Spring is in the air, and that means more opportunities to get out to Austin's many local parks before the summer brings its inevitable blistering heat. In the coming series, we'll profile several different parks in the central and north parts of town and rate them from a twin mom's perspective. The rating depends on three categories:
- Fun, or variety of age appropriate activities - Are there play areas for toddlers and older kids? Lots of things to do, or is everyone going to be bored after five minutes?
- Sun, or weather resistance - Are you going to be left in the harsh sun the entire time? Or are there plenty of shaded areas? What about picnic tables and pavilions for breaks?
- Run, aka flight risk - Probably the most important factor to consider since twin moms are almost always outnumbered. Is the space fairly easy to manage, or will you be left in the dust as your kids run for the hills, or worse, the street?
Note: My children are ages 3 and 1, so a lot of my opinions are based on their abilities and my need to keep a close eye on them.
Centrally located, the enormous Zilker Park is the home of the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Barton Springs Pool, and the Zilker Zephyr train. There's lots of space, lots to do, and yes, lots of people. School groups often make field trips to Zilker, and it's hard to find a time when this park isn't busy.
FUN: High! This park is fun! There is so much to do between the giant playscape and nearby activities. Tickets for the train are only a few dollars, and nearby concessions serve food, drinks, snow cones, and ice cream. The play area has fun for all ages, from bucket swings to tall towers for climbers.
SUN: Medium. Most of the playscape area is in the sun, but there is plenty of shade surrounding it. The immediate area also offers picnic tables and a large pavilion that can be rented for parties.
RUN: High. Moms of multiples often have a hard time at Zilker if alone with their kids. The playscape is large, it's most often crowded, and it's easy to lose sight of your kids while they get lost in play (tip: dress them alike if possible!). With another parent or friend, it might be a little easier and less stress inducing.
Overall grade: Excellent! Zilker Park offers so much for families. Other seasonal activities include the annual Zilker Kite Festival and the Zilker Holiday Tree Festival. Families can also take in the nearby and beautiful Zilker Botanical Gardens and Umlauf Sculpture Garden, then grab a bite at one of the many restaurants on Barton Springs Road.
Gather the family, pack a lunch, and make a day of this fantastic local resource and its surroundings!
Have you made a recent trip to Zilker Park? Tell me about it!