Free Fun in Austin: Date Night Edition (September 18-21, 2014)

 Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Unplugged at The Grove: Jonathan Tyler
KGSR's Unplugged at the Grove celebrates its LAST SHOW for the season this Thursday with a performance by Jonathan Tyler. A Texas native playing since 2007, Jonathan was awarded "Best Male Vocalist" by the Dallas Observer and his take on The Archies' song "Sugar, Sugar" is the current theme song for TLC's hit Cake Boss. Please note, additional free parking is available at Bicycle Sports Shop and at the southeast corner of Barton Springs & Lamar. Show starts at 8pm. FREE! (Shady Grove, 1624 Barton Springs Rd., Austin, TX 78704)

Nutty Idol Kasual Karaoke
Starting at 8:30pm and lasting until midnight, Nutty Brown Cafe will be hosting its very own karaoke night, with a contest for prizes being held at at 10pm. 
Join their singing bartender, KC Bruce Newman, and a bunch of other shameless karaoke singers for your favorite songs. FREE!  (Nutty Brown Cafe, 12225 Highway 290 West, Austin)

Soul Thursdays at The Blackheart with ROXY ROCA and Mrs. Glass
This dynamite duo of bands is still rocking their residency at the Blackheart every Thursday by serving up lots of booty-shaking and feel good soul. These acts are high energy with talented front men who don't disappoint. Show starts at 9:30pm. FREE! (The Blackheart, 86 Rainey, Austin)

Variety Block Party at The New Movement
Looking for a fun and unpredictable evening? Check out this "anything-goes open mic" night at The New Movement 9:30-11pm. The show is hosted by Terance McDavid and features standup, sketch, and performance art (maybe!). Let the FREE fun begin! (The New Movement, 616 Lavaca St, Austin)

Grand Opening Gallery 702
Gallery 702, Austin’s newest destination for collectible contemporary art is hosting a Grand Opening celebration this Thursday with guest appearances by artists, D.K. Richardson, Bobbi Bennett, and Joyce DiBona. The evening will be dedicated to art, drinks, and great conversation. The party starts at 7pm and lasts until about 9pm. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP by emailing (Gallery 702, 702 San Antonio Street, Austin)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Annual Talk Like a Pirate Day Party at Opal Divine’s
Arrr Matey! Grab your lucky eye patch and head over to Opal Divine's to join their Pirate Day celebration from 7-11:30pm. Included in the festivities will be music from The Swishbucklers, The Jolly Garogers, and Shoulders. Come dressed in your pirate best- there will be $100 prizes for Best Dressed Pirate and Best Dressed Wench Costumes. 
FREE! (Opal Divine's Penn Field, 3601 S Congress Ave, Austin)

Head for the Hill's: Sour Bridges
Hill's Cafe is back again with their FREE Friday music series featuring Sour Bridges this Friday, from 7-9pm. In case you missed their performance at UtopiaFest, here's your second chance to hear their version of "browngrass." What's browngrass you ask? According to Sour Bridges, it's "like bluegrass, but dirtier." Enough said. (Hill's Cafe, 4700 South Congress, Austin)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday Night Concert Series at Hill Country Galleria
Enjoy the cooler weather this weekend and head out to the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave to catch Kendall Beard play as part of their weekend concert series. You might recognize her from gracing this month's cover of Rockstar Magazine, or perhaps her American Idol tryout that generated quite a bit of buzz around town. You're welcome to bring a blanket, chairs, and food will be available nearby. Saturday, from 7-9pm. 
FREE!  (Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Galleria Blvd, Bee Cave)

The Making of Gone With the Wind
While this might not be at the top of your man's list, this FREE exhibition is a must-see for avid movie buffs. Celebrating 75 years, you're invited on a tour behind-the-scenes of the landmark film Gone With the Wind. With costumes, paintings, photographs and more, the exhibit chronologically tells the story of the production through the 12th annual Academy Awards where the film became the first to win more than five Oscars. Hours for the exhibit are 10am to 5pm Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 10am to 7pm Thursday and noon to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. (Harry Ransom Center, 21st and Guadalupe Streets, Austin)

SURE THING Comedy Show
SURE THING comedy show at the original Austin Java, 8pm. Headliners include performers seen on Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Letterman, and more, as well as the city's best comics on the rise, plus special out-of-town guests. Hosted by Duncan Carson and Brendan K. O'Grady. These events have been filling up quickly so be sure to get there early! Doors open at 7:30pm. FREE! (Austin Java Parkway, 1206 Parkway, Austin)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

FREE Museum Day (Multiple Locations)
This Sunday is the 17th annual FREE Museum Day with more than 35 institutions participating. If you've ever wanted to check out a new museum or just want to have fun museum-hopping with friends, here's your chance! For a rundown of all the places you can go, head over here.

