Back to school to-do-list: Learn a new skill like cooking

We’re trying all summer to not have the kids slip into the video game coma. It’s time to learn a new skill that will be helpful for the school year.

Our mission: To teach the kids how to cook a few simple meals. Don’t like my cooking? Make it yourself.

We’ll start in August after vacation and summer camps have come and gone.

One great way to start is to find inspiration in what you’ve been doing this summer.

Family programs at Zilker Botanical Garden include fairy landscaping and tea parties, learning about pioneer days and exploring plants. Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

If you’ve been to Zilker Botanical Garden and seen the Woodland Faerie Trail, this book might extend that experience in a fun educational way.

“Fairy House Cooking: Simple, Scrumptious Recipes & Fairy Party Fun!” by Liza Gardner Walsh ($16.95, Down East Books) teaches kids how to cook, but through the lens of preparing something for their fairy friends.

Try making something like these Purple Powder Puffs for breakfast, which don’t require any baking but do require skills on the food processor.

Purple Power Puffs

1/2 cup oats

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup almonds

1 cup dates

1/2 cup frozen blueberries thawed and drained or fresh

1 Tbsp. coconut oil

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

Grind oats and cinnamon in food processor then pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Grind almonds in food processor, then add dates and remaining ingredients and mix.

Coat your hands with a bit of flour and roll into bite size balls. Roll them in the oat mixture, place on a cookie sheet and chill for 30 minutes.

Want to see the Woodland Faerie Trail?

See fairy houses on this trail through July 30. Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.

Happy 10th birthday, Dell Children’s Medical Center

Austin Police Assistant Chief, Steve Deaton, right, visits with patient, Isabella Moreno, 7, of Dripping Springs, during Operation Blue Santa’s visit Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin, Texas. Blue Santa delivered around 1,000 toys and stuffed animals to children and siblings. RODOLFO GONZALEZ / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Today, Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is celebrating its 10th birthday. We’ll have a look at where Dell Children’s has been and where it’s going later this summer.

What we do know is there’s been a lot of growth in the last 10 years. Think about Austin circa 2007. Think about MoPac Boulevard traffic and Interstate 35 traffic. Don’t you long for the good old days? Well, not when it comes to seeing our children’s hospital grow up from leaving i’s small confines near Brackenridge to moving into its own digs and continuing to expand.

Here’s some of the stories on Dell Children’s we’ve shared with you these 10 years:

Dell Children’s chief surgeon helps create guidelines for trauma care 

Dell Children’s first in Texas to get new heart arrhythmia technology

New valve replacement at Dell Children’s avoids open-heart surgery

Dell Children’s to open a mental health unit

Dell Children’s expands emergency care to Seton Northwest

Seton ER doctors in Hays County now can teleconference with Dell Children’s

Austin girls with rare disease now will get treated at Dell Children’s

Thursdays with 97-year-old volunteer Edmund Kelley at Dell Children’s

New tower marks completion of Dell hospital

Photos: Superheroes visit Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin

Longtime Austin ER chief moving on – MyStatesman.com

STAR Flight basing a helicopter, crew at Dell Children’s

 

Check out these parks: The best playgrounds in Austin and Central Texas

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Didn’t your mother tell you to go out and play? But where?

In Central Texas we’re blessed with some amazing playgrounds. We went looking for the best ones. We considered shade and restroom availability, type of equipment and its condition, and the general vibe as well as safety. We ranked our top 25 and then offered some other gems to explore.

Did we miss your favorite? Tell us at nvillalpando@statesman.com.

Remember, before you head to the playground, wear your sunscreenwear your bugspray and know how to play safely.

Joanne Land Playground in Old Settlers Park. Nicole Villapando/ American-Statesman

1. Joanne Land Playground in Old Settlers Park

Address: 3300 Palm Valley Blvd.

Area of Central Texas: Round Rock

Features: This includes one of the largest playscapes in Central Texas plus a smaller one that is interactive using an app. The playground offers multiple slides, multiple things to climb up, climb along, multiple sets of swings for all ages, a gravity slide that is like a zip line (though that’s been offline at the manufacturer’s request). There is so much to do here.

Shade: Some tall shade trees.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Medium. It’s a busy place, but the playground is in a compact space. There is the hazard of the lake to worry about.

Why we love it: This playground just opened this year. You’ll find features here that aren’t anywhere else in Central Texas. For parents, it’s got a beautiful, serene view of the lake and plenty of places to sit.

Bonus: If your kid somehow gets bored here, there are six other playgrounds in the park and the water park and pool.

Christian Acosta, 6, explores the playground at Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015)

2. Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park

Address: 400 Grove Blvd.

Area of Central Texas: East Austin

Features: You’ll find so much to play on here with two big playscapes and many things to crawl on and in and around. Kids have plenty or room to run around and multiple things to climb on and swing from.

