Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
Have you ever been to a zoo where you could hunt? Me, neither! I did, however, recently visit an aquarium where you can fish: The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens, Texas.
TFFC is actually much more than just a place to view fish. It’s a full production freshwater fish hatchery dedicated to the preservation of Texas wetlands.
Aquariums and Exhibits
If you’ve ever been curious about the ecology of freshwater lakes you can see it up close and personal at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. TFFC offers 300,000 gallons of freshwater fish exhibits, featuring catfish, gar, bass and more. I especially enjoyed the alligator exhibit and the freshwater stream section.
Interactive Dive Show and Tram Tour
I suggest timing your visit so that you can see the freshwater dive show. (Scroll to the bottom of this article for a list of dive times.) There’s a pre-show movie which gives an overview of all the projects TFFC is involved in.
After that, a suited diver jumps into the tank, feeds several species of fish, tells you about their life cycle, then answers questions from audience members.
Immediately after the dive show, there’s a free tram tour of the freshwater fish production facility. This is definitely worth it, and gives you another chance to ask questions. The staff and volunteers are friendly and enthusiastic.
If you’re up to it, instead of riding the tram back to the main facility, walk back along the gorgeous wetland trail. It’s paved, so it’s easily maneuverable for strollers and wheelchairs.
The trail is like an outdoor museum offering educational exhibits along the way. You can press buttons at a little gazebo to hear bird calls, for instance, or peek into a honeybee hive as you stroll.
Free Fishing at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center
If you get the urge to fish, the TFFC staff will let you borrow a rod, reel, bait and even give you a fishing lesson. You can then mosey out to the shaded fishing ponds and give it a try. Who knows? You may wind up having fish for dinner after a visit to TFFC.
Hours, Admission, Parking & Address
Click here to visit the official Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center website.
5550 F.M. 2495, Athens, Texas 75752
Hours of Admission:
9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. from Tuesday – Saturday
1:00 – 4:00 p.m. Sundays
Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Easter Sunday.
Movie and Interactive Dive Show Hours:
11:00 a.m. Tuesday – Friday
11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday
2:00 p.m. only on Sunday
Adults (age 13-64) $5.50
Children (age 4-12) and Seniors(age 65+) $4.50
Children under 4 years of age are free
Please leave all pets at home.
Parking: Parking is free.
Please note: While all the above information is accurate as of this writing, hours, prices and so forth are subject to change. C’est la vie, baby!
Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.