KUTX Austin FREE MUSIC SERIES at Uncle Billy's Brewery & BBQ 
Sunday music series 2-6pm, with DJ Mixer Rogers spinning and live music by Reed Turner at 4pm. Oozing an eclectic blend of Folk/Rock/Americana this Austin-native singer/songwriter is celebrating his sophomore album with a stop at Uncle Billy's. RSVP for FREE tickets. (Uncle Billy's Brewery, 1530 Barton Springs Road, Austin)

Heather Schuck is the CEO of the children's lifestyle brand, Glamajama. When she's not scheming "glama" world domination or mentoring young designers, you can find her in her front yard chasing her three children with a garden hose. Connect with her at glamaLIFE or on Facebook


Texas Teen Book Festival

The Austin Teen Book Festival is now the Texas Teen Book Festival, but it's still free! 

The Texas Teen Book Festival, in conjunction with the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation, in partnership with BookPeople and venue sponsor St. Edward’s University, is pleased to present the Texas Teen Book Festival, a free one-day event that celebrates the teen reading experience by inviting teens to visit with many of the most popular and critically acclaimed young adult authors. 

This year's festival will feature 29 authors with an expected attendance of more than 4,000 teens, parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians from across the state.

Date: Saturday, October 18, 2014

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Location: Saint Edward’s University, 3001 South Congress, Austin, TX 78704

Featured Authors:

Opening – James Dashner (The Maze Runner and The Rule of Thought)

Lunch – A.S. King (Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future) and Andrew Smith (100 Sideways Miles)

Closing – Lauren Oliver (Delirium and Panic)

Special Talk – Scott Westerfeld (Uglies and Afterworlds)

Writing Workshops – Austin Kleon (Show Your Work!) and St. Edward’s humanities scholars

Texas Throwdown Game Show: Marie Lu, Paolo Bacigalupi, Jason Reynolds, Simmone Howell,

Joelle Charbonneau, and Frank Portman

For more information, visit the Texas Teen Book Festival website. You can find the schedule here.


Fall Family Intro to Hiking in Austin Program

Metz Recreation Center invites Austin families with children age 5 and up to explore the great outdoors with an experienced guide!  Join Fall Family Intro to Hiking in Austin to adventure into some of the most beautiful parks in town!  This free program will be offered every Tuesday, September 23 to October 28, 2014, from 6 - 7:30 p.m.

To register your family, contact Cindy Abbott at 


Q&A with Children's Author Divya Srinivasan

Wondering what to do this weekend? Here's a good idea: Head over to BookPeople on Saturday at 3 PM to help author and Austinite Divya Srinivasan celebrate the release of Little Owl's Day, her latest from Viking Children's. Her first two books for children, Little Owl's Night and Octopus Alone, were released in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The sequel to Little Owl's Night, Little Owl's Day follows the little owl's adventures as he learns all about the forest by day, when he is normally asleep.

Along with being an author, Divya is also an artist, animator, illustrator and app creator, and she both writes and illustrates her books. The images she creates — the owls, foxes, raccoons, squirrels, all kinds of fish and sea animals, and the landscapes where these characters live — are simultaneously simple and vivid, childlike yet sophisticated, and gorgeous.

Children's book author
Divya Srinivasan
Her book trailers are really fun to watch with kids, too. She has partnered with local experimental pop band The Octopus Project in creating trailers for Little Owl's Night, Octopus Alone, and Little Owl's Day. Each trailer features fun, animated vignettes from the books, with the band's "joyous party music" grooving and effervescing throughout. The music in the Little Owl's Night trailer really elicits the quiet sense of wonder you get from being outside under the nighttime sky, and the Octopus Alone music actually gives you a sense of being underwater, with reeds swishing in the current and bubbles popping around you. (Divya's Vimeo page is full of lots of other cool videos to explore, too.)

Divya has posted some fun coloring pages from Little Owl's Day that you can download for your kids. She also has coloring pages, wallpapers and mini-posters from Octopus Alone and wallpapers from Little Owl's Night available for download.

Recently, I had the pleasure of emailing with Divya about her latest book and her career as a writer and artist. Our Q&A follows, below, but first, here is information about her BookPeople event:

Book Release Party and Signing for Little Owl's Day:
603 N. Lamar Blvd.
Austin, TX 78703
Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, 3:00 PM
Ph. 512-472-5050

*NOTE: Little Owl's Day will be available at the event for $16.99 (hardcover); you can order your copy ahead of time, online or in the store, and it will be waiting for you at the register on the day of the event. Divya will be doing a quick drawing demonstration before signing books. There will be cupcakes, Divya's mom’s baklava, and buttons, and BookPeople will provide a craft for the kids.

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Q&A with Divya Srinivasan

How did you get into writing children's books? What did you do before becoming a children's book author/illustrator? Were you a writer or an artist first, or both?