Shade: Virtually none. It’s a huge oversight on what would be a perfect playscape if it had shade structures. There are tall trees but around the edges.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Extremely low. This is one of the few fully gated playgrounds in Austin.

Why we love it: We love the variety of things to do here, the multiple places to sit and the dragonfly statues make us happy to sit under them. It’s a very whimsical playground.

Bonus: Plenty of fields both open and the sports variety are available in this park.

Brushy Creek Sports Park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

3. Brushy Creek Regional Trail Parks

Addresses: Creekside Park, 4300 Brushy Creek Road; Olson Meadows Park, 4200 Brushy Creek Road; Champion Park, 3830 Brushy Creek Road; Brushy Creek Lake Park, 3300 Brushy Creek Road; Brushy Creek Sports Park, 2310 Brushy Creek Road; Twin Lakes Park, 204 E. Little Elm Trail

Area of Central Texas: Cedar Park

Features: These six parks along Brushy Creek act as one big park. Each has its unique playscape, so you can hop from park to park. Creekside Park has two quiet playscapes by the pool with slides and bouncy cars and diggers. Olson Meadows two offers tree-covered playscapes, swings and horses to ride. Champion Park is dedicated to dinosaurs with large skeleton models to climb and a dinosaur dig that is shaded. Brushy Creek Lake Park has a large playscape and sand box, but is know for its big, gated splash pad. Brushy Creek Sports Park has the best playscape of these parks with tons of ropes and other things to climb on, plus it’s totally shaded. Twin Lakes Park is the site of the YMCA, so there isn’t a playscape that isn’t connected to the YMCA.

Shade: Most have some level of shade, some are completely shaded.

Restrooms: Yes! At every playscape.

Anxiety level: Very little. Because each playscape is small, it’s easy to watch children.

Why we love it: We love that each one has its own personality, but each is a great playscape on its own. When you spend the day moving up and down Brushy Creek Road, you’ll have very happy, yet tuckered out kids.

Bonus: Did we mention the amazing splash pad? And that there’s dinosaurs to crawl and on and dig for?

 

The playground at Central Market. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

4. Central Market

Address: 4001 N. Lamar Blvd.

Area of Central Texas: Central Austin

Features: Two big playscapes with plenty of things to climb on, slide down and climb under. Plus, it’s food-themed.

Shade: Big tall trees keep it in the shade most of the time.

Restrooms: Yes, inside the grocery store.

Anxiety level: Medium. It’s well-contained, and you can easily see your child playing. Watch out for the runner heading for the duck pond.

Why we love it: It’s become a great gathering spot for the community. Plus, you can get kids fed with real food, have a glass of wine and watch the kids play.

Bonus: Did we mention no hungry kids allowed?

Play for All playground in Round Rock. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

5. Play for All

Address: 151 N. A.W. Grimes Blvd.

Area of Central Texas: Round Rock

Features: This truly is a playground for all. It’s got many tactile things for kids with sensory differences as well as the ability for kids in wheelchairs to roll onto the playscape and other structures. There’s a lot to do here, but we especially love the miniature town with working stoplights, a library, a hospital, a fire station, a grocery store and gas station, a school and a car repair shop.

Shade: Yes, there are shade structures and trees.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Very low. It’s completely gated.

Why we love it: We love the variety of things to do. You can be a rock star in the music area or you can be the town doctor if you want.

Bonus: It’s a smart playground for kids with all kinds of needs.

Ramsey Park has been redone. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

6. Ramsey Neighborhood Park

Address: 4301 Rosedale Ave.

Area of Central Texas: Central Austin

Features: This park has been beautifully redone with different kinds of playscapes for all ages. There’s so much to climb on and crawl around. We love that the younger kid playscape is not the plastic lesser playground. Instead the little kids also have ropes to climb on and logs to conquer. While we miss the old big tall slide, a new, smaller slide fulfills that need.

Shade: Some. It could use more.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Very little. You can easily see where your child is.

Why we love it: It isn’t the same old playscape that can be found at every school and every other neighborhood around there. It’s a nod to nature and totally fun.

Bonus: The park also has a pool, tennis courts, a basketball court and a large field for soccer.

Victor Clark spends Monday afternoon with son KaRon, 2, at Lake Park in the Mueller Development. Danielle Villasana/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

7. Lake Park Mueller

Address: 4550 Mueller Blvd.

Area of Central Texas: East Austin

Features: Multiple playscapes and multiple things to spin around in, bounce around in, spin from, make this a fun park. It set the trend in Austin for offering structures that go beyond the usual.

Shade: Yes. The trees love this park.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Medium. It’s a busy park, but it’s gated.

Why we love it: It’s good for all ages, but especially for older kids who might get bored at other playscapes, plus it’s across the street from the Thinkery and the Mueller Alamo Drafthouse and many new restaurants and stores.

