Since it's the holiday season, your money might be headed out of your wallet in several different directions right now. Well here's some free fun for the kids!  Texas State Parks are letting kids 12-and-under in free, and you can even take the dog.  

There are more than 90 parks in the Texas State Park system, and they're giving free admission to kids 12 and under.  I asked my 8-year-old if she would want to go, and she said yes, if we can bring the dog.  Yes!  And the dog gets in free too.  Just pack the leash.  Some parks don't allow pets in certain areas, but most consider pets to be part of the family and let them tag along.

Tyler State Park is on the list of parks letting kids in free, along with Mission Tejas State Park in Grapeland, and Martin Creek Lake State Park in Tatum.

Once you're inside, there are opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and camping.  And kids can be part of the Junior Ranger program, with gives them a backpack and a magnifying glass, and they have to accomplish certain tasks and record the progress in a Junior Ranger journal.

Another fun family outing might be a Geocaching trip, which gets you hunting for objects ranging in size from very small (like a film canister) to large (such as a metal lunch box), according to Texas Parks. Many are camouflaged, but they are not buried.  You just need a smart phone or GPS device to get started.

We've got the advantage of mild weather right now, and it's a great time to head to a State Park and get away from the holiday stress.  Look at it this way; the kids will be teenagers soon and then we'll be paying the regular admission price, so we should probably do the smart thing and get 'em to the parks while they're free.

Tyler State Park has Ranger Campfire Story Time on Saturday night (11/25), and for more fun family events at other parks, click HERE.  Take the dog!