Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Things to Do in Austin: Barton Springs and the Zilker Zephyr!

Few things are as Austin-y as Central Austin's main park, Zilker Park, and the neighboring manmade springs, Barton Springs. In fact, as a 17-year-old college student living out my first twenty-four hours in a UT dorm, Barton Springs was the first place I visited, and holds a special place in my heart for that. I can never visit without being taken back a decade, smooshed into the back of a truck with ten other virtual strangers, to my first exploration of this great city I call home.

Anyhow, back to my child-having, boring-married-lady present, and my visits to Zilker Park and Barton Springs now consist of me toting three children of varied ages up and down sets of stairs, praying that we all make it out alive. Ah, this is the life.

Last week, desperate for something to do outside where we could still keep cool, we headed down to the park early in the morning to ride the train and indulge in the 68 degree water before the triple digits descended upon us.

While my punctuality has remained sketchy at best, I now have a valid excuse: attempting to get three children dressed and out of the house, in between potty breaks and snack requests (Oh, how I long for the days when "I overslept" was considered a legit excuse!). As such, we rolled up towards the train, the Zilker Zephyr, one minute before it was scheduled to depart, and knowing that an hour longer would be an hour hotter, we made a mad dash to get seated on time. I was graced with some serious good fortune that day, and we managed to make it!

Here we are enjoying the sights on the twenty-five (ish) minute train ride that circles around Town Lake, the Great Lawn (where ACL takes place each fall), and back through Zilker Park's impressive playground and tunnel:

Oh, how my heart is happy she hasn't outgrown hand-holding with mommy!

The three prettiest ladies I know :)

Once the train returned to its depot, we hopped off to enjoy a nice picnic lunch in the shaded pavilion before hitting the playground to run off some major energy! Nothing like half an hour seated on a train to rile up three kiddos!

Having bribed the girls to eat a decent lunch with the promise of a sno cone, we then took to the Zilker Cafe to indulge our sweet tooth. Who knew so much of parenting would be bribing children to eat? The cafe also offers a variety of menu items for lunch, as well as other snacks (chips, cotton candy, etc).

Unfortunately, we were on a schedule since P had a playdate that afternoon, and so we ended up not having time to take a dip in the springs. If you do happen to find yourself in the area (off Barton Springs Dr. between Mopac and Lamar) and have the time, though, it is a highly recommended place to swim and catch some sun!

Not only that, but the Zilker Park area has lots of other offerings:

For a list of other things to do in Austin with kids, click out previous Texas Tuesday posts about Riding the MetroRail, Dell Children's Museum, Laguna Gloria and the Austin Museum of Art, and the Austin Duck Adventure Tour, amongst others! Thanks for visiting!

Texas Tuesday


  1. Every time I read your posts I think, "M and I are going to make a trip to Austin to see B and A", yet we never do! We miss y'all!!

  2. We've lived here since 2010, been to Zilker about a gajillion times but still have NOT rode that train! LOL I have to make it a priority before it gets cold out :-)

  3. I have the park on my list to do but we have yet to get there. Maybe next time. Your family is sweet and pictures were great. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You seriously do the coolest things!! I always write down your places you talk about and put them on the Texas bucket list we've started. Thank you for sharing. :)


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