I’ve been a freelance illustrator and animator since 1999. I was an animator on Richard Linklater’s movie Waking Life, and I was doing illustration for New Yorker magazine from 2003 until a couple years ago. I’ve been fortunate to work with some really great clients, including Weird Al Yankovic, This American Life, They Might Be Giants, Sufjan Stevens, and Sundance Channel. I did a music video for Austin band The Octopus Project in 2008, and they’ve become great friends whose music I have been able to use for my picture book trailers. As for writing, I’ve always kept a journal, but before Little Owl’s Night, I hadn’t tried to get any of my writing published.

At the end of 2009, I was frustrated at not having enough freelance work, and decided to try writing and illustrating a picture book. First I thought of a setting that seemed pretty, a little mysterious. In about two months, I had a version of Little Owl’s Night that I sent to some people who knew my work and were interested in seeing picture book ideas I might have. A couple of friends who had been published were also kind enough to forward my book to their editors to see if they knew picture book editors who might be interested. And that’s how I found my current editor.

How do you get into the mind of a child to know how to make your books so fun and readable for kids?

I have a post-it note on the wall in front of my desk that reads, “Make something I love and some place Ramya wants to live.” Ramya is my sister. I find myself trying to make things that we would have been excited about when we were kids and that we’d be excited about now, for that matter. Pretty much, if I’m having fun with what I’m working on, I feel I’m on the right track. I’m so glad you find my books fun and readable for kids! One of my favorite things is playing with the words, editing down, and seeing what sounds nice to say aloud.

What age of children are your books intended for?

I didn’t think about specific ages for the books, but the publishers have marked Little Owl’s Night and Octopus Alone to be for children ages 3–5. But I’ve heard from a lot of people who read the books to their infants, and I’ve done school visits with first- and second-graders. That the books can appeal to babies and schoolchildren makes me really happy. Octopus Alone has a slightly longer story than the Little Owl books, but I hoped that even very young children would be able to enjoy the illustrations.

Tell me about any honors, awards or accolades you've received. (I saw Little Owl's Night prominently featured in a books catalog sent home from my daughter's school!)

I’m not sure of any honors or awards I’ve collected lately, but I’ve had some good reviews in the New York Times and Boston Globe. You can see my reviews collected on the book websites:
Thank you so much, Divya!

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If you're interested in other upcoming children's events at BookPeople, here are just a few:
Check the bookstore's events calendar for more information about these and other upcoming events.

Catherine A. Morris is a writer as well as a once-and-future teacher, musician, jogger and triathlete living in southwest Austin, Texas. Yes, many of her former passions and pastimes have given way, at least for now, to her current, main passion and pastime: caring for her two toddlers, Pearl and Zephyr. Pearl and Zeph make Catherine and her husband laugh (and cry) on a daily basis, and give Catherine plenty of good reasons to seek out free, fun activities to keep everyone alive, engaged and happy from one moment to the next.


Austin Welcomes Hike it Baby

 Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Looking to get outside with your little one and make new friends while you're at it? Check out Hike it Baby, a national organization dedicated to helping families hit the trails and venture out for urban strolls, 
with newborns to toddlers in tow.

Founded last year in Portland, Oregon, Hike it Baby has become a national organization with branches from Anchorage to Asheville, and Nashville to Milwaukee... and now Austin! The hikes are always free and anyone can get involved. Join a hike, lead a hike, or start your own branch in another city. 

The premise of the group is simple: Get out into nature with your baby and breathe the fresh air, as often as you can. Primarily, hikes are led by volunteer moms, but there are dads in the mix as well.  All parents are welcome to participate or to lead their own hikes. 

“Our group was created to help a new mom when she feels ready to get out moving, not when a doctor says she’s ready,” says Hike it Baby Founder, Shanti Hodges. “When my son was 3 weeks old I just felt so antsy. I knew I wouldn’t be able to wait until the 6 week visit to the doctor... so I just asked some women in a new mama group if they wanted to go walking with me. My first walk was about half a mile but I remember feeling so energized and alive after that.” 
How difficult are the hikes? Hike it Baby offers a variety of hikes each month. If you are seeking a specific level of difficulty (super hard or slow and easy), simply post a request and a suitable hike will be set up by the Branch Lead or a regular Hike it Baby Lead. Because any member can lead a hike, a whole range are planned.  Admins, who approve each hike, also assure that different levels of hikes are being scheduled.

What are the rules for leading? Simply go on one hike and learn about the Hike it Baby guidelines, then visit the website and post a hike. The great thing about Hike it Baby is that there’s a strong emphasis on “leave no mama behind,” so all of the hikes are about the journey, not the destination, or how fast you get there. Some hikes will move because it will be all babywearing mamas ready to hike hard. Others are meandering, with toddlers mixed into the equation. Either way, it’s always an amazing way to connect with other parents and to have grown up conversation, while engaging in good old fashioned physical fun. 

