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Cullen Park in Houston: Velodrome, Sports Fields, Trails and More

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

View of concession stand between baseball fields in Cullen Park

View of concession stand between baseball fields in Cullen Park

Cullen Park

People can find Cullen Park in the western regions of Houston. The 10,500 plus acres of land in this Harris County Precinct 3 park serves two essential purposes.

First and foremost, the land serves as a flood control project. Decades ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers constructed large earthen dams both north and south of Interstate 10. Barker Reservoir is to the south of I-10 with Addicks Reservoir to the north. Cullen Park is in the Addicks Reservoir. The address is 19008 Saums Road, Houston, Texas 77084.

When torrential rains arrive with northern flooding tributaries of creeks and bayous draining into this area, this park sometimes closes. The land suddenly takes on the appearance of a pond or lake. The waters in these reservoirs keep other areas of Houston from being flooded.

Because of a multi-million dollar donation from the Cullen Foundation paired with Houston city funding, Cullen Park came into being. The land was leased from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to the City of Houston in 1983, and construction began a year later.

Playtime in Cullen Park

The other essential purpose of this area (in addition to sporadic flood control) was to provide residents a place to play, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.

Park development happened in two phases. Saums Road bisects Cullen Park. Phase one just south of Saums is where people find four well-lighted baseball and softball fields.

Four soccer fields with natural turf are also situated here. We have seen all ages of boys, girls, and even adults playing soccer in this park.

Adjacent to the baseball fields is the Alkek Velodrome. This Velodrome is 1 of 28 in the U.S. as of 2017. It is a banked cement track built explicitly in the year 1986 for bike races. You can see a good picture of the Alkek Velodrome in the video below.

Picnic Area and Splash Pad

There is also a shaded picnic area not far from the sports fields on the other side of Saums Road. It is in a pecan grove of trees. Some of the picnic tables are out in the open, and others are under the shade of a pavilion. Outdoor barbecue grills are there as well as plenty of refuse containers.

Thanks to the donations of H.E.B. grocery stores, a splash pad has been added to not only this park but many others in the Houston area. It was opened in August of 2003 and is near the pecan grove picnic area as well as the covered pavilion.

Playground and More

Phase two of this park was completed in 1989. A separate road heading north from Saums leads to this part of Cullen Park. More picnic areas are there as well as another restroom facility.

There are several kids playgrounds in this area, as well as wide-open field spaces perfect for playing frisbee or flying kites.

Nature Trails

What truly makes this part of Cullen Park special, in my opinion, are the trails. The nature trails are paved and run for many miles through wooded areas. The shade is welcome during hot weather!

From the picnic area, a person can walk, run, jog, bike ride or rollerblade from here to Highway 6 and back which is almost 8 miles round trip. There is a historic cemetery located at Highway 6 with a small parking lot in front of it. Many people start the trail at this location.

Be sure and carry water with you as there are no water fountains provided along the path. Dogs must be kept on leashes.

The use of mosquito repellent might also be a good idea, particularly if it has rained recently. The times we have walked the trails, it was hot and dry, so we were not bothered by those pesky insects.

People have reported seeing deer, armadillos, snakes, birds, and even a cougar in the wilder areas of this park. Wherever there is water, there is always a chance of seeing an alligator. Most of these animals would naturally shy away from people, but it is good to be aware of one’s surroundings.

Much of this part of the park is in a natural state. Wildflowers, shrubs, and vines are occasionally in bloom and add to the enjoyment.

Precinct 3 Parks in Harris County

Bear Creek Pioneers Park is also located within Addicks Reservoir and is not far from Cullen Park. An archery range is also available for use within the confines of this reservoir. George Bush Park is in the Barker Reservoir just south of I-10.

Some of the other Precinct 3 parks that are well worth visiting are listed below. Each of them is special in a unique way!

  • Bear Creek Pioneers Park
  • Arthur Story Park
  • Cypress Top Historic Park
  • Kleb Woods Nature Preserve
  • Goforth Park on Horsepen Creek
  • Zube Park, where you can ride a miniature train!

“The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world’s joy.”

— Henry Ward Beecher

Sources:

Cullen Park

Alkek Velodrome

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 15, 2020:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

While alligators can be in almost any free-flowing waterway down here, they do not often present any kind of a problem if normal precautions are taken. Seldom are they even spotted.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 14, 2020:

Those picnic areas and trails look very pleasing as long as the alligators agree to remain shy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 27, 2020:

Hi Liz,

The kids do appear to have a lot of fun with the splash pad, and judging from the smiles on the adult faces, they do also.

Liz Westwood from UK on March 27, 2020:

This looks like a great spirts facility. The splash pad looks like great fun. My grandchildren would love it. You give a good tip about insect repellant.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2020:

Hi Pamela,

This park also functions to hold excess water when needed. Those soccer fields on occasion look like a lake, but they drain quickly.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 26, 2020:

This is surely a huge park and it offer so much. It offers so much for families and especially children. It looks beautiful, Peggy.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on March 26, 2020:

Hi Manatita,

It is interesting that the trails in Cullen Park remind you of some in Kenya. Hiking trails are a fun way to exercise as well as enjoying nature.

manatita44 from london on March 26, 2020:

I like the idea and reality of a Splash Pad for kids. As to the nature trails, it is very beautiful and reminds me of Kenya, indeed Africa. Truly beautiful biking trails.

I used to love trails and still do. Whether it's in Kaw'ai, Hawaii; Anapurna in Nepal, or elsewhere.

10,000 is a lot of acres. No wonder you have such a scenic velodrome.