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Recreation

Scared of snake encounters with warm weather? Stay cool, experts say

Scared of snake encounters with warm weather? Stay cool, experts say

As summer approaches and temperatures continue to increase across the region, chances for running into snakes are getting better. Evening temperatures in Austin will be hovering around 70 degrees later this week, so the nighttime hunters may be more likely to be on the move. Most snakes scattered throughout Central Texas pose little or no threat to humans, said John Davis, director or the Texas Parks...
Scared of snake encounters as weather heats up? Stay cool, experts say

Scared of snake encounters as weather heats up? Stay cool, experts say

As summer approaches and temperatures continue to increase across the region, chances for running into snakes are getting better. Evening temperatures in Austin will be hovering around 70 degrees later this week, so the nighttime hunters might be more likely to be on the move. Most snakes scattered throughout Central Texas pose little or no threat to humans, said John Davis, director of the Texas...
Trail Foundation taps new leader to enhance Austin’s Butler trail

Trail Foundation taps new leader to enhance Austin’s Butler trail

The Trail Foundation, which manages signage, restoration and improvements on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail along Lady Bird Lake, has a new boss. The organization has hired Heidi Cohn, currently the development director at the Hill Country Conservancy, to become executive director of the Trail Foundation on June 1. She will replace Susan Rankin, who left in October after leading the foundation for...
What’s it like to run a naked 5K? Fit City finds out at Star Ranch

What’s it like to run a naked 5K? Fit City finds out at Star Ranch

Around me, dozens of naked people are applying sunscreen and stretching out their legs. I’m still wearing street clothes, but in a few minutes, I know, I must join them. After all, I’ve come to Star Ranch, a nudist park about 10 miles east of Elgin in McDade, for the Bare Buns 5K. It’s taken a lot of soul searching to get here, and for days I’ve contemplated how the race might...
The best swimming holes in Central Texas

The best swimming holes in Central Texas

Summer is coming, and it’s gonna be a hot one (but when is it not?) and before long, you’re going to need a way to while away the dog days of summer. Here’s an alphabetized list of some of the most popular swimming holes in Central Texas. There are so many places in the Barton Creek Greenbelt where the swimming is excellent. There’s Twin Falls and Sculpture Falls, which you...
How does it feel to jump off a 10-meter dive platform?

How does it feel to jump off a 10-meter dive platform?

A lot of things run through your mind when you stand at the edge of a 10-meter diving platform and look down. Your sanity, for example. How you’re a lot closer to the ceiling than the glinting blue postage stamp of water far below. How fast you’ll be traveling when your body smacks the surface of that pool (35 mph, I’m told). And how, if it wasn’t for your deceased father&rsquo...
Austin360 recreation list, April 21-27

Austin360 recreation list, April 21-27

Barton Creek Farmers Markets.9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd.512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market.Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, 12 to 5 p...
Take our tour to discover some of Austin’s lesser-known murals

Take our tour to discover some of Austin’s lesser-known murals

Ramble through Austin by bicycle and you’ll discover a mural around nearly every corner. Most locals already know about the “I Love You So Much” art on the side of Jo’s Coffee at 1300 S. Congress St. and the “Hi, How Are You” piece featuring a bug-eyed bullfrog at Guadalupe and 21st streets. Maybe you’ve seen the “Greetings From Austin” vintage...

Tom Meredith and the future of Waller Creek

Where others see puddles of slime, patches of asphalt pocked with industrial residue and broken, errant stones from forgotten civic projects, Tom Meredith envisions open spaces landscaped with indigenous plants, artfully placed towers for residents and visitors, renovated historic structures, a thriving entertainment district and the vital intersection of health, eduction and state government along...

Untold Stories: A cabin in the park

If you explore certain Central Texas parks long enough, you'll run across a log cabin. No, you haven't stumbled onto a lost pioneer settlement. Almost none of these rustic relics from the 19th century sits on an original site. Rather, civic-minded folks have moved them to public places where all could glimpse a slice of frontier life. In the middle of Rosewood Park in East Austin, the small, rough-hewn...

