Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Austin June Summer Fun

Flying high at our neighborhood park.
A few months ago, the older 3 Brownies and I made a summer bucket list.  Much of that list consisted of some of Texas' best swimming holes.  We made it to 3 of the places on this list, plus a few more to boot.

In the Texas summer heat, staying cool in the springs is one of the only ways we can enjoy the outdoors, although finding some nice shade in the awesome parks around here will also do, especially in the hours before noon or just before dusk.

Our Austin June Fun
Giving Sid some lovin'!
We kicked off June by celebrating Austin's own celebrity dog, Sid's recovery from an unfortunate accident.  We had been following Sid on Instagram and Facebook for over a year and were happy to finally meet him and under such celebratory circumstances.  As the sun set, we were treated to a show by talented performers, Tian and Travis.

Our first swimming hole of the summer was Jacob's Well.  We were drawn to this location because of the gorgeous photos we had seen online. We went on a weekday just before school was out, so it wasn't too busy.  There isn't a lot of space to swim around.  It's better suited for hanging out and keeping cool, watching everyone take turns diving.  The older Brownies got to dive, but if you go when it's busy, there may be park rangers there, reminding people that diving is forbidden.  Click here for the creepy scuba diving stories.

Petting a bunny at Little Stacy
Friends picked the perfect park for a summer birthday party. With lots of natural shade and a wading pool, Little Stacy Park was a cool place for a petting zoo celebration.

Another great shady park is Garrison Park in South Austin. Even on warm mornings, there is plenty of shade and a cool breeze running through the park.  We haven't been to the pool yet, but it looks fun, diving board included.

Garrison Park
Rio Vista Dam in San Marcos
We met up with some friends to play at Children's Park in San Marcos, just south of Austin.  **Be aware, Children's Park location is not correct on Google maps. It shows the park by the library, but actually, it's southwest of there. The link here provides the correct location.**  This park was not shady or cool, so we made the short walk along the railroad tracks to the Rio Vista Dam area. What a fun place!

Splash Pad at Pease Park
Thanks to our church's summer student event, we got to explore Pease Park near downtown.  We had been there once before, but had just walked around the playscape briefly. This park has a great splashpad, vast playscapes, and beautiful walking/biking trails that connect to Townlake and Shoal Creek trails. The entire family enjoyed this park.

Last year, we enjoyed Deep Eddy several times. After going twice in June, I've decided this is the most stress-free place for me to take the kids. No hiking, plenty of shade, beach-entry pool, and attentive lifeguards allow me to truly relax or visit with friends while swimming here.  We pack lots of drinks and keep a few snacks in my bag. Even though the signs say not to bring in sugary drinks and food, the lifeguard told us that staying hydrated is more important, so they've always allowed us to bring in Gatorade or tea and some simple snacks. We are very careful to pick up trash and even our crumbs!

Our great Father's Day Adventure was a hike to Sculpture Falls.  Read my previous blog entry for all the details.

Umlaf Sculpture Gardens
After having lived here two years, we finally made it to the Umlaf Sculpture Gardens downtown, taking advantage of free summer visits. We enjoyed our time there, met a new special friend, and plan to go back when it's cooler.

We managed one visit to the Thinkery. With our annual pass, it's easy to go spend a couple of hours here and there.  We intend on going once a week in July.  If we aren't going to get wet, indoors is the best place to be in Austin summers.  We could barely peel Travis away from the circuit display, then both boys had a ball cooking up "dinner" for their siblings and me.

"Cooking" at Thinkery
Even though money is extremely tight this summer, we have been able to have a great time and stay cool. You can't live in this town and say you're bored!  We are looking forward to revisiting some of these places during the month of July, as well as hitting the Blanton Art Museum, Hamilton Pool, Lake Travis, and the new Townlake Boardwalk.

Click here to see more photos than you probably care to peruse.

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