7 fun Austin things to do before school starts

1. Celebrate Austin’s weird and wild. See 15,000 rubber duckies floating down the river at Austin Duck Derby to benefit Austin Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 5. Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. austinduckderby.com

Or celebrate all things bat at Bat Fest4 p.m.-midnight Aug. 19. $15 adults, free for children younger than 8. Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave. roadwayevents.com

And try out weird and wonderful flavors of ice cream at the Austin Ice Cream Festival,11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 12. $15. Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St. austinicecreamfestival.com

2. Be blinded (not really) by science. Girlstart puts on Back to School STEM Saturdayat 9:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 5. It’s free, and you don’t have to be a girl to enjoy. Girlstart, 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org

Carver Museum offers its Super Science Saturdays. 1 p.m. Aug. 12. George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St. Texas Museum of Science & Technology tells you all about the sun (right before the eclipse) during Science Saturday,noon-4 p.m. Aug. 19. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

The museum also hosts Star Parties every Friday at 9 p.m. and Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger 9 a.m. Aug. 9 and 23.

Hill Country Science Mill is opening its exhibit the Incredible Ball Machine. Step inside a large ball track that you can control with levers and pulleys. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 16. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is teaming up with the Thinkery for Community Night on Aug. 9.Bring your favorite stuffed animal and take it through different interactive stations. Free, but it’s first-come-first-serve, beginning at 4 p.m. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

At the library, make a pinhole projector during Solar Eclipse Afternoon, starting at noon Aug. 21 at Howson Branch; tweens explore STEAM with LittleBits Theme Park, 3 p.m. Aug. 2 at Spicewood Springs Branch.

If you love dinosaurs, you can watch “Jurassic Park” and see fossils and other science materials from UT Dino Museum. 7 p.m. Aug. 19 and Aug. 26. $25 a car, plus admission for more than 2 people. Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive-in. 12419 Lowden Lane. bluestarlitedrivein.com

3.Celebrate animals. The Austin Humane Society hosts events including story time, 2 p.m. Aug. 8; Humane Hero Hour with cats, 2 p.m. Aug. 1; the Austin Wildlife Rescue, 1 p.m. Aug. 5; and Teddy Bear Surgery, 1 p.m. Aug. 12. Register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane. 

See all kinds of different animals at the Austin Pet Expo. It’s free and you can bring your (well-behaved in crowds) pet. Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20. austinpetexpo.com

Don’t forget the Austin area has two zoos — Austin Zoo and Capital of Texas Zoo — plus the Texas Reptile Zoo, the Austin Aquarium, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch and the Snake Farm. 

4. Make art. This month at the Thinkery, the Kitchen Lab and Space 8 lab are all about art. Make Suminagashi Fabrics, 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20. $8. Learn Printmaking Galore, 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. Aug. 12-13, Aug. 26-27, $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

At the Bullock Museum, Make it Tuesdaysmakes Texas Landmarks out of Legos, 10 a.m. Aug. 1. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

At Mexic-Arte Museum, learn how to create cardboard relief prints like Ashley Mireles does during Family Day.Free. 1-4 p.m. Aug. 6. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave.

Contemporary Austin’s Families Create free program offers Ice Painting, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 12. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum will host its free Family Day,10-4 p.m. Aug. 13. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

The library also offers events for making art. This month, enjoy Crafternoon, 3:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Howson Branch; Family Craft Night, 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at Howson Branch; and learn to sew at Sew Happy, 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at Manchaca Road Branch.

5. Enjoy theater. If you haven’t seen the Zilker Summer Musical yet, what are you waiting for? This year it’s “The Wizard of Oz” at 8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 12. Free, but donations are welcome. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Drive. zilker.org

Summer Stock Austin is offering a new musical based on “The Elves and the Shoemaker” from Allen Robertson and Damon Brown. “A Shoe Story: A Brand New Musical”shows at 11 a.m. Aug. 3-4, Aug. 8; 10 a.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 11-12; 2 p.m. July 30. Tickets $17 and up. Summer Stock Austin also has one-day camps that include performances Aug. 3, 4 and 8. $50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Austin Summer Musical for Children is presenting the “Jungle Book,” 9:15 a.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 13, 20 and 27. It’s free. Boyd Vance Theater at George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St.

Hideout Kids Presents “Once Upon a Whaa?!” 11 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 5-27. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $12-$8. scottishritetheater.org

Literature Live! Presents: “The Fifolet” Louisiana pirate adventure, specifically for ages 8-12, at 4 p.m. Aug. 1 at University Hills Branch; 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m. Aug. 4 at Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at Faulk Central Library; 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at Windsor Park Branch; and 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Recycled Reads Bookstore.

6. See a movie for free or very little. The Alamo Drafthouse continues its Kids Club. In August, see “Speed Racer,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Lakeline; “Jumanji,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Lakeline, 10 a.m. Aug. 11, Village; “The Secret Life of Pets,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Mueller, 9:50 a.m. Aug. 4, 10 a.m. Aug. 5-10, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Lakeline; “Song of the Sea,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Village, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Mueller, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Slaughter Lane; “Speed Racer,” 10 a.m. Aug. 11-Aug. 17, Mueller. The movies are for a $1-$3 donation. drafthouse.com. You also can see PBS Kids at the Alamo. “Ready Jet Go! The Moon and More,” 11 a.m. Aug. 20, Lakeline.

Head to Sunday School with the Austin Film Society’s children’s program. See the Lily Tomlin classic “The Incredible Shrinking Woman, ”1 p.m. July 30 and 6 p.m. Aug. 1; and Francois Truffaut’s tale of raucous children,  “Small Change,” 11 a.m. Aug. 27 and 7 p.m. Aug. 30. $9. Austin Film Society Cinema, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100. austinfilmsociety.org

At the Paramount Theatre, see “E.T.,”1 p.m. Aug. 5; “Back to the Future,” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and 4:10 Aug. 6; and the original “The Parent Trap,” 1 p.m. Aug. 13; prices vary. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

Deep Eddy Splash Party Movie Night is showing “Moana” at 8 p.m. Aug. 5. Deep Eddy Pool. 401 Deep Eddy Ave. Pool admission applies.

At the Bullock Museum, see  “Secret of Kells,”2 p.m. Aug. 5, and “Where the Wild Things Are,” 2 p.m. Aug. 12. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhousewill show its last two weeks of $1 movies at Round Rock 8: “The Angry Birds Movie,” July 31-Aug. 3, “Sing,” Aug. 7-10. cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse.

Regal Summer Movie Expressshows its last $1 movies at Westgate Stadium 11 and Gateway Stadium 16, “Storks,” and “The Lego Batman Movie,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-2. regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express.

And the library is a great place to see movies for free. In August, see “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Windsor Park Branch, 4 p.m. Aug. 16, Cepeda Branch; “Sing,” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Twin Oaks Branch; “Wizard of Oz.” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Old Quarry Branch;“Secret Life of Pets,” 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at Old Quarry Branch.

7. Go outside. We know it’s hot. Head out in the early morning or at dusk for the least heat exhaustion-inducing experience. Explore new-to-you pools or water parkstry out a new playground from our list of top 25, plus some other great ones; go dinosaur digging at the Austin Nature & Science Center; check out the Wildflower Center and its Sprouts preschool program, 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and Nature Play Hour in the Family Garden, 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

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