Over the past five years, the Brazoria County Park Service has been developing a new Beach Park education center. This 1,300 square-foot facility had its grand opening on December 7th, 2016. Located southwest of the park offices, it features large floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the Gulf and more than 1,000 feet of boardwalk. The boardwalk not only gives visitors access to the building but also sweeps over the sand dunes for entering the beach.
The interior is primarily a large open space that allows flexible seating for up to 80 people and has a small kitchen for events. "The use that I’m really excited about," says Brazoria County Precinct One Commissioner Donald "Dude" Payne, "is we’re going to let the school districts use this for children to come out and get in touch with nature. It will be free to them. We’ll also be able to rent it for any kind of wedding, family reunion... any kind of those events."
The funding for the microscope, TV and the extensive boardwalk system was made possible by Freeport LNG. This financial support follows a tradition of partnering with the park for many other community programs and events, like the bi-annual Adopt-A-Beach clean-ups. "Freeport LNG has been really a model for what we would look for in a partner," observes Frazier. "They’re very interested in the conservation that goes on here. I think it’s a reflection of who they are as a company that they’re not only nice to their neighbors. They’re genuinely concerned with what goes on here in the big picture and they’ve made a real investment with us in the Brazoria County Parks Department as a statement of that."
The Quintana Beach County Park has been a favorite destination for Quintana Island residents and area vacationers since opening in 1983. Its 52 acres includes a beachfront location along the county's only "natural beach," maintained by tides and weather. This inviting setting offers exceptional opportunities for bird watching, beachcombing and shelling with recreational activities like fishing, swimming and surfing.
The park's facilities include areas for camping, hook-ups for RVs, and rentable cabins for overnight stays. There are also covered pavilions, picnic tables, grills, a playground, volleyball court, a wooden lighted fishing pier and access to the Freeport Harbor Channel west jetty. Two historic Quintana buildings are also located here: the Seaburn House (1860), available for event rentals, and the Coveney House (1890), which serves as the park's office. Both have been moved to the park's grounds from their original locations farther away. The Seaburn family traces its heritage back to Captain Henry Seaburn, a German immigrant born in 1815 who settled in Quintana in 1840 and became a master carpenter and shipbuilder.
One of the center’s most striking amenities is a 90-inch flat-screen TV. It can be set up for traditional AV presentations or interfaced with a state-of-the-art microscope, wirelessly connected to the TV for educational programs. "We have such a rich diversity of marine life and wetlands and estuaries here," remarks Brazoria County Parks Director Bryan Frazier. "The magnified image in the microscope is projected on that large screen, and we’re talking about things that you can just barely detect with the naked eye."