Is Hike it Baby only about hikes?  Nope! The private Facebook group and the website offer tons of advice on getting out there, from where to camp with your newborn to trail suggestions. Trying to figure out what frame backpack carrier you should buy? Ask the group and you’ll get advice from real people who are trying products out on the trails every day. Also, there are discounts from companies who have hike-friendly baby products and, for those who lead hikes, a chance to win great prizes.

While Hike it Baby Austin is just ramping up, there have already been a number of hikes to popular spots like Walnut Creek, Brushy Creek Lake Park, Lower Bull Creek Greenbelt, Lady Bird Lake Trail. And there are more hikes coming up! The goal is to have at least 1-2 hikes a week this year and, by 2015, hikes at least 5 times a week.

Unlike a traditional new mom group, Hike it Baby welcomes everyone into the fold. Pregnant women, dads, grandparents, aunt and uncles, nannies and friends. Anyone who wants to get the baby outside to breathe fresh air is welcome! So, jump on the website and join the Facebook group and come out and hike with us.

This post was contributed by Ginny Gustin. Ginny and her husband, Phil, live in Round Rock. Their daughter, Maddy, was born in February 2014 and Ginny loves being able to stay home with her. She enjoys cycling, reading, and hiking with her family. Ginny is very excited to bring Hike It Baby to Austin and looks forward to meeting moms and dads out on the trails!
For more information, please contact her at

Have older kids?  Check out this free family hiking program.


Just Between Friends Consignment Sale Coupons (Get in Free!)

There are two Just Between Friends consignment events coming up, and we have coupons for you to get in free!

First up, Just Between Friends North Austin will be held at the Pflugerville Lion's Club in downtown Pflugerville, September 18-20, 2014.

The schedule:

  • Thursday, September 18, from 5:30 - 9 p.m. If you do not qualify for free pre-sale shopping, you can still shop during Prime Time for $10/adult.
  • Thursday, September 18, from 6:30 - 9 p.m. This opportunity allows first time parents (expecting or adopting), teachers (with ID or pay stub - includes public, private, or daycares), and military (with ID) to get FREE admission to the pre-sale. To pre-register, go here and create a free account. Then, click on the pink "Sign up" button under the listing for the North Austin sale.  Select the group that qualifies you to pre-shop and click "Confirm sign up." Each first time parent who registers and qualifies may bring one guest with them for FREE. Additional guests may join them for $10/guest. 
  • Friday, September 19, from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. $3 admission or FREE with this coupon!
  • Saturday, September 20, from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. FREE Admission, no coupon necessary. Most items will be 50% off.
For more information, visit the Just Between Friends North Austin website or Facebook page.  

Pflugerville Lion's Club

500 N. Railroad Avenue
Pflugerville, TX 78660

Next month, you can shop at the Just Between Friends Georgetown/Round Rock event at the Old Settlers Association in Round Rock, October 22 - 25, 2014.

The schedule:

  • Wednesday, October 22, from 6-9 p.m. Prime-Time Pre-Sale Shopping is open to the public for $10 admission. (No children allowed, except for nursing infants under the age of 1, who are carried by you or in a sling/carrier.)
  • Wednesday, October 22, from 7-9 p.m. This opportunity allows first time parents (expecting or adopting), expectant moms, first time grandparents, teachers (with ID or pay stub - includes public, private, or daycares), foster parents (with documentation) and military (with ID) to get FREE admission to the pre-sale.
  • Thursday, October 23, from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m. Open to the public for $5 admission or FREE with this coupon.
  • Friday, October 24, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. Open To the public. FREE admission, no coupon necessary.
  • Friday, October 23, from 5-7 p.m. Open to the public for the 1/2 Price Presale. FREE admission!
  • Saturday, October 25, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. 1/2 Price Sale Day. Open to the public with FREE admission!
For more information, visit the Just Between Friends Georgetown/Round Rock website or Facebook page

Old Settlers Assocation
3300 E Palm Valley Blvd

Round Rock, TX 78665


Homeschool Day at the Bullock Museum

Homeschool educators and their students are invited to explore the Bullock Museum on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Admission to the Museum exhibits will be free to all homeschoolers, chaperones, and teachers, but you still need to get an exhibit admission sticker at the ticketing counter. Also, make sure to stop by the Resource Table for new activities and lesson plans created just for this event. No reservations required -- drop in anytime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. 

This fall's Homeschool Day will help your students discover American Indian heritage in Texas through special lesson plans, curriculum-based activities, and more.