Bonus: Oh, come on. We know you come here to feed the ducks.

Springwoods park has amazing trees that provide shade. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

8. Springwoods Neighborhood Park

Address: 9117 Anderson Mill Road.

Area of Central Texas: Northwest

Features: It has two large playscapes, but more importantly, it’s the setting of this playground. There are trees everywhere. Even though it’s right off Anderson Mill Road, you feel like you are in the middle of the forest. It’s a relaxing oasis with plenty of things to do including tennis, a walking trail, swings and a forest-theme playscape with a dinosaur and frog to ride.

Shade: Yes! The trees lower the temperature significantly.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Very low. It’s easy to watch kids in this quiet playground.

Why we love it: It’s all about the trees. You really feel away from the city here.

Bonus: Yes, you can ride a dinosaur.

Creative Playscape in Georgetown tells the history of Georgetown. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

9. Creative Playscape in San Gabriel Park

Address: 1003 N. Austin Ave.

Area of Central Texas: Georgetown

Features: This playground features one incredibly large playscape with multiple slides and things to climb on and a second nice-sized playscape, plus swings. It has some unusual features that you can’t get at other playgrounds.

Shade: Some. The trees really help.

Restrooms: Yes, in the recreation center.

Anxiety level: Low. It’s gated.

Why we love it: You can’t find this playscape anywhere. Plus you feel as if you’re going back in time as you step through the pavilion into an old-fashioned town.

Bonus: This playscape actually tells the history of Georgetown. It’s educational.

The playground at the Grove at Southpark Meadows. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman.

10. The Grove at Southpark Meadows

Address: 9500 S. Interstate 35.

Area of Central Texas: Far South Austin

Features: One very large playscape for the big kids has many different kids of things to climb up and move through. A smaller playscape for the littler kids isn’t too shabby, either. It also offers a little house, too.

Shade: Yes, there’s great trees here.

Restrooms: Yes, in the neighboring restaurants, but you have to be a patron.

Anxiety level: High. It would be very easy to lose track of your child or have her run off and not know which direction she went.

Why we love it: You can have dinner or ice cream and then go play. There’s also a stage where groups often entertain.

Bonus: Someone is always ready to play here.

Kyle Scarbrough makes the sound of a firefighter using a hose as he and his son Alden, 3, and Maggie McCreery, 7, play on the fire truck in the Zilker Park playground. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

11. Zilker Metropolitan Park

Address: 2100 Barton Springs Road

Area of Central Texas: Central

Features: There’s a lot going on in a small space. You’ve got a whole sunken younger kids playground, a firetruck to climb on, a series of ramps that lead to slides in the large playscape that crosses over the Zilker Zephyr train. You can make music in the instrument section and swing on the swings. We know most longtime Austinites expected this playground to be No. 1. While there’s a lot to do here, the main playscape is really just a series of ramps to run up. We also saw a lot of wear and tear such as peeling paint that needs to be addressed. It really is beginning to feel dated. Play here for nostalgia’s sake.

Shade: Some from the trees, though it depends on the time of day.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: High. It is very easy to lose a kid here. Kids can easily climb over to the other side of the tracks without parents knowing. Plus, it’s often overcrowded and unmanageable. For kids who struggle with sharing or who don’t like sensory overload, this isn’t the place for them.

Why we love it: It’s all about the Zilker Zephyr train for us. Ride around the park in a miniature train? Yes, please.

Bonus: You can drink out of the head of a lion at the water fountain.

 

Katherine Fleischer Park has a cool playhouse. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

12. Katherine Fleischer Park

Address: 2106 Klattenhoff Drive

Area of Central Texas: Far North Austin

Features: This park in the Wells Branch neighborhood is an unexpected gem. The playground offers a lot of different types of playscapes, but our favorite is the miniature two-story house that feels like a treehouse.

Shade: Some. Trees keep about half this playground in shade.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Low. It’s a large area but easy to see kids.

Why we love it: It’s just got this amazing vibe to it, and where else can you play in a two-story house in the middle of a playground?

Bonus: This park comes with a miniature frontier town.

The cool rock wall at Southeast Metropolitan Park is one of the playscapes here. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

13. Northeast and Southeast Metropolitan Parks

Address: 2703 E. Pecan St., Pflugerville, and 4511 Texas 71, Del Valle

Area of Central Texas: Pflugerville and Del Valle

Features: We grouped these two Travis County parks together because they are very similar. They both have two sets of large covered playscapes in between ballparks that are by restrooms and concession stands. The playscapes have some great climbing structures. They also sit on cushy rubber surfaces that we love. No pebbles and no mulch to get into kids’ shoes.

Shade: Yes.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Very low. The playscapes are in a small area with easy sight lines.

Why we love it: We love that cushiony floor.

Bonus: The Southeast one has a large climbing wall in between the two sets of playgrounds.

