June Summer Fun Checklist Item: Play outside in the Luci and Ian Family Garden at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
On a recent hot afternoon, I took my kids, who are almost four and almost two, for a visit to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. We go there a lot — we live just a mile or so down the road, which makes it pretty easy to head over straight from picking the little ones up at preschool. And they love it so much! I would make it a point to visit even if we lived across town, because it's gorgeous and fun for people of all ages.
|See the turtle?|
|The Luci and Ian Family Garden|
The water pump is an old iron one that looks like it should be out on a pioneer farm. You can swing the arm to pump water into these big metal basins, and my kids love using the plastic watering buckets there to transfer water back and forth between the basins, or water the plants nearby, or sprinkle water over the interesting hole-filled rocks and watch it trickle down into the running water of the stream below. There's a cave and waterfall feature, too. There are even drawings on the cave walls! (Okay, they're actually cool mosaics.) And once you're inside the cave, you can stand inside the waterfall and look out.
|The water pump — their favorite thing|
Another Wildflower Center favorite of ours is the cylindrical Observation Tower. Situated near the Cafe, it's got a series of steps that lead up first to a landing and then all the way up to the very top of the tower. At the top, you can see for miles around, as well as much of the Wildflower Center gardens and acreage.
Apparently, you can even host your child's birthday party in the Family Garden!
|Zeph rides a|
The first Nature Night of the summer, on June 11, will focus on plants, including which ones are edible, and how plants help us. Nature Night on June 18 will focus on pollinators — birds, bats, bees, butterflies and more. See this page (scroll down) for the full list of Nature Nights offerings through July 23.
Admission fees to the Wildflower Center:
|Cave drawings (okay, mosaics)|
- $10 for adults (age 18+)
- $8 for students with a college ID and seniors age 65+
- $4 for kids ages 5–17
- FREE for children under five
Location: 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin
Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM on Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 AM – 4 PM Saturdays, and 9 AM – 3 PM Sundays. The Center is closed Mondays.
Click here for more info and to plan your visit.
|Pearl finds the butterfly chair a bit hot|
|Looking out through waterfall from inside the cave|
|Have Capri Sun, will travel (to the family garden!)|
|Zephyr loves the water pump!|
|Pearl rides a coyote!|
Don’t forget! Snap a picture, upload it to Instagram with the hashtag #AustinSummerFun for a chance to win weekly prizes!
About the author: Catherine Avril Morris is a romance novelist, freelance writer, mom and wife living in southwest Austin, Texas. Check her out on the Web at www.CatherineAvrilMorris.com.