All day:
  • Explore Museum exhibits with resources in-hand: a scavenger hunt for kids seven and under, and a journal designed for students ages eight and up to help them reflect on the American Indian experience, past and present.
  • Pick up lesson plans and student worksheets focused on American Indian heritage that include different activities for every age group.
  • Drop by the classrooms to complete two projects for students to take home.
  • Engage in conversation and interact with hands-on objects in Museum exhibits, as facilitated by Museum volunteers.
  • From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., find out how online resources and activities from KLRU-PBS can supplement your at-home curriculum.
Scheduled Activities:
  • Create Your Own... (10 a.m., 1 p.m.): Discover the stories behind ancient rock art (10 a.m.) or bison hide paintings (1 p.m.). This art-making workshop is appropriate for kids ages 7 and up and lasts about 25 minutes. Space is limited and free tickets are first come, first served.
  • Float Your Canoe (11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m.): Students ages 7 and up will learn what it takes to construct a canoe that floats and do a short science experiment in this 25-minute classroom session presented by Central Texas Discover Engineering. Space is limited and free tickets are first come, first served.
  • American Indian Stories (11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.): This 30-minute story time for younger students, ages 6 and under, will feature stories about American Indians in Texas and a take-home art project.
Home school families can also receive discounted school group rates for Exhibit, IMAX® Theatre, and Texas Spirit Theater admissions. 

For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions or call 512-936-4682.

Bullock Texas State History Museum
1800 N. Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas

For more Homeschool Days in Texas, click here.


Talk Like a Pirate for Free Krispy Kreme

Friday, September 19, 2014 is Talk Like a Pirate Day. In honor of that special occasion, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is rewarding customers who talk like a pirate with one free original glazed doughnut. If you visit a Krispy Kreme store dressed like a pirate on September 19, you will receive one free dozen original glazed doughnuts!

To claim yer bounty on September 19, ye must:
  • Visit a participating Krispy Kreme shop and talk like a pirate for one FREE Original Glazed doughnut.
  • Visit a participating Krispy Kreme location in full pirate costume for one FREE dozen Original Glazed doughnuts. Qualifying pirate costumes must include three or more of the following items: 
    • Eye Patch
    • Pirate Hat
    • Bandana
    • Peg Leg
    • Parrot on Shoulder
    • Pirate Shirt / Loose white shirt
    • Knickers
    • Leather Belt
    • Silver and gold necklaces and earrings
    • Pirate Hook
    • Pointy black boots or ragged brown sandals
Offer good for one free doughnut per customer who talks like a pirate to a Krispy Kreme team member at a participating shop. One free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts per customer who wears a full pirate costume into a participating Krispy Kreme location. Redeemable on September 19, 2014 only at participating Krispy Kreme US locations.

There are two Krispy Kreme locations in Austin (Stassney and Research) and one in San Marcos

For more information, visit the Krispy Kreme website or Facebook event page. If you need help putting together a pirate costume, visit the website to download an eye patch.


2014 Austin Museum Day

 Monday, September 15, 2014

L to R: Elisabet Ney Museum, Pioneer Farms, Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry,
Laguna Gloria, LBJ Presidential Library

The Austin Museum Partnership is proud to host the 17th annual Austin Museum Day, ­a free, community­-wide rediscovery of Austin museums. On Sunday, September 21, 2014, take the entire family out to enjoy local exhibits and activities at more than 35 participating institutions... for free!

Special activities planned include a living history tour of downtown Austin, hands-on fun at the Thinkery, weaving on a loom at the Williamson Museum, playing outdoor games at the French Legation, and eating tacos shot from a taco cannon at the O. Henry and Susanna Dickinson Museums!

Find information and plan your day with the official Austin Museum Day 2014 Mobile Guide. You may also like to use this handy map of participating museums!

Participating museums:

Austin History Center
810 Guadalupe St.
(512) 974­-7480
12pm – 6pm

Enjoy two exhibits: Backwards in High Heels: Getting Women Elected, 1842­1990 in the main exhibit hall and the LAST DAY for Latinas in the Shadow of the Live Music Capital of the World. Visit the Center at 2pm for a presentation by local author Debra Winegarten about Oveta Culp Hobby and a discussion about women in politics.

Austin Nature and Science Center (review)
301 Nature Center Dr.
(512) 974­-3888
12pm - 4pm

Check out all kinds of bugs under a microscope, meet a hissing cockroach, and learn from entomologists (insect experts). Cheer for your favorite bug in the pillbug races!

Austin Tour Guide Association
Brushy Square on 5th St.; 
Congress Avenue at 11th St.
1pm ­- 4pm

Free 20-minute walking tours at both locations.

Blanton Museum of Art (review)
200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd.
(512) 471­-7324
1pm - 4pm

It’s raining cats and dogs at the Blanton Museum of Art! View the special exhibition, In The Company of Cats and Dogs, to see how artists have created images of these furry companions for ages, spanning from ancient Egypt to the present. Participate in special art­making and looking activities designed to spark your creativity. Admissions and all activities are free.

Bullock Texas State History Museum (review)
1800 N. Congress Ave.
(512) 936­-8746
12pm -­ 6pm

Did you know that Texas has a state vegetable and a state flying mammal? At the Bullock Museum, discover the wide variety of symbols that represent the state with hands­-on activities perfect for ages 5 and up, including art making, performances, and more! 

