The state park — considered to be part of the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area — bustles with activities and programs for the likes of those interested in being active or interacting with nature’s critters.
Amy Snow, Naturalist for Panola Mountain, said there are two activities in particular that continually receive a lot of buzz.
“Two of the most popular are the tree climbing program and our moon light hikes,” Snow said.
Snow, who in her role is an integral part of developing the programming for the park, said tree climbing is for anyone 8 and older.
To tree climb, each participant is outfitted with a helmet and harness and can climb the tree that has ropes suspended from it. Tree climbing is the first and third Saturday of each month. The cost for tree climbing is $15 per person, and there is a $5 parking fee. Registration in advance is required.
“You can go fifty feet up and go as high as you want to,” Snow said. “You can also walk in limbs.”
A unique twist on the tree climbing is the ability to spend the night in the tree. Yes, spend the night in a tree.
For those who are interested in sleeping at new heights, tree boats are placed in a tree. The cost is $125 per person, with a total of six able to sleep at a time.
Residents who prefer to gaze at a southern sunset or a full moon while walking on foot can participate in the moon light hikes.
“We climb up Panola Mountain, watch the sunset and hike back down in the dark,” Snow said.
The route is about a mile and half and the time of the hike changes due daylight savings times and varying sunset times.
The next hikes, scheduled for Saturday and July 28, for instance, will start at 8 p.m.
For interested hikers, the cost $7 to participate. The fee does not include the $5 for parking.
Snow said another program that has picked up popularity due to the “Hunger Games” movie and books is their archery class.
“Our archery program and class are still fairly new,” she said.
Archery classes are $10 per person for those 9 and older. The next class will be held Aug. 25 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The fee includes an all-day archery range pass.
Other features at the park include a 13-mile bicycle trail, picnic shelters for rent and a nature center for an exhibit.