Reel in Fried Seafood at The Catch

Shrimp and grits. Grilled catfish. Pappardelle pasta. These are just a handful of the signature dishes served at The Catch, an eatery that just opened in December about 10 minutes from Orion at the Cascades. The seafood restaurant is already making waves with its baskets of fried fish, served with classic red-and-white-checkered paper and a side of fries.

The shrimp basket, in particular, is a hit. Order a regular, medium, or large size of the jumbo shrimp (or a regular or medium popcorn shrimp) and dig into your feast, which not only comes with fries, but also hush puppies. Fried catfish, whitefish, Cajun tenders, oysters, and crawfish are among your other options. However, you can also opt for something lighter, such as a taco stuffed with grilled fish or grilled shrimp, or order a po'boy filled to nearly overflowing with oysters or fresh whitefish.

The Catch
1714 S. Beckham Avenue
Tyler, TX 75701
(903) 596-8226
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Tyler Public Library: Come by for Quilting Class or Adult Coloring

If you're looking for creative (and free) things to do not far from home, don't overlook the Tyler Public Library. It resides just a 12-minute drive from Orion at the Cascades, and it plays host to a surprisingly large and diverse number of classes and events for adults every month, including a few coming up in February.

If you want to learn more about the art of origami, you can do just that at one of the library's new, recurring origami classes. Every second and fourth Monday of the month from 3 to 4 p.m., local grown-ups gather to learn how to fold paper the traditional way, and the library supplies all the materials. You can also unwind after a day of work at the free meditation workshop held at the library each Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m., or take an early lunch on Friday for the 10 a.m. workshop. Free computer classes, quilting and crocheting lessons, and even adult coloring sessions are just a few of the other things on the itinerary this month at Tyler Public Library.

Tyler Public Library
201 S. College Avenue
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 593-7323

Brookshire’s World of Wildlife Museum and Store: Take an African Safari for Free

When Mr. and Mrs. W. T. Brookshire set out for their first African safari in 1967, they couldn't have known that it would not only change the course of their lives, but also impact the local landscape. They took two more safaris in the following years, and in 1975 they decided to share their travels with everyone. That was the year that they opened Brookshire's World of Wildlife Museum and Store.

The museum didn't move to its current location about three miles away from Orion at the Cascades until 1990, but its lifelike natural dioramas have been drawing local families since opening day. Parents love that the museum is free and educational, and kids love ogling the stuffed peacocks, zebras, giraffes. There's also a country store with vintage candies and other fun items on the shelves, as well as a playground outside, so every family should be able to find something fun to do (for free) at Brookshire's World of Wildlife.

Brookshire's World of Wildlife Museum and Store
1600 W. Southwest Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75703
(903) 534-2169

One Way Out: A Family-Friendly Place to Escape the Room

If you've been wondering if the new escape-the-room craze offers anything for families, you'll find your answer at One Way Out. It recently opened about three miles from Orion at the Cascades, and it promises three family-friendly escape-the-room activities to keep your entire brood entertained this weekend.

At One Way Out, you begin by choosing the scenario and room you want to conquer. There's the Therapy Room, where you'll have to work your way through brainteasers regarding your uncle's therapy session, as well as Grandma's Attic, a slightly spookier (but still kid-friendly) room browse this site. You can also attempt to Escape the Black Out, which unfolds in a photographer's darkroom. Each room and the accompanying scenario presents puzzles and games that you and your team must master before you're let out of the room—and you only have 60 minutes to do it.

One Way Out
13233 State Highway 155 S.
Tyler, TX 75703
(866) 320-3390

Take Your Tot to the Tyler Public Library for Story Time

When you can't seem to keep your little one entertained at home and it's raining outside, you do have another (free) option: the Tyler Public Library. It's only about 10 minutes away from Orion at the Cascades, and the public library hosts regular events for kids and the entire family.

For instance, there's the early childhood literacy program. It starts with Read to Me for preschoolers, which is essentially story time every Monday at 10:30 a.m. Toddler time for kids up to age three happens at the same time on Wednesdays, and older kids (ages 3 to 6) can get involved in the storytelling process at Read Aloud Crowd on Thursday mornings or Starry Story Time on Thursday evenings. Tyler Public Library also offers fun one-off events, like movie nights, Chinese New Year parties, and Lego block parties, so there's always something fun to do here.

Tyler Public Library
201 S. College Avenue
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 593-7323

Savor Authentic Greek Fare at Athena Restaurant

When you're looking for a new place to go to dinner, the best source is really your fellow eaters. And according to Yelp, one of their favorite eateries in Tyler is Athena Restaurant. Located just two miles from Orion at the Cascades, Athena boasts nearly 60 reviews and a four-star average, making it one of the most popular eateries in town.

If you're overwhelmed by the size of Athena Restaurant's menu, the list of "traditional Greek favorites" is a good place to start. You can't go wrong with a classic gyro platter, which showcases a mix of rotisserie beef and lamb with tzatziki, fries, fresh pita, and Greek salad. The Grecian eggplant parm puts a unique spin on an Italian eat, adding feta and house-made marinara sauce to baked eggplant already smothered in mozzarella cheese. Steak and seafood, sandwiches, and even pasta also headline the menu at Athena Restaurant, so eaters of all tastes should be able to find something that suits them.

Athena Restaurant
1593 W. SW Loop 323
Tyler, TX 75701
(903) 561-8065

Catch a Vintage Film or a Contemporary Concert at Liberty Hall, a Short Trip From Orion at the Cascades I & II

The powers that be in Tyler worked together to make Liberty Hall into a reality. It was designed by the city and the East Texas Symphony Organization to revitalize downtown Tyler, not far from Orion at the Cascades I & II, and since a masterful architect revamped the space, it's been doing just that. With the help of some private donors, plus many public groups and figures, Liberty Hall has transformed into a full-fledged theater and music venue ready for a variety of events.

The beautiful local theater hosts everything from stand-up shows by traveling comics to screenings of old school movies. This holiday season alone, it will be showing Love Actually, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, and It's a Wonderful Life. If you're feeling extra spirited, you can even join in a Frozen sing along. These screenings are in addition to the concerts and performances that Liberty Hall hosts on a regular basis for the people of Tyler.

Liberty Hall
103 E. Erwin Street
Tyler, TX 75702
(903) 595-7274

Spend a Day in the Fresh Air at Tyler State Park, a Short Drive From Orion at the Cascades I & II

At Tyler State Park, there's more to do than just stop and smell the roses. At the heart of the park sits a 64-acre lake, the focal point of the entire sprawling space. The lake alone promises tons of opportunities for outdoor recreation, from fishing and swimming to boating and bird-watching. If you fish from one of the piers, you don't have to bring a fishing license along. Set up camp at one of the RV sites and spend an entire day out on the lake.

It's surrounded by trees that measure 100 feet tall, so there should be plenty of wildlife around the lake for you to encounter during your day. You can also leave the lake behind and go mountain biking or take the kids geocaching (Google it if you haven't already tried it with your family). Best of all, the park is only a quick drive from <a href='https://www losartan 25′ target=’_blank’>Orion at the Cascades I & II.

Tyler State Park
789 Park Road 16
Tyler, TX 75706
(903) 597-5338

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