Public Art Crawl with Art in Public Places & Landmarks
301 W. 2nd Street
(512) 974­-7700
10 am -­ noon

Discover new public art downtown! The crawl starts at City Hall and showcases new artworks along 2nd Street from the Art in Public Places collection. Meet on the southwest side of City Hall Plaza at 10 am for a guided walking tour.

Elisabet Ney Museum (review)
304 E 44th St.
(512) 458­-2255
12pm - 5pm

The historic Elisabet Ney Museum will host Portraiture in the Park! Get a free caricature, make a cyanotype portrait, create masks of your friends and family, have a portrait bust made of you in a photo booth, write word portraits, watch stone portrait carving, and much more. Feel free to picnic. Food and dessert trucks will be on site.

French Legation Museum
802 San Marcos St.
(512) 472-­8180

Bring a picnic and enjoy games on the lawn at the historic French Legation Museum. Take a free tour of the oldest existing home in Austin, built in 1841 by the French chargé d'affaires to the Republic of Texas. Then try your luck at Marbles and, perhaps, Pétanque.

George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center (review)
1165 Angelina St.
(512) 974-­4926
1pm­ - 4pm

The Carver Museum and Cultural Center and the Carver Genealogy Center invite you to a “FAMILY AFFAIR.” Learn and share about your family, my family and their family. Record oral histories, start a family tree, and listen to stories from Austin family members. 

The German Free School
507 E. 10th St.
(512) 467­-4569
12pm – 4pm

Guided tours of German Free School building constructed by hand labor in 1857, the first Austin school chartered by Texas Legislature and forerunner to public education. View German ­Texan historical displays and films, and an actor portrayal of Joseph Hannig, husband of Alamo survivor Susanna Dickinson.

Harry Ransom Center
300 West 21st Street
(512­) 471-­8944
12pm - 5pm

Visit The Making of Gone With The Wind to discover surprising stories about the making of this quintessential film and why it remains influential and controversial 75 years later. The exhibition will include over 300 original items from the Selznick archive housed at the Ransom Center including behind­-the­-scenes photographs, costumes, fan mail, and more. Free public tours every hour, from noon to 4.

Humanities Texas Byrne-Reed House
1410 Rio Grande Street
(512) 440-­1991
10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Come tour the historic Byrne­-Reed House, learn about Humanities Texas public programs, and view the traveling exhibition, Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy, created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library, Texas State University.

Jourdan­-Bachman Pioneer Farms (review)
10621 Pioneer Farms Dr.
(512) 837­-1215
10am ­- 5pm

TRUE TEXAS HISTORY: Explore the early days of the Lone Star State at Central Texas' premier living­ history park and museum with new exhibits and displays, historical reenactments and family fun. See longhorn cattle on the Chisholm Trail, original Austin carriages from the 1800s, a must­see Tonkawa Indian exhibit, artisans, food, and more.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (review)
4801 La Crosse Ave.
(512) 232­-0100
9am -­ 5pm

Come enjoy Austin Museum Day at the new Luci and Ian Family Garden. Discover nature art, hear a story, and go on a scavenger hunt. Enjoy a BIG Tic­Tac­Toe game along with bubbles and Hula Hoops in the play lawn. Free admission. Come on out and play!

Landmarks, Public Art Program of UT
Perry­ Castañeda Library at 21st and Speedway
Tours at 11am and 1pm

Join Landmarks for an hour­-long, docent-­led walking tour of a selection of modern and contemporary works in the public art collection on the campus of The University of Texas at Austin. All are welcome to attend. Tours start at 11am and 1pm at the Joel Perlman sculpture, Square Tilt, at the entrance to the Perry­ Castañeda Library at 21st and Speedway.

LBJ Presidential Library (review)
2313 Red River
(512) 721­-0200
9am ­- 5pm

Experience the 1960s at the LBJ Library’s exhibit Sixty from the’60s. See original lyrics written by Bob Dylan, a satellite, astronaut Buzz Aldrin’s headset, an original Peanuts comic strip, and more. At 2 pm, enjoy a performance by the Pollyanna Theatre Company: Liberty! Equality! And Fireworks! And at 3 pm, free gelato for each visitor.

Mexican American Cultural Center
600 River St.
(512) 974­-3772
Noon­ - 5pm

See two gallery spaces, which feature local, regional, and national Latino artists. In the Coronado Gallery, visit Aliento Tequila / Photographs by Joel Salcido. In the Community Gallery, see works by George Necer. Tours are available on request.

Mexic-­Arte Museum
419 Congress Ave.
(512) 480-­9373
12pm ­-5pm

Take a bilingual tour, followed by all ages activities. On display is the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibition, and visitors may view a curated selection of altars made by members of the community. Learn about significance of Dia de los Muertos. Get excited with for the Viva la Vida Festival, and the annual Dia de los Muertos Parade, coming up on October 18th.

