Leonard Park, Gainesville

Home of the Frank Buck Zoo, Gainesville’s Leonard Park offers plenty of activities to entertain the entire family!  Check out my Mommy Tips for making the most of your visit!


1.  Know Before You Go

  • Pack a picnic, or pick up lunch on the way out, because the park has 72 picnic tables, but doesn’t sell food.  The zoo gift shop offers drinks and pre-packaged food, and you don’t need a zoo admission to shop.
  • The park’s huge pecan trees just call out for a blanket to be spread underneath them!  Pack a book and let the little ones nap in the shade for a nice change of pace!


2.  The Gainesville Community Playground

We love playgrounds, and have visited a lot of them, but this is always my children’s favorite!  It’s huge, and filled with extremely fun and creative slides, bars and more!   It’s all on sand, so bring some shovels and buckets, too!


3.  The Frank E. Schmitz Miniature Train

Take a ride around Leonard Park on this 1/4 scale steam engine.

LOve the look on my little guys face!  He was so anxious to ride that he didn’t want to stop for pictures!


4.  Bring Your Swim Suits  

The Leonard Park Aquatic Center offers 2 slides, a diving board, a zero depth entry pool and play structure, a rock climbing wall and basket ball goals.

Participants must be able to swim the width of the pool (narrow) to do the rock climbing wall.

There is a snack bar at the pool.

The pool opens in the afternoon, so we usually plan a morning at the zoo, train ride and playing in the park, followed by a picnic lunch and then swimming in the afternoon.  Perfect. Day.


5.  The Frank Buck Zoo

A small zoo located in Leonard Park, it’s the perfect size to spend 1-2 hours seeing the animals!  They offer daily giraffe feedings at 10:30am for $1.

For more of my Mommy Tips on the Frank Buck Zoo, click HeRe!


6.  Disc Golf

Just across California St., in what is actually Moffett Park, there is a small disc golf course.  It’s small size makes it a perfect place for young children, or first timers.


7.  Pack a picnic lunch!  

There are over 70 picnic tables scattered around Leonard Park, with grills and several smokers for those serious about a day at the park.  There is also a large pavilion that can be reserved through the city.


8.  Learn about some of the history of the area

The Old Jail sets in Leonard Park.  It’s not open, but it’s very small size gives you a great topic for conversation, imagining what it would have been like to be in there!

The Great Hanging Memorial, dedicated on October 18, 2014 at nearby Georgia Bass Park in Gainesville, gives an account of the lives lost by 42 men during the Civil War who were determined to be union sympathizers.  For more information; click HERE.

For more information on the history of Gainesville, click HERE.

9.  Geocaching 

There are a couple of interesting geocaches in Leonard Park, but a fun and easy one awaits you at the entrance.  It’s a virtual cache, which gives you a different twist.

To learn more about this cache, or about geocaching, click HERE to visit geocaching.com.

10.  Make a Day of It

While we enjoy spending a full day at the park, there are many other things to do in Gainesville!

Gainesville’s Santa Fe Train Depot, built in 1902, houses a small museum.  Gainesville is a stop on the Heartland Flyer, which connects Oklahoma City to Fort Worth.  The 4 hour and 14 minute ride offers guest an opportunity to learn about the Chickasaw National Recreation Area through the Rails and Trails program.  To learn more, click HERE.

Depot Day is an annual festival held the second Saturday in October, which highlights the railroads mark on the city, and offers lots of family friendly events!  For more information, click HERE.

Lavender Ridge Farms is a working lavender farm which offers tours, a cafe and a great family experience.  Click HERE to visit their website.

Morton Museum of Cooke County  is housed in the 1884 firehouse, and offers guest a glimpse into the past.  Click HERE to visit their website.


Leonard Park

1000 W. California St, Gainesville

Click HERE to visit the official city website.


Keep Having Fun in the TEXAS Sun! 



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*Blog Disclaimer –

While all activities and attractions reviewed by Having Fun in the Texas Sun (HFitTS) are fun, they, as anything in life, hold some potential for accident or injury.  HFitTS is only offering their opinion and experience, and should be held harmless in case of accident.

HFitTS does not accept financial compensation for reviews, so that all opinions are honest and unbiased.  Some destinations do extend invitations and offer complementary admittance, some know we are there for a review, and others have no idea until they get a link to the blog.

While HFitTS does give the positive and negative opinions of places and activities we have enjoyed in a review, HFitTS will not post a derogatory review on a location.  Life is too short to spend 4-5 hours reliving a bad experience, and we have had plenty of them.  Posting would be completely contrary to our name.  We just don’t write, talk or even think about those places.  Ewww.

HFitTS tries to give the most up to date information on hours, prices, etc.  but readers should ALWAYS check with the location before going.

There are no guarantees by HFitTS, either written or implied, of you having a good time at any of the locations we review.  Some people just won’t have a good time anywhere.

HFitTS does guarantee that we always strive to follow the Girl Scout Way, and LEAVE A PLACE BETTER THAN WE FOUND IT.


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