1
Jan. 11, Lake Jackson,

Jacob’s Well Natural Area Tours
Jan. 11, 25, Wimberley,

Country Music Legend Bill Anderson in Concert
Jan. 12, Kerrville,

Bloodless Bullfights
Jan. 12, La Gloria,

Alley All New Festival
Jan. 16-26, Houston,

Rockport-Fulton Market Days
Jan. 17-19, Rockport,

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo
Jan. 17-Feb. 8, Fort Worth,

Eagle Fest
Jan. 18, Emory,

Bird Banding
Jan. 18, Lake Jackson,

Midnight River Choir in Concert
Jan. 18, La Grange,

Luckenbach Blues Festival
Jan. 18, Luckenbach,

Dunes Day
Jan. 18, Surfside Beach,

Wimberley Film Festival
Jan. 18, Wimberley,

Hill Country Gem and Mineral Show
Jan. 18-19, Fredericksburg,

Duo Dramatique presents "The World Is Yours!"
Jan. 19, Boerne,

Take 3 Trio in Concert
Jan. 19, Fredericksburg,

Tish Hinojosa and Friends
Jan. 19, Gruene,

Bastrop County MLK Walk and Program
Jan. 20, Elgin,

MLK Day Parade and Celebration
Jan. 20, Freeport,

MLK Grande Parade
Jan. 20, Houston,

Free Entrance Day
Jan. 20, National Parks,

Martin Luther King Jr. March
Jan. 21, Seguin,

Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo
Jan. 21-25, South Padre Island,

Barbecue Cook-off and Festival
Jan. 24-25, San Antonio,

Jan. 24-26, Irving,

Renaissance Festival
Jan. 24-26, Feb. 1-2, Kerrville,

Robert Burns Dinner
Jan. 25, Dallas,

Brackenridge Winter Carnival and Snow Day
Jan. 25, Edna,

Family Day: Lunar New Year
Jan. 25, Houston,

Texas Lunar Festival
Jan. 25, Houston,

2020 Lunar New Year Festival
Jan. 25, Houston,

Sealy Chili Dilly
Jan. 25, Sealy,

Surfside Food and Art Festival
Jan. 25, Surfside,

Galveston Museum Day
Jan. 25-26, Galveston,

Comic Fest
Jan. 25-26, Victoria,

Galveston Restaurant Week
Jan. 25-Feb. 9, Galveston,

SPI Kite Fest
Jan. 30-Feb. 1, South Padre Island,

Woodworking Show
Jan. 31-March 22, Victoria,

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.

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Day Trips, Elissa, Jacob's Well, bullfights, Flyball, PY1, Lunar New Year, MLK Day

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