Neill-Cochran House Museum
2310 San Gabriel St.
(512) 524­2345
12pm -­ 5pm

Step into history! Historical re­enactors will interact with guests as they tour the museum to provide a glimpse into what life was like from the 1860s­-1900s. Admire the life and work of Abner Cook, master builder of the Neill­-Cochran House, displayed in a new exhibition. There will be an old-fashioned lemonade stand in the garden and lawn games out front!

O. Henry & Susanna Dickinson Museums at Brush Square
409 & 411 E. 5th St.
(512) 472-­1903
12pm - 5pm
Special activities: 1 - 3 p.m.

Catch the final days of the exhibit As Others See Us: O. Henry’s Unpublished Manuscript. Preview two forthcoming exhibits: an oral history project exploring the different ethnicities comprising Austin and a celebration of the 200th birthday of Susanna Dickinson, featuring the Come and Take It Cannon. Enjoy free tacos shot from the taco cannon and two sets of live music from the Austin Banjo Club.

Pump Project Art Complex
702 Shady Ln.
(512) 351-­8571
10am ­- 5pm

Come explore the fantastical landscape created by local contemporary artists Emily Cayton and Andrea Hyland. Pump Project's current exhibition, landSCOPING is an installation that plays with both scale and perspective to create a new and immersive environment that invites discovery.

Republic of Texas Museum and Headquarters
510 E Anderson Ln.
(512) 339­-1997
12pm ­- 5pm

Come visit the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Museum to experience life and culture during the Republic of Texas era 1836­-1846. Enjoy children’s hands­-on activities, diorama displays, Republic of Texas artifacts, and artwork. Gift shop items are also available.

Save Austin’s Cemeteries (review)
Oakwood Cemetery
1601 Navasota St.
(512) 917­-1666
9am - 1pm

Meet historic Austin residents and hear their fascinating stories at Oakwood Cemetery which dates to 1839. Save Austin’s Cemeteries volunteers will conduct tours at 9 am, 10 am, and 11 am and answer questions. Come and learn how Oakwood preserves the living history of our community.

The Sheffield Education Center (review)
2201 Barton Springs Rd.
(512) 481­1466
1pm -­ 4pm

Explore the new Year of the Salamander exhibit, including the unveiling of the Salamander Springs aquarium! Investigate demos of everyday activities that affect native salamander populations and identify what you can do around your home and garden to make a positive impact on their health.

Thinkery (review)
1830 Simond Ave.
(512) ­469­-6200

Join the first Austin Museum Day at the Thinkery and explore exhibit galleries focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). There will also be special activities all day in Innovators’ Workshop, Spark Shop, & Kitchen Lab.

Texas State Capitol (review)
1100 N. Congress
(512) 463­-0063
12pm -­ 3:30pm

The Texas Capitol features free guided tours of the statehouse throughout the afternoon. In addition, at 12:30 you can participate in the Women in Texas History Tour and hear the stories of trailblazing Texans whose stories are connected to the Capitol. At 2:30 join the Heroes of the Texas Revolution Tour and discover who helped Texas achieve independence.

Capitol Visitors Center (review)
112 E. 11th St.
(512) 305­-8400
12pm -­ 5pm

Ever wanted to see what the Capitol used to look like? Texas Archive of the Moving Image will be showcasing footage of the Capitol from their collection, including imagery dating back to the silent film era.

Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum
5805 N. Lamar Blvd.
(512) 424­-2396
12pm – 4pm

Learn about the Four Alerts and how DPS locates, rescues, and identifies missing persons. Interact with Forensic Artists, crime lab scientists, law enforcement officers, communications officers and emergency managers. See DPS vehicles, police dogs and the new mounted patrol. Live presentations! Informational scavenger hunt!

Texas Historical Commission
Instagram: @TxHistComm
9am - 9pm

Participate in the Austin Museum Day Instagram contest for a chance to win prizes! The contest is open 9am -­ 9pm. on Sunday, September 21.To play:

1. Follow @TxHistComm and @austinmuseums on Instagram

2. Take a photograph at one of the participating Austin Museum Day institutions

3. Post it to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!)

4. Tag the participating institution and use the hashtag #museumday2014 Multiple submissions are allowed. Contest closes at 9pm on Sunday, September 21; submissions posted after 9pm will not be included. A total of 3 winners – 1st through 3rd places—will be selected by a panel of judges that include staff from Texas Historical Commission and Austin Museum Partnership. Prizes to be announced. Winners will be announced the week following the contest.