The cool rock wall at Southeast Metropolitan Park is one of the playscapes here. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

14. South Austin Neighborhood Park

Address: 1100 Cumberland Road

Area of Central Texas: South Austin

Features: This large playscape at this recreation center has a lot of things to climb on, hang from and slide down.

Shade: Some, but not enough.

Restrooms: Yes, in the recreation center.

Anxiety level: Low. It’s easy to see kids and not overcrowded.

Why we love it: If you don’t know it’s here, you’ll be surprised by the number of different things to do.

Bonus: It’s got lovely fields all around it.

Little Zilker Neighborhood Park has been redone. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

15. Little Zilker Neighborhood Park

Address: 2016 Bluebonnet Lane

Area of Central Texas: South Austin

Features: This property, if you include Zilker Elementary, actually has three playscapes: one large one for big kids, one nice-sized one for little kids and the standard one that elementary schools often have. The two in the park are new and offer some fun things to climb on. Plus there are swings.

Shade: It could use more.

Restrooms: There are outhouses if the school isn’t open.

Anxiety level: Some. It’s right near the street.

Why we love it: It’s a great example, like Ramsey, of what a neighborhood can do to improve its park.

Bonus: Enjoy tennis courts, track and a covered basketball court on site.

Dove Springs District Park has a cool playscape and zip line. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

16. Dove Springs District Park

Address: 5801 Ainez Drive.

Area of Central Texas: Southeast Austin

Features: This is a lovely park with wood-themed playscapes. You can spin around on leaves, climb up tree trunks, cross a bridge to get to a different playscape. The thing that kids will really love is the zip line down the hill.

Shade: Not much.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Medium. It is a large area that encourages running.

Why we love it: Oh, it’s all about the zip line.

Bonus: It’s got everything a park needs: pool, tennis, basketball, recreation center, volleyball.

Harper Park in the Anderson Mill area has a playscape that looks like a forest. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

17. Anderson Mill Limited District Parks: Harper/El Salido/Pecan Creek

Address: 11008-11098 Lake Creek Parkway, 11500 El Salido Parkway, and Pecan Creek Parkway and Gungrove Drive

Area of Central Texas: Northwest Austin

Features: Harper Park has a large playscape with many things to climb, including trees, and swings including a bench swing. El Salido offers some unusual things to spin around in and swing from. We love the quaintness of Pecan Creek Park, which you might pass by and never see. All three are close together and offer different things to do.

Shade: Not much, except from trees and a shade covering at Pecan Creek.

Restrooms: Only at El Salido, which has a pool.

Anxiety level: Very little.

Why we love it: We love the variety of equipment and the little bridges to get to the playgrounds.

Bonus: We’re ready to climb the tree structure at Harper and swing on the bench swings.

Gustavo “Gus” L. Garcia District Park has a cool playground for climbing. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

18. Gustavo “Gus” L. Garcia District Park

Address: 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.

Area of Central Texas: Northeast Austin

Features: This park offers two large new playscapes with a lot to climb on. The big-kid one is well-covered by a shade structure. The little kid one looks like a dinosaur. It’s all about climbing and hanging from things here.

Shade: Some.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: None.

Why we love it: It has some different things to climb on. Did we mention the playscape that is a dinosaur?

Bonus: It’s new and fun.

Pease District Park has a large playscape. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

19. Pease District Park

Address: 1100 Kingsbury St.

Area of Central Texas: Central Austin

Features: Nice playscapes, but they are showing some wear. It does have big picnic tables, which makes it great for groups.

Shade: Some from the trees.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Very little. The playground is in one spot and easy to watch for kids.

Why we love it: It’s centrally located and there are a lot of things to do.

Bonus: This park comes with an amazing splash pad.

Mountain View Neighborhood Park has lots of shade and a great playscape. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

20. Mountain View Neighborhood Park

Address: 9000 Middlebie Road.

Area of Central Texas: Northwest Austin

Features: This park just feels amazing. It’s secluded and feels like an oasis that you climb up to. There’s a surprise at the top. It’s got great playscapes, including a tire swing, and plenty of different things to climb. It’s also got a nice pavilion with nice bathrooms.

Shade: Yes. The trees do wonders.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: None.

Why we love it: It feels a world away from the city.

Bonus: That tire swing begs for a ride.

Davis/White Northeast Neighborhood Park is a cool neighborhood park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

21. Davis/White Northeast Neighborhood Park

Address: 6705 Crystalbrook Drive.

Area of Central Texas: Northeast Austin

Features: This park has great equipment including a large playscape and a second playscape, and it is getting used. It’s also has a nice pavilion.

Shade: No.

Restrooms: Yes, but also portable toilets.

Anxiety level: Very little. It’s small and nicely contained.

Why we love it: The equipment is new and fun and we saw a lot of different kids climbing on it.

Bonus: It’s got all that new equipment without being overrun by kids.