McGill house has been home, storage and more

Zilker Park camouflages all sorts of history. Sequestered near MoPac Boulevard on a rise not far from the Austin Nature & Science Center is a creamy limestone structure with two projecting wings. Its walls and chimneys are composed of irregularly sized stones, a clue to its distant origins. Oddly, only the corners of the three main rooms touched each other in the original plan, rather than sharing...
Barton Springs Pool to reopen Sunday after recent heavy rains

Barton Springs Pool to reopen Sunday after recent heavy rains

Barton Springs Pool will reopen Sunday and resume its regular operating hours, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department said Friday. The pool will be open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily but will still be closed on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. for routine cleaning, parks officials said. Enjoy the water while you can this weekend. Though the National Weather Service forecast calls for only a 20...

Symphony Square sprang from urban renewal

Think back, if you are old enough, to the 1970s. Inner cities were crumbling or abandoned altogether. Associated with crime, blight and racial tensions, they were not the ideal place for the city's oldest performing arts group. Try telling that to Jane Dunn Sibley. The indomitable leader of the symphony's board for decades, Sibley spearheaded the drive to turn four old stone structures into a city...
A park isolated from its neighbors

A park isolated from its neighbors

We love a mystery. Especially a mystery wrapped in an enigma. The enigma is lonely Bailey Park. The mystery is — or was — its namesake or namesakes. The 2-acre park on West 33rd Street seems at sea between the Seton Medical Center and St. Andrew's Episcopal School. Usually, small parks with playgrounds, pools and sports courts are located near homes with families. But the residential part...

Blunn Creek Preserve offers serenity

Do you ever feel like a park is yours and yours alone? I've felt that way about Blunn Creek Preserve. I've hiked this urban retreat thick with hackberries and elms dozens of times in all kinds of weather, often without running into another soul. The nature preserve lies along the upper reaches of the creek that originates in a marshy grove just south of Woodward Street, then runs through Travis Heights...

Historical park has slight identity crisis

Few Austin parks have played as many civic roles as Brush Square. Less than an acre in size, it was designated as a public square by Mayor Edwin Waller in 1839. Since then, the square and its surrounding blocks have served as an open market, railroad depot, cotton yard, residential oasis, wholesale warehouse complex, fire station, parking lot, convention spot and resting place for relocated historic...
Oakwood Cemetery's graceful chapel

Oakwood Cemetery's graceful chapel

In at least one place, Austinites gathered as one. Since 1839, Austinites of all backgrounds have been buried in Oakwood Cemetery, though originally in segregated sections. And since 1914, their survivors have gathered in the Oakwood Cemetery Chapel. This little Gothic Revival gem was designed by Charles H. Page, the famed architect whose father worked on the construction of the State Capitol. With...

Partnership nurtured Mayfield Park gardens

Few great gardens are the product of one gardener. In the case of the Mayfield Park and Preserve, located just east of Laguna Gloria, the grounds grew out of a partnership during the 1920s and ’30s between Mary Mayfield Gutsch, daughter of the original owners, and Estaban Arrendando, who worked the terraced gardens and lily ponds for more than 40 years. The park — reflecting Romantic and...
Fitness gifts for the athletes on your holiday list

Fitness gifts for the athletes on your holiday list

Some folks might dream of sweater sets, cuff links or sugarplums, poor things, but we know the athletes on your holiday gift list really want stuff that makes them sweat. We’ve rounded up a collection of goodies that’ll keep those cardio-happy hipsters moving at the speed of fitness. And unlike fruitcakes and eggnog, these suggestions will keep your loved ones healthy, too. What better...
Statesman Cap 10K marks its 40th running on April 23

Statesman Cap 10K marks its 40th running on April 23

For the past four decades, thousands of Austin runners have snaked through downtown Austin streets, some displaying a little Austin weirdness, others just reveling in the balmy weather, at the Statesman Capitol 10,000. Yep, the race began the same year the Boston Celtics drafted Larry Bird and “Space Invaders” first appeared in video game arcades. Today the race stands as an annual rite...
Popular ‘Daybreaker’ morning dance party coming to Austin

Popular ‘Daybreaker’ morning dance party coming to Austin

The morning dance party craze that’s swept the nation is finally making its way to Austin. Daybreaker is headed to the Whole Foods rooftop downtown in May featuring food, yoga, coffee and music from some of Austin’s top local acts. The event will start at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 3 with a “gardenside” yoga session with Sukha Yoga Austin, followed by a dance party from...
These pool floats are perfect for summer in Texas

