During the summer we learned the importance of no-kill shelters in Austin. We visited Austin Pets Alive! And the Austin Animal Center. Both of them have the goal to find a forever home to any pet regardless of age, health, species or breed.
The Austin Animal Center is run by the government but it works with programs and partnerships that help it achieve its goal faster. It even works together with Austin Pets Alive! And Austin Humane Society. Not all dogs and cats are found in the shelters, but most of them are in the foster program. Foster animals are the ones that have temporary homes with amazing people that are willing to keep them safe and healthy until they find their home. This is one of the best ways to help shelters, especially during march through june when they overflow with puppies and kittens.
Everytime we visit, we want to take all of the animals with us!
Mexicans celebrate their country’s independence from Spain on September 15th. The MACC keeps that tradition alive with their “Viva Mexico” celebration next Saturday. Attendants will have a taste of food and folklore that surrounds mexican culture. The center is open year round and is dedicated to the preservation, creation, presentation and promotion of the cultural arts of Mexican Americans and Latino cultures.
We have been there many times and absolutely love it! We usually take a sort hike from or to the center which is conveniently located on the path of the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike trail right next to Rainey Street. When we arrive through the trail the first thing we see is the Tejano Music Legends sculpture. It depicts the Perez brothers playing the saxophone and the Ramos brothers engaged in song.
We also love the Caminos Legacy Murals. It was commissioned as a community arts mentorship project lead by J. Muzacs. Many teenage students in the Caminos program painted the mural. It depicts the vibrant community they live in as well as their perspective on the future of their own culture.
The center is open from Monday to Friday from 10am-5:30pm and Saturdays from 10am-4pm unless there is an event. Other amazing activities to look forward to is their open invitation to create Dia de los Muertos altars. Check out their web page for more information.
Some kids love taking hikes, others not so much! There are reasons why we encourage our kids to walk but the main one is to keep them healthy. This is why we are proud that during the summer our kids walked on average 3.5 miles a day. Most of the days we walked that much to get to and from our bus stops, and while exploring during our adventures. If the weather was nice, we did a long nature walk on Fridays.
When you walk more oxygen flows to your brain. Promoting oxygen flow allows your brain to learn faster and to adapt to anything you set your mind to!
When you walk you reach places that you wouldn’t be able to go to by car or other means.
When you walk your legs and feet may hurt, but it is usually because your muscles are getting stronger! Other reasons include: wearing your shoes backwards. Dragging your feet.
When you walk you help the environment by skipping the pollution your car may generate.
So now you know why it is important, take a hike and you’ll find out why it is also so much fun!
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.
Exploring our city also means exploring the people that make our city safe. Last week we talked about the Austin Emergency Center, this week it's the Firefighters turn. We get to learn all about their work through the Austin Fire Museum. It is located right downtown!
Nobody likes to go to an emergency room, unless it's for a tour! Austin Emergency Center offers family-friendly events at their three locations. We like to go to the one on South Lamar. Our kids learn about the importance of an ER in our community. They learn about X-Rays and CAT scans as well as stings and bites.
Exposing them to an ER in a non-threatening situation might help them relax if they ever need to go to an ER. Especially since they know that the people inside are as nice and helpful as we found out! Some of our kids were interested in health careers. This is a great place to come and ask about them.