October 17, 2016

Austin, Texas

To be fair, I've only heard ya'll once. We spent the last two weeks near Austin, Texas and being as though it's the 'WEIRD' part of Texas I'm not surprised we didn't hear it more. That being said, those of you that know me would also know that I can appreciate some good ole' down home weirdness.

We stayed at Bastrop State Park about 50 minutes outside Austin. That meant it wasn't the easiest of drives to get into the city. We did attempt to stay closer but parks close to the city were jam packed because of ACL (Austin City Limits) which is a huge music festival. Nevertheless, we still made the trek in 4 or so times and sucked every ounce of Austin out of the city each day we did. You know I don't want to miss a single thing. Of course the drive in meant gas and a lot of it so we did try to steer towards the el' cheapo route of things to do/see if you know what I mean.

Below are my favorites:

Hope Outdoor Gallery: We came here the first day we got to the city. We started driving without a plan and this was before we realized just how far it was. It was already late in the day so we just decided to do a driving tour. We hit up Hope Outdoor Gallery for some graffiti. I mean what else do tourists do in Austin, TX but go see some reallllllly cool graffiti?! Just kidding, I didn't necessarily think that was normal when sightseeing but that's why I thought it was so incredible about it.

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

Austin, TX

SoCo Area:  One walkable street. Cool funky shops. Friendly people. Browsing Acceptable. Right. Up. My. Alley. Nuff said.
Austin, TX
Our first cactus. Had to snap a pic with it!

What's a trip to TX without a boot shop?!

Zilker Park: Every area of this place just made me want more of it. From Barton Springs Pool to Zilker Botanical Gardens to the awesome playground. I could've gone back every day and been satisfied. I would totally want to live near it.

Zilker Botanical Gardens has an amazing storytime! They read a story at the entrance and then they take everyone on a walk through the gardens stopping to read books along the way. It was beautiful!

She is craving "friends" and sat and spoke to everyone she saw. 
The train at Zilker Park- super cheap and a great way to see more of the park.

The random guy serenading us on the train route. Pretty cool!
Barton Springs Pool- Freezing, but awesome. The view of the city in the background pretty cool.

Beauitful Barton Springs Pool

Austin Nature and Science Center: Free, beautiful and buzzing with excitement. Literally, buzzing. They have a swarm of honeybees in house. It was super cool. My favorite was the time we spent in the dino dig. My kids could've stayed their digging up dinos all day.

The Thinkery: Amazeballs. Reno yelled to me while running off to another exhibit, "This. Is. The. Best. Place. Ever!!!!!!!" Folks, I don't take that lightly. The kid has something to complain about every time we go anywhere. All of our kids loved it. Shoot. I loved it, too. They have a giant lite brite room. What 1980s kid wouldn't think that is the coolest thing EVER? They also have a ginormous playground, a painting area, wax creation area, rocket making, battery making, water play, kitchen and much much more! The place is incredibly pricey at $10 per person with discounts for members, but they have a community night every Wednesday that is free from 4-8pm. DING DING DING! We were in! They are smart-- that community night made me want to be a member.

Round Rock Chalk Walk: So this isn't IN Austin but we found an event where artists use chalk as their medium and paint on the sidewalks in the downtown area of Round Rock (north of Austin). It was something different to do and a new place outside of Austin to explore that still has reasonably priced housing (we are always on the lookout). We could tell that most of the people there lived in the community and it was just a nice feel. A sense of community is definitely something I'm missing while on the road. There were vendors everywhere of all sorts with live music, food trucks, the artwork, of course and just a fun Friday night out. Woot woot. We don't get many of those. Little Miss C also got her face painted. She went from thinking she was a superstar and posing to full on karate. A police officer even stopped us to tell us she should be the entertainment for the night. Too funny!


McKinney Falls State Park: This is where we originally wanted to stay when coming to Austin. It too was completely booked. We decided to go for a few hours. We hiked to both falls and really got to ooh and aah over it's natural beauty. It was the first time Edson had an Ahhh moment. You know the moment, right? When you sit down on the side of a rock, look over at some natural beauty with your calm family in tow and at just the right moment you let out a sigh and a big "Ahhhhh." It was the first time I'd seen E be like 'Ok, this is why we did all this craziness." That made me happy.

Trying to save this girl from going over! She wanted to jump right in!
Cayenne's BUTT CHEEKS. So proud.
Those were my favorites in/around Austin. My favorite memory from this leg of the trip one might ask? We were roasting marshmallows one night while at Bastrop State Park. We were all done and apparently Reno had taken bites of a couple marshmallows and stuck them together like "butt cheeks". Well Cayenne wanted to do the same. I told her we'd have more tomorrow and she wasn't accepting that. She spent the next 30 minutes screaming "I WANT BUTT CHEEKS!" and crying hysterically. From that day on we now lovingly call two marshmallows stuck together "butt cheeks". Note: This mama didn't cave and give her one. She had to get over it and have one the next night.

We did do a lot more than I listed above as this was the place we've spent the most time thus far on our big adventure. I decided not to highlight those because they weren't necessarily my fav. We took the Rest in Peace Tour at the Capitol building. It was a tour only given in October around all the people that have died there, ghost stories and such that the boys enjoyed. They even recognized people in  paintings from the Texas history we've been reading about which was neat (and I gave myself a pat on the back). We went to Jacob's Well, too. I honestly wasn't super impressed with that one. I would've preferred to visit Hamilton Pool Preserve but it wasn't along the route when we were headed out so we'll save that for next time.

An old water fountain at the Capitol building.
They recognized Santa Anna from the Battle at the Alamo

We left Bastrop/Austin on October 7th so I've got some catching up to do. See you in the next post!

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