Dick Nichols District Park now has shade over the playscape. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

22. Dick Nichols District Park

Address: 8011 Beckett Road.

Area of Central Texas: Far South Austin

Features: This playground offers a large big-kid playground that is now fully shade, which has improved it immensely, as well as a little-kid playscape with a car. It also has swings for big and little kids and a cool hanging obstacle course. It is showing some wear, though.

Shade: Yes.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Low.

Why we love it: The playscape is fun, but kids flock to that car as well as well as the dolphin that shoots water at you. It’s an old-school splash pad.

Bonus: There’s a pool and a beautifully wooded one-mile paved trail.

Rattan Creek Park is a private park with a tire swing and a rock wall. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

23. Rattan Creek Park

Address: Elkhorn Mountain Trail and Tamayo Drive.

Area of Central Texas: Northwest Austin

Features: This North Austin Municipal Utility District No. 1 park is supposed to be for its residents only, but we doubt they’re the only people who play here. It’s beautifully shaded with a rock wall and two playscapes and a tire swing.

Shade: Yes, through trees and shade structures.

Restrooms: Yes, in the pool building.

Anxiety level: Very low.

Why we love it: It’s the woody shade and the different types of play equipment.

Bonus: Did we mention the rock wall playscape?

Tanglewood Forest Park has really nice playscapes. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

24. Tanglewood Forest Park

Address: 9801 Curlew Drive.

Area of Central Texas: Far South Austin

Features: Tanglewood Forest (not to be confused with Tanglewood in Northwest Austin) is run by a limited district, but it offers some of the best equipment for a small park. The playscapes are a great size and there are many sets of swings.

Shade: Not a lot.

Restrooms: Yes, by the pool.

Anxiety level: Very little.

Why we love it: We love the size of it and the variety of things to play on.

Bonus: Parents love the walking track around it. Kids will love the dinosaur to ride on.

25. Gillis Neighborhood Park

Address: 2410 Durwood Ave.

Area of Central Texas: South Austin

Features: This quiet little park has new equipment to play on as well as plenty of shade and restrooms. Plus, you can climb like a spider on a rope playscape.

Shade: Yes.

Restrooms: Yes.

Anxiety level: Some, but only in the parking lot.

Why we love it: It’s cute and quiet with unexpectedly amazing equipment.

Bonus: There’s a pool here, too.

More great playground gems

Try out these great playgrounds, grouped by area of town.

Northwest Balcones Neighborhood Park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Northwest

Trailhead Neighborhood Park, 10984 Boulder Lane. It’s a sweet little park with a large playscape and a nice pavilion.

Oak View Neighborhood Park, 10902 Oak View Drive. This one is so hidden, you might miss the playscape, but that’s what makes it great.

Fritz Hughes Park, 3100 Fritz Hughes Park Road. This cute park just beneath Mansfield Dam has a nice simple playscape and a great picnic field.

Northwest Balcones Neighborhood Park, 10225 Talleyran Drive. It’s got two nice playscapes and a pavilion with restrooms.

Pickfair Pocket Park, 10904 Pickfair Drive. We loved crossing the bridge to get to this sweet little playground.

Robinson Park, 13308 Humphrey Drive. Stop by this cute park with two playscapes on your way to Rattan Creek Park.

Hubert C. Schroeter Neighborhood Park, 11701 Big Trail. You can’t see this playscape from the street, but walk through the path of native grasses, and it’s worth it.

Tanglewood Neighborhood Park, 2106 Tower Drive. This cute park includes nice playscapes and a bridge to a rustic trail.

Heritage Park in Pflugerville. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

 

Far North

Buttercup. 411 Twin Oak Trail, Cedar Park. We found this cute park looking for another one. It’s got good shade and things to bounce on.

Tumlinson Park. 405 Tumlinson Fort Drive, Leander. This restricted park in the Block House Municipal Utility District has a large playscape, swings and a bouncy horse and motorcycle.

Heritage Park. 901 Old Austin Hutto Road, Pflugerville. You can learn about history here. You also can play on a shaded playscape or take advantage of the pool next to it.

Pfluger Park, Pflugerville. 515 City Park Road. Trust not your GPS. It will lead you astray, but once you get here, the park offers a great playscape, miniature houses and a gazebo.

Robin Bledsoe Park. 601 S. Bagdad Road, Leander. This park has a nice playscape as well as the city pool. Shade would be good here.

Dottie Jordan Neighborhood Park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

East/Northeast

Springdale Neighborhood Park. 1175 Nickols Ave. You’ll find large playscape and other things to climb. Some of the equipment has some wear.

Dottie Jordan Neighborhood Park. 2803 Loyola Lane. Kids will enjoy the variety of this playscape. It’s not the newest playscape, but it’s well kept up.

Lott Pocket Park. 1180 Curve St. This is one of those cute parks you might miss. It’s in the heart of East Austin and has good equipment and a splash pad.