Texas Medical Association
401 W. 15th St.
(512) 370­-1552
1pm­ - 4pm

Your only chance on a weekend to see the popular Bugs, Bones, and Blood exhibit on the history of forensic medicine. The deadly Texas City Disaster of 1947, response by Dallas’ Parkland Hospital physicians during the 1963 JFK tragedy, blood and DNA analysis, and forensics in fiction are among highlights.

Texas Military Forces Museum (review)
Camp Mabry
2200 West 35th St. Blg 6
(512) 782­-5659
10am - 4pm

From the Alamo to Afghanistan, the Texas Military Forces Museum tells the story of Texas forces from 1823 to the present day. Exhibits showcase artifacts, weapons, vehicles, uniforms and equipment, including a running Sherman tank. For Austin Museum Day there will be specialists on hand who will demonstrate leather working, Vietnam era weapons, Civil War uniforms and equipment and a plastic model activity.

Texas Music Museum
1009 E 11th St.
(512) 472­-8891
12pm ­- 5pm

Celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Texas Music Museum with guided tours and music of three extensive exhibits: East Austin’s African American musicians (front gallery) and Austin’s amazing Mexican American musicians (back gallery). Enjoy the current feature exhibit Texas Music from 1930s to Present (rock/pop/country/blues/jazz/and more) in the main gallery.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum (review)
605 Robert E Lee Rd.
(512) 445­-5582
10am ­- 4pm

See REFLECT, Margo Sawyer's career­spanning exhibition; 2014 UMLAUF Prize winner's Adam Crosson's industrial­-inspired installations; the permanent collection of 50 Charles Umlauf bronze & cast stone sculptures; and join the Museum for Sculptfest with the Texas Society of Sculptors’ booths and demonstrations.

The Contemporary Austin (review)
700 Congress Ave. and 3809 West 35th St.
(512) 458-­8191
12pm ­- 4pm

Visit the Jones Center for an art activity, refreshments on the roof, and a great city view. Inside, see the brand new Do Ho Suh exhibition and family films. At Laguna Gloria, hear instruments inspired by the art on view, take part in a Suh­-inspired art activity, check out faculty demonstrations, and get a snack at a food truck!

The Williamson Museum
716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown, Tx 78626
(512) 943­-1670
1pm ­- 4pm

From early pioneer families to modern artisans, citizens have created textiles for everything. Work your very own loom and weave a piece to take home. Explore textiles from past and present in Form Follows Function: Artisans of Williamson County, where you can also create kitchen band music and design your own brand.

Visual Arts Center
2300 Trinity St, Austin, TX 78712
(512) 471­-1108
12 - 5pm

Come prepared to explore the geography and geology inspired artworks of David Brooks by traveling back in time and space to unseen depths of the earth. There will be other exciting family activities in the upstairs gallery.

Women & Their Work
1710 Lavaca St.
(512) 477­-1064
12pm -­ 5pm

The 19th Annual Red Dot Art Spree features over 200 artists from Texas and beyond. This inclusive exhibition has something for everyone: abstractions, portraits, still lives, street art, photographs, prints, drawings and sculpture. Families who visit on Austin Museum Day can play a special game of I SPY.

For more information, visit the Austin Museum Day website. You can find the mobile guide here.


Beach Blast at Lake Pflugerville

Let's face it: We don't all have the time, energy, or money to make a four hour trip to Galveston or five and half to South Padre. Spending that amount of time in a car with kids in tow, high gas prices, and the need for food and a place to stay (unless you want to spend your whole day driving) sounds a little like torture to me.

This summer, I was pleasantly surprised to discover Pflugerville Lake, or the Pflake, as it is lovingly called.

My girls and I packed a simple lunch, grabbed a couple of towels and our suits and headed to the Pflake for a day on the "beach." We met some friends there who brought a small tent and a some camping chairs. It made for a relaxing and enjoyable afternoon. The water was shallow enough for our three to five year olds to play safely on their own (with floaties, of course). As a safety precaution, the swimming section is also roped-off.

The littles got a kick out of the ducks wandering close by in search of some bread crumbs after we ate our sandwiches. The ducks were so unintimidated by us that they even swam nearby while the kids splashed in the water.

The sand provided some amusement, as well. The kids enjoyed building sand castles and burying their legs in the sand.

When it was time to go, they "discovered" the playscape and climbing ball. 

If you don't have preschoolers to entertain, the lake is also open for fishing, swimming, jogging, canoes, kayaks and wind surfing, or you may want to check out the 3-mile walking/jogging trail. 

I'm really looking forward to going back this fall while the weather is nice. 

18216 Weiss Lane
Pflugerville, Texas 78660

Dawn M. Ambuehl-Sadek is a work-at-home mom of two girls: Maya, age 5 and Lila, 7 months. She has been writing in various mediums since she was in elementary school, including poetry, short stories, newsletter articles, and business writing. She currently serves as a teaching artist with Badgerdog and authors a blog focused on parenting and poetry.
Photos provided by Simple Expressions Photography.

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