New park in Georgetown exceeding expectations

Garey Park is one of the largest of its kind in Texas.

The 525-acre tract is larger than Austin's Zilker Park and Auditorium Shores combined. It opened about a month ago, although some work is still going on; like a roof being put over the equestrian center.

Eric Nuner, Georgetown's Assistant Parks Director, managed the massive project from start to finish. "It is definitely meeting our expectations … This gift is almost something unheard of,” said Nuner.

The old Garey Family Ranch is bordered by Leander Road to the south and the San Gabriel River to the north. The amenities include a large splash pad and playground which are next to a family pavilion and dog park. The trails, nearly 10 miles of them, are built only for hiking and horseback riding. (You have to bring your own horse.) Mountain bikes are not allowed on the trails, but cycling is allowed on the paved roadways.

"Honestly and simply there are conflicts between cyclists and equestrian and it’s not something we want to get into,” said Nuner.

While there is no swimming pool, there are two fishing ponds; both are located on the north side of the park. The ponds are next to the Garey family homestead; it's been converted into a special events center that can be rented out.

Admission starts at $5 for residents of Georgetown. That covers 2 people.

There is an extra charge for additional people.

Karalin Joyce, who is from Hutto paid the higher $10 per couple non-resident rate. There's an additional charge of $2 per person. Joyce says it was worth the price to see the smile on her son's face.

"This is way more than I expected, the kids are having fun, we brought 6 kids out here so they are going to get worn out and take a nice nap afterwards,” said Joyce. 

Some additional features are in the works for the park. A few will come in the near future, others will take a little more time. A non-profit group is raising money for a wildlife viewing area.

A vendor may also be brought in to offer horse riding rentals out of the equestrian center.

There's the potential for festivals in a large field near the river and concerts along a hillside that may be converted into an amphitheater. "Currently we don’t have any future funding, at this point, but part of the original master plan did include camping, cabins as well as primitive camping, and I think that’s one of the primary things we'd like to see if funding becomes available,” said Nuner.

The park is opened from 8 in the morning until 8 at night.