Bartholomew District Park. 5201 Berkman Drive. You’ll find many things to climb on in this park’s play area including a train set. The splash pad is great, too.

Edward Rendon Sr. Metropolitan Park at Festival Beach. 2101 Jesse E Segovia St. This playscape sits in the middle of a large park off of the beach.

Eastwoods Neighborhood Park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Central

Eastwoods Neighborhood Park. 3001 Harris Park Ave. This quiet park is worth a stop. It’s well-shaded, features two playscapes and a splash pad.

Tarrytown Neighborhood Park. 2106 Tower Drive. The Tarrytown area doesn’t have a big park, but this one is really sweet. The two playscapes are separated by a bridge.

Tom Lasseter-South Lamar Neighborhood. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

South

Little Stacy Neighborhood Park. 1500 Alameda Drive. People who love this park love its shady grounds. Some of the equipment is new. Some of the older equipment probably should be taken out. There is a wading pool here, too.

Battlebend Springs Neighborhood Park. 121 Sheraton Ave. This is an unexpected surprise off South Congress Avenue. It has a big new playscape with a rock wall and things to spin around on.

Tom Lasseter-South Lamar Neighborhood. 3000 Del Curto Road. Del Curto Road is torn up, but once we found it, it was worth it. It’s a wooded oasis with a great whimsical playscape.

Garrison District Park. 6001 Manchaca Road. Garrison has two great playscapes that are nicely shaded.

Joslin Neighborhood Park. 2106 Cimaron Trail. Next to Joslin Elementary, this park sits in a big field and offers new equipment that you won’t find elsewhere.

Rollingwood City Park. Gentry and Nixon Drives. This playscape isn’t the largest, but it’s got a fun, modern merry-go-round where four kids can sit and then spin around.

City Park in Buda. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Far South

Wildflower Park. 5000 Tiger Lily Way. Circle C does not have a great playscape in its metropolitan park. Skip it and find your way to this one. It’s got two new playscapes with shade structures.

Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park. 907 W. Slaughter Lane. People come to this park for the walking trails and disc golf, but it’s got a fun playscape, too.

Silk Oak Neighborhood Park. 3204 Silk Oak Drive. You have to know that this park, which links two neighborhoods, is there to find it. It’s got three playscapes, swings and a volleyball court.

A.B. Dittmar Neighborhood Park. 1009 W. Dittmar Road. This playscape feels like you’re climbing into a treehouse.

City Park, Buda. 204 N. San Marcos St. You come to this park for the wiener dog races and the fireworks, but you can come other times to play on this large playscape.

Franklin Neighborhood Park. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Southeast

Franklin Neighborhood Park. 4800 Copperbend Blvd. This playscape has so much for all kids to do. It would be the perfect park. What’s missing? Bathrooms that aren’t portable. That’s it.

Kendra Page Neighborhood Park. 2203 Blue Meadow Drive. This park has a fun bench that you and a friend can move back and forth on as well as two playscapes.

Fisherman’s Park in Bastrop. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Far East

Fisherman’s Park, Bastrop. 1200 Willow St. You’ll come to fish and feed the ducks, but head into the gated play area for two great playscapes and a seat that spins. This park also has an extensive splash pad.

What are you doing this long Fourth of July weekend? Check out these family events in Austin

It could be a very long weekend if you don’t plan for the family fun. Check out our family calendar for July 4th weekend.

For more family events of the summer, check out our Summer events calendar.

Blanton docent Gary Kattner, right, reads a book for (left to right) Mandy Kutz, and daughter Effie, 3, Cate Bowman, 3, and mother Jillian Bontke Bowman during a story tour in the Blanton Museum of Art. Julia Robinson/ FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014

Friday

Blanton Museum. Deeper Dives. Ages 8-12. 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday. See the museum and make art. Blanton Museum. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org.

Star Party. Look at the stars. 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

The Woodland Faerie Trail will be open all weekend except Tuesday.
Credit: Zilker Botanical Garden

Friday-Monday

Woodland Faerie Trail. See fairy houses on this trail. Through July 30. Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.

Friday-Tuesday

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp. Movies for $1-3 donation. “Iron Giant.” 10:20 a.m. Friday-Tuesday Lakeline.  “Muppets from Space.” 10:25 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m. Monday-Tuesday, Slaughter Lane. “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” 9:30 a.m. Friday-Sunday, 10 a.m. Monday-Tuesday, Mueller. drafthouse.com

“The Lego  Batman Movie” is at the library this weekend. Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Saturday

Free Teddybear Clinic. Help kids understand about doctors’ visits. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Baby Earth, 06 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Suite D-100, Round Rock. RSVP at 844-279-3627.

