Things to Do in Orange
Perched on the bank of the mighty Sabine River on the eastern edge of Texas, Orange is a small town with more than its fair share of big-city surprises. See world-renowned performers and Broadway shows, explore spectacular gardens, and embark on an unforgettable birding and wildlife watching adventure. There are many more things to do in Orange than these, of course. Read on to find out what “The Gateway to Texas” has in store for you.
Go Birding and Wildlife Watching
The Texas Gulf Coast is rich with wildlife and sits within a major migratory path for birds, and Orange is no exception to this. Needless to say, you’ll want to pack your long camera lens before you visit. One of the top places to go birding in Orange is the Blue Elbow Swamp – Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area, which sits near the Texas-Louisiana border just north of where the Sabine River meets the Gulf of Mexico. The primary attraction here is the 600-foot boardwalk that extends into the swamp that offers the perfect vantage point for spotting herons, egrets, ospreys, and even the occasional alligator. Hiking, canoeing, and fishing can be done here as well, giving you plenty of other ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Tour The W.H. Stark House
There are few more eye-catching examples of Queen Anne-style architecture than the historic W.H. Stark House. A majestic tower, wrap-around balcony and porch, and triangular roofs make it unique, but it’s what is inside that will capture your imagination. The three-floor home, built between 1893 and 1895, was once the home of wealthy philanthropists and art collectors William Henry and Miriam Lutcher Stark. Wander through each level and you’ll enter rooms furnished to reflect life in the early 20th century. There’s more to see in the Carriage House, which once held the family’s carriages and cars (with a few still on display). Today, it’s an exhibit space that showcases various eras of Orange’s history.
See a Show at the Lutcher Theater
Broadway musicals, whimsical comedies, and spectacular one-of-a-kind acts … in Orange, Texas? Thanks to the Lutcher Theater, you don’t need to travel to the “Big City” to see world-class shows. Nearly year-round, the Lutcher Theater hosts internationally renowned performers like the Blue Man Group, Willie Nelson, and BB King, as well as national touring productions of major musicals and plays. The theater even has a Kids Series that, in the past, has featured productions of Goodnight Moon and The Cat in the Hat. So if you’re a connoisseur of the performing arts or you’re simply looking to see an amazing show in Orange, get yourself to the Lutcher Theater.
Experience the American West at the Stark Museum of Art
Admire dramatic paintings of the Old West, browse one of the most significant collections of Native American art in the country, and discover all the other surprises when you stop by the Stark Museum of Art. A veritable love letter to the American West, the art museum showcases life on the frontier in the 18th and 19th centuries through its exhibits of works by prominent artists like Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell. While you’re exploring the museum, you’ll see porcelain birds by celebrated artist Dorothy Doughty, pottery and jewelry crafted by American Indians in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and rare Steuben Glass bowls representing our nation’s 50 states. Rare books and manuscripts dating back to the late medieval period round out the other things to see at the Stark Museum of Art, a must see while you’re in Orange.
Stop and Smell the Flowers
Blooming daylilies, colorful orchids, and more of nature’s wonders populate the Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center. Time will stand still as you stroll along the pathways lined by a variety of verdant flora and wander the nature center’s many unique gardens. Stop by the Wetland Demonstration Garden to learn about water filtering and see the positive impact humans can have on the environment and check out the gardens designed to represent one of the five elements of art (line, shape, texture, contrasts, and color).
Among the many attractions is the Here We Grow! Children’s Garden, home to interactive displays, a sensory garden, and a butterfly and bird garden that will educate and inspire kids of all ages. The botanical gardens and nature center was first founded in 1937 by J.J. Lutcher Stark as a retreat of spectacular beauty, a tradition that continues to this very day.
Orange, TX 77631