Austin: Family-Friendly Things to Do in ATX (Part 2)

This is my second of four posts about our family's travels to Austin, Texas. Click the link to go to Part 1, Part 3, and Part 4. Because I blog about educational travel, I received free admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the attractions we visited throughout the trip, as well as for our hotel. Many attractions we toured are free to everyone, and I paid full price for the rest. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I recommend whole-heartedly. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it's because something wasn't worth mentioning.

We woke up on Monday, November 19 eager to explore Austin. But first, breakfast. Our room package at the DoubleTree included breakfast each morning at the hotel's restaurant, the 15th Street Cafe, and it was the perfect way to start each day. We opted for the buffet. I had a waffle, bacon, cheesy grits, plain scrambled eggs and vegetable scrambled eggs, fresh pineapple, and cranberry juice. There were tons of other options (cereals, oatmeal, toast, donuts, muffins, bagels, potatoes, pancakes, yogurt, other fruit, etc).

After breakfast, we headed to our first destination, the State Capitol. I chose the DoubleTree specifically for its great location; the Capitol is literally a 3-minute walk. (In fact, if you drove from the hotel to the parking lot for the Capitol, you'd actually have a farther walk than if you'd just walked from the hotel!) 

Like many things in Texas, the Capitol is big. It is also beautiful. 

And they never let you forget you're in Texas. 

Check out the Lone Star chairs. 

You've heard of Six Flags, right? The chain of amusement parks? They're all over the place now, but the company started with a single park in 1961 called Six Flags Over Texas. Why six flags? Because there are six national flags that have flown over Texas during its history: Spain, France, Mexico, The Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and the United States of America. Technically, it should be Spain, France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the US, the CSA, and then the US again, making eight flags, but the repeats don't count. You can see examples of the six flags all over the place in and on the Capitol building.  

While we were at the Capitol, Trevor completed the Capitol Bingo game I made. He enjoyed hunting for the answers and learned a lot. (If you haven't read it already, I have a post of 13 tips to enjoying state capitols with kids that you may find helpful.)

Next we explored the expansive capitol grounds. There are all sorts of monuments, statues, fountains, and trees. Trevor loved this well.

And we were all amazed by the size of the acorns we found. What the heck?! Everything's bigger in Texas, I guess!

Next, we went to the Texas Capitol Visitor Center. It is free to visit and is housed in a restored three-story, castle-like building that once served as the General Land Office Building. It was built in 1856, making it the oldest state office building in Texas. It is well worth your time. We learned a lot.

This is where the stamp for the Capitol Collection is located. 

Don't mess with Texas. Seriously. 

We left the Capitol grounds and walked three blocks north to the Bullock Texas State History Museum.

We spent the rest of the day there, barely seeing everything before they closed at 5:00 pm. It was great.

We particularly loved an exhibit of the art of Eric Tippeconnic. They had a fun scavenger hunt activity for kids to help them look more closely at the art. It was awesome. 

I loved learning about the layering and spattering technique he uses. The results are stunning. And I love the color choices. 

There were lots of interesting videos to watch throughout the museum. This one was clips from 40+ years of Austin City Limits.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at the Bullock Museum and learned so much about Texas history and culture. 

Dinner that night was at the excellent Quattro Gatti, a pleasant half-mile walk from the DoubleTree. This is their lasagna pizza, piping hot from the wood-fired 1000° brick oven. And yes, it was as delicious as it looks. 

We also had their fantastic fettucine alla Bolognese, a fabulous beet salad, and warm house bread. All three of us left full and happy. 

We cut through the Capitol grounds on the walk back to the hotel. It's beautiful at night. 

After our long day, we were more than ready for a good night's sleep. More Austin adventures tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. That acorn is insane!!!! Crazy huge!!! And I knew six flags started there, but I had no idea why it was called that! Very cool! LOVING all the photos!!!!!


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