Bullock Museum. Summer Free Family Film Series: “Black Cauldron.” 2 p.m. Saturday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. For infant to 3. Learn about summer all month long. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Soar to New Heights. It’s all about rockets and paper planes as you test out your creations. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 1. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Wildflower Center. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. Toybrary Austin, 7817 Rockwood Lane, Suite 101. toybraryaustin.com

“Jack & The Beanstalk.” The fairytale comes to the sage. Noon,  Saturday. $12. One World Theatre, 7701 Bee Cave Road. oneworldtheatre.org

“Iron Giant.” 1 p.m. Saturday. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

BookPeople Story time. “Ninjas in the Night.” 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Saturday story times 11 a.m. at all locations: “Be Quiet!” Saturday.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Sing.” Noon Saturday, Carver Branch. “Lego Batman Movie.” 2 p.m. Saturday, Windsor Park Branch;.

That’s So Fandom: Video Game Animation. 2 p.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Saturday-Sunday

Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection. For ages 4 and up. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday,$8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” 3:05 p.m. Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“Despicable Me 3” Party. 9:15 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline. 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com

From top left, Jennifer and Kevin Miller react as their daughter, Laurel, 4, center, takes part in an inertia game at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Sunday

Bullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday: Red, White and Blue. Special family programs throughout the museum. 10 a.m. July 2. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

The Hoots. 3 p.m. Sunday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Monday

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. For infant to 3. Learn about summer all month long. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Crafternoon. 2 p.m. Monday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Hey Lollies Present: “Iris Saves the Land of Black and White.” 2 p.m. Monday, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Magician John O’Bryant. 2 p.m. Monday, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Bernadette Nason Presents: Stone Soup. 3 p.m. Monday, Howson Branch.

Sandbank Shadow Factory Presents: Rapunzel. 6 p.m. Monday, Carver Branch.

Monday-Tuesday

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse. Offers $1 movies 10 a.m at Round Rock 8. “Goosebumps.” Monday-Tuesday. cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse.

The crowds arrived in record numbers to participate in the Fourth of July firework celebration at Auditorium Shores and the Long Center. JOHN GUTIERREZ/ FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Tuesday

H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks. 8:30 p.m. Tuesday. Free. Vic Mathias Shores. austinsymphony.org

Regal Summer Movie Express. $1 movies at Westgate Stadium 11 and Gateway Stadium 16. “The Secret Life of Pets,” and “Sing,” 10 a.m. Tuesday.  regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express.

BookPeople Story time. Brand New Books. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take your kids on a Texas treasure hunt this summer with Brain Chase challenge

Are your kids sitting at home this summer doing nothing? I know mine are. What if they could go on a real life treasure hunt and learn some math, engineering, coding, art and reading skills on the way?

Brain Chase, www.brainchase.com, has launched its Texas Edition of its treasure hunt. Participants follow Mae Merriweather’s quest to locate a golden treasure and uncover clues find the missing adventurer Tate Grayson.

Each week over seven weeks, your kids complete customized assignments online and offline. Once they are complete, the next animated webisode is unlocked. Each webisode has clues, puzzles and riddles. they also get tools in the mail to help decipher the clues.

The first participant to complete the seven-week challenge and guess the location of Grayson within a 2-mile radius wins a $10,000 scholarship.

Then the student and a parent get to go to the actual secret location to unlock the treasure and take it home.

Brain Chase Texas Edition is for ages 6-6 and you have to sign up online at  www.brainchase.com, by Friday (June 30) to participate. It’s not free, though. There are several packages:  Scout ($69), Explorer ($149), or Adventurer ($229). Each package includes different access to a selection of subjects and tools.

 

Keep kids safe this summer with these tips from the CDC

Brigitte Decato, a swim instructor with the Swim Safe program at the YMCA, works with Octavio Ruiz, 5, (center) on the backstroke. 2007 Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these summer safety tips:

Master Water Safety

Swimming and other water activities are excellent ways to get the physical activity and health benefits needed for a healthy life. Get the most from these activities while helping everyone stay safe and healthy.

Be Sun Smart

Just a few serious sunburns can increase your child’s risk of skin cancer later in life. Adults and children need protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays whenever they’re outdoors. Learn how to protect your child from sun damage.

  • Seek shade when necessary. UV rays are strongest and most harmful during midday, so it’s best to plan indoor activities then. If this is not possible, seek shade under a tree, an umbrella, or a pop-up tent.
  • When possible, cover up with long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts to provide protection from UV rays.
  • Wear a hat that shades the face, scalp, ears, and neck. If your child chooses a baseball cap, be sure to protect exposed areas with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses . They protect your child’s eyes from UV rays, which can lead to cataracts later in life.
  • Use a sunscreen with at least SPF (sun protection factor) 15 every time your child goes outside. For the best protection, apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before going outdoors. Don’t forget to protect ears, noses, lips, and the tops of feet.
    RELATED: OUR GUIDE TO PICKING A SUNSCREEN

Be Safe at Home, Work, and Play

Injuries are the leading cause of death in children aged 19 and younger, but most child injuries can be prevented.

