The way our program is built allows children to be able to associate what we see everyday. Whenever we visit the Texas State Capitol or the Texas State Cemetery we always stress those magnificent statues carved in memory of important Texas figures. They can easily remember Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston at the entrance of the Capitol. The sculpture of the man that is laying down at the cemetery is Albert Sidney Johnston, but that one is harder to remember. Those are just a few of the many commissions Elizabet Ney had after she arrived to Austin.
Her work began in Germany, where she was born. She sculpted for names such as Arthur Schopenhauer, a philosopher, Otto Von Bismark, a very prominent politician, and even one of the Grimm Brothers. Once in the United States, the commissions, which are orders for specific sculptures, kept coming. Most of them can be found in the Elizabet Ney Museum, located in Central Austin. Others can be found at the U.S. Capitol and the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
She kept fighting for the arts until her death. Her studio was bequeathed to UT (now belonging to the City of Austin) and her friends established the Texas Finer Arts Association (now Contemporary Austin) in her honor. Her legacy remains in the many sculptures.
We are glad that they get exposed to all forms of art in our city! Kids enjoy looking at the statues and busts in the gallery. 3D Art, such as sculpting, brings to their minds all the work it must have taken her to depict such replicas of the human face and body. Sculpting is not something that kids regularly think of as being handmade, which is why it’s even more impressive to them.
Summer vacations may be over, but the weather is still great to be outside. Zilker Botanical Gardens has many exhibits to learn and interact with nature. Our first stop is the Japanese Garden. Kids love walking on the trails and exploring the ones that get them near the ponds. Make sure to stop at the little bamboo construction for a great photo opportunity.
During the last weeks of summer we got to experience KUT and KUTX the way we had never experienced before! We went behind the scenes and met the people that make this amazing radio station possible. We learned how programs are made and how many people you need to create thousands of hours of programming.
KUT is the news side of the radio station. They hire journalists that do what any other journalist would: research the most updated and true information. Then they sit down in meetings to decide what the most relevant information is for Austin and most of Texas. Finally they write down their pitches and record them after careful editing. They have TVs on all day so they don't miss a thing!
This is one of our absolute favorite van day adventures! It is the legacy of Lady Bird, LBJ's wife. It wasn't always where it is now. It used to be located on East Austin until it moved south in 1995. It is the best place to learn about plant conservation and sustainability in our city. Kids learn about flowers, plants and their importance while enjoying a hike and lots of interactive places to play around! The center is open year round and the bright colors will definitely change depending on what is in season.
Hidden in the middle of the Clarksville neighborhood you can find several houses with historical markers on them. One of them, located behind a big house at the corner of 9th and Oakland is the Museum of Collectibles and Curiosities. Even though it is small, it is packed with tiny little treasures that kids love to investigate. The whole collection belonged to Patricia Duncan Brown, an avid collector of curiosities. Some of the collections' categories are Christmas ornaments, cats, circus, Mexican and Indian.
The volunteers that work there are very knowledgeable of the items and offered us a fun activity for the kids. They gave us a quick tour to look around the categories. Then the kids were given pieces of paper to draw their favorite pieces.
Their policy is that we can't post photos of the pieces, but they have some on their web page. Our kids kept the memories of their awesome drawings! Here is a gallery of what you can find inside.