These pool floats are perfect for summer in Texas

Summertime in Austin can be rough. In case you don’t know, it gets pretty hot, and since this winter was one of the warmest on record, some people are speculating that this summer may be particularly miserable (although meteorologists say there’s not necessarily a correlation). One way to wile away the dog days of Austin summer is by floating around in a body of water (in fact, that&rsquo...
Recreation events, 4/14/17

Recreation events, 4/14/17

Barton Creek Farmers Markets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market. Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, 12 to 5...
Photographer points camera at drying rivers to highlight threat

Photographer points camera at drying rivers to highlight threat

Pete McBride hopes that by pointing his camera lens at rivers around the world, he’ll inspire people to do something to help save the planet’s endangered waterways. “I’ve seen the Colorado River run dry,” McBride says. “I’ve seen portions of the Ganges run dry. I’ve seen the Nile run dry, and of course the Rio Grande runs dry.” We caught up with...
Pedestrian-cyclist underpass at 24th Street set to open this month

Pedestrian-cyclist underpass at 24th Street set to open this month

I ride my bike up Lamar Boulevard almost every day, and I’ve been eagerly (and lately, impatiently) watching the slow progress of the trail bypass going in under 24th Street. For the past six weeks or so, welders have been assembling railings along the new pathway, which curves gently along the west side of Lamar, routing bicyclists and pedestrians beneath whizzing traffic. Then, a week or so...
Things to do, 4/7/17

Things to do, 4/7/17

Barton Creek Farmers Markets. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Parking lot of Barton Creek Square, intersection of South MoPac Boulevard (Loop 1) and South Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays at 2323 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-443-0143,bartoncreekfarmersmarket.org. Bastrop Producers Market. Indoor farmers market. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, 12 to 5...
The latest outdoor trend? Hammock camping

The latest outdoor trend? Hammock camping

The yip-yip-yip of a pack of coyotes wakes me before dawn. I peel back an eyelid, feel myself sway gently and gaze out from inside the suspended burrito where I’m sleeping. I’ve snoozed away the last eight hours in a hammock tethered to two sturdy trees in the Davis Mountains. Contrary to what I expected, my back doesn’t hurt, I’m not folded into a permanent paper clip, and...
Zilker Park celebrates 100th birthday this year

Zilker Park celebrates 100th birthday this year

As you slosh your toes in Barton Springs, curl up on a blanket at the outdoor theater or run barefoot through the grassy lawn this summer, take a moment to wish the crown jewel of Austin’s park system a happy 100th. Yep, Zilker Park marks a century as Austin’s collective backyard in 2017, and the Austin Parks Foundation, along with a slew of organizations that operate within its boundaries...
Rugged beauty and pristine paddling highlight visit to Devils River

Rugged beauty and pristine paddling highlight visit to Devils River

From high on a ridge, the Devils River unfurls like a teal-colored ribbon. I plop down on a slab of limestone, wipe a little blood from my shin and try to soak it all in. I can’t. I’ve seen this river before, from a point farther south, and it always looks like a giant scraped his fingers down a streak of white clay, clawing out furrows. The water, in spots, looks unnaturally blue, and...
Caverns of Sonora glitter with delicate formations

Caverns of Sonora glitter with delicate formations

Stalactites and stalagmites? Yawn. The Caverns of Sonora glitter with something much more exotic — wafer-thin formations that ignore gravity as they sprout from walls in shapes resembling fishtails and butterflies. I’ve driven past billboards advertising the caverns dozens of times on my way to the Big Bend region of Texas. But a friend talked me into making a stop at the caverns, located...
Lakeway trails challenge mountain bikers with steep, technical terrain

Lakeway trails challenge mountain bikers with steep, technical terrain

I’m chugging my way up a single-track trail, sweat trickling down the small of my back and quads burning like someone stuck a branding iron on them. This is bliss. For the last few years, I’ve been hearing about the trail system in Lakeway. Friends have tried to lure me there, but it seemed too far from my home in Allandale. Besides, I thought, I’ve got the Walnut Creek Trail System...
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