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Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.
A reservoir of the undulating Colorado River, Lady Bird Lake lies nestled in startling contrast with the cosmopolitan buildings that fringe it. Originally known as 'Town Lake', this reservoir was created in 1960, with the construction of the Longhorn Dam. For a decade, this lake was left in a derelict state, until it was transformed into a beautiful recreation zone in the 1970s. In 2007, the lake was given the name Lady Bird Lake, honoring the memory of the former First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. Its glassy waters a wonderland for recreation, the lake is skirted by lush, emerald droves, winding trails, the sprawling Zilker Park and the rejuvenating Barton Springs. The lake enables an array of exhilarating activities like kayaking, canoeing, rowing, paddleboarding and recreational fishing. Lady Bird Lake has been host to a string of sporting events, while its bank is popular for musical performances.
Pinballz Arcade features more pinball games than you'll be able to play in a day. This huge arcade is spread out over 13,000 square feet (1207 square meters) and is a great hangout for kids and adults alike. Their BYOB policy is a big draw - they even have cup holders next to some of the games. Most of the games you can play are also for sale, so you can take some of the fun home with you!
The amazing Zilker Botanical Garden overlooks the Zilker Park fields bordering Barton Springs Road. The garden is actually comprised of several different gardens, including the Cactus and Succulent, Xeriscape, Herb and Fragrance, Rose, Azalea, Butterfly and Taniguchi Gardens. Taniguchi is a beautiful Japanese landscape with a waterfall, running stream, lily ponds and wooden bridges. The lush, peaceful grounds are commonly perused by artists and writers searching for inspiration, and by others just looking for solitude amid the city.
This museum has grown into one of the most fabulous experiences for children in Austin. Find out about the development of children from birth to adolescence, climb a "time tower," and learn about everything from dinosaurs to computers. Special programs for children and their parents are regular parts of the museum's curriculum. Take tiny tots to the 2-and-under special explore time, or learn about multimedia with your teen. With excellent specialty programs and wonderful exhibits, this is a museum the whole family can enjoy.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Research Center was established by Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of the United States from 1963-1969. This fabulous garden bearing her name brims with native Texas plants in courtyards, terraces, arbors and meadows. Along with a fantastic children's center, visitors can explore a visitor's gallery, observation tower, cafe, gift store and nature trails. Enjoy award-winning architecture and fabulous scenery in this wonderful garden spot.
Charles Umlauf (1911-1994), one of the more famous Austin artists, was a prolific sculptor. This museum displays many of his works in a fantastic garden spot located close to Zilker Park and just minutes from downtown. His sculptures range from realism to abstraction and include families, religious figures, animals and mythological characters.
The Zilker Zephyr is a mini-train that takes visitors around the scenic and beautiful Lady Bird Lake and Barton Creek area of Austin. Suitable for people of all ages, this train is equally popular among kids and full-grown adults too! After all, who wouldn't like to get onto a green toy train and admire the wonders of the Zilker Metropolitan Park at a leisurely pace, along with some fun tunnels along the way? The ride lasts for approximately half an hour; call ahead for details.
Ever wondered what life was like on a 17th-century farm? Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms is where you can relive all of those days gone by at the carefully simulated theme areas. Whether it is an 1860s German Immigrant Farm, an 1880s Cotton Planter Farm, or an 1870s Texan Farm, all of these can be revisited thanks to the brilliant reconstruction of the architects. Check their website for more information on free admission days, site tours, exhibitions, historical reenactments and special days. The farms are partly wheelchair accessible.
TopGolf is a fun entertainment and recreation spot for people of all ages, from kids to adults. This golf course guarantees a lot of fun, with visitors being able to book bays for themselves. They also have membership and VIP passes available, in addition to organizing golfing summer camps for kids. The center is also home to a bar and restaurant that plays host to some fun and happening parties from time to time.
The Scottish Rite Children's Theatre aims to introduce children to the vibrant world of theater and also provide entertainment for these young ones. Since 1869, this theater has been showcasing brilliant enactments of fairy tales and other favorite children's stories. Apart from this, they have also been hosting social and cultural events. The winner of the 2006 B. Iden Payne Award for "Outstanding Production of a Play for Youth" and the Austin Family Magazine Poll: "Favorite Live Theatre For Children" 2005, 2006 and 2007, this theater is truly incomparable with other children's theaters.
A 35-foot (10.7 meters) bronze Lone Star sculpture greets visitors at the entrance of this epic museum. This place narrates the story of Texas, sharing its rich cultural heritage and traditions. The three floors of the impressive building present interactive exhibits, special effects shows and more. On the first floor, you will find a permanent exhibit called Encounters on the Land, which highlights the first meetings between Native Americans and European explorers. The second and third floors have exhibits that showcase the evolution of Texas from the time of its inception. The museum boasts a total of 17 media installations and over 700 artifacts, not to mention Austin's only IMAX Theater.