Learn More About Health

CDC has more resources for kids to learn about issues that affect their health.

Before you forget: Evaluate this summer’s camps for next year

Jessica Gonzales, from the Oak Hill YMCA, is outnumbered as her camp kids spray her with water guns as part of the festivities in the summer camp Olympics. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

Every year you swear your going to write down some things about the summer camps you’ve been sending your kids to so you’ll remember them when it’s time to sign up next year. And then you don’t. Then come January or February, when it’s time to start signing up for camps again, you think, “Huh, I think my kid liked that camp, but I can’t remember why.” “Huh, I remember there was something about that camp that was problematic … what was it?”

The really horrible things you remember. The OK things you don’t. We’re here to help. Even if your child has aged out of a camp, jot down some notes because it will help you figure out a camp or activity for the next year.

Print out these questions below to help you and your kids put your mental notes onto paper, or at least take some electronic notes and mail them to yourself based on this evaluation. You also can add your own questions to this evaluation.

Name of camp:

Contact with phone number, email, website: 

Location:

Was it easy to get to?

Length of camps in weeks, hours: 

Price:

Was it worth the price?

Were meals and snacks provided or did I provide them?

Other equipment or supplies needed?

Did I feel my child was safe and well-cared for at this camp?

My impressions of the staff at this camp:

My child loved this camp because …

My child did not like this camp because …

Things my child wishes would have been different: 

Things my child would be upset about if it wasn’t there next year: 

Friends my child made that we should connect with during the school year:

Children my child should not be with next year if possible: 

Things I liked about this camp:

Things I would like to see changed for next year?

Does my child want to go back?

Do I want my child to go back?

Does this camp offer school-year holiday coverage or after-school care?

Would my child want to attend those other activities?

Find more camp tips in our camp guide, campguide.austin360.com

 

 

Back to school to-do list: Start thinking about school supplies now

Oh, we know. The start of school is almost two months away. Is it really time to go back-to-school shopping already?

Lukas Parra, 8, hands Kaitlyn Bradley, 12, a folder as they check off one more school supply. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN STATESMAN

Probably not, but here’s what you can do.

  1. Find the school supply list. Look on your school’s website. Can’t find it there? Ask a fellow parent in your grade or in the grade ahead of your child for the list.
  2. Take a picture of the school supply list and put it on your phone.
  3. If you happen to be in a store during the summer and see a good price on something, you can grab it.

Why do it now?

  • Back-to-school sales are fabulous and amazing, but not always on every product.
  • Tax-free weekend also doesn’t equal good deals on everything. Often, you’re really only saving the tax (0.825 percent) verses another sale that is 10 percent, 20 percent, half off, etc.
  • Once everyone starts looking for the same common school supplies, store shelves get depleted. Let me tell you about the year we couldn’t find graph paper. It wasn’t pretty. I might have sat in the middle of a Walmart at 10 p.m. on a school night and cried, only to realize I was being ridiculous.

RELATED: Dear Walmart and Target, Kids still need school supplies. Love, Frustrated Parents Everywhere

What if I can’t find a list because there is no list because my kid is in high school or middle school?

  • Ask parents (or kids) in the grade ahead of your kid what they needed.
  • Go ahead and stock up on items you know your child might need: composition books, binders, pencils, pens, notebook paper, printer paper, etc.

Last year, we shopped for back-to-school supplies from a common list of items and figured out where the least expensive places to shop would be. 

What we didn’t do was test how much we would have spent if we went online to a place like Amazon instead of hitting stores. So, we did. We took the same list from last year and found these results:

For the third-grader, we would have spent $110.71 to complete his list on Amazon, compared with $61.15 at Walmart for the same list.

For the eighth-grader, $85.04 on Amazon, compared with $28.20 at H-E-B.

Was it easier to shop online? Well, it wasn’t as hot and there weren’t people in our way, but many of the specific items were hard to find. You had to scroll through a lot and there were way too many options. We also would have had to buy a lot of extra stuff to get the specific things we needed because often things were packaged deal.

RELATED: 10 things to remember when back-to-school shopping

RELATED: Got your school supplies? Now get to labeling

Find more back-to-school columns we’re written this summer and look for at least one a week here at Austin360.com/raisingaustin.

Back to school to-do list: Improve your child’s online reputation

Back to School to-do list: 5 ways to get kids reading this summer

Back to School to-do list: Clean out the backpack

Back to school to-do list: Schedule doctor visit for vaccines, sports physicals

 

On this hot, rainy weekend, find things to do with the kids, June 23-25

“Whether the Weather” from Pollyanna Theatre Company.

It’s going to rain this weekend: 80 percent chance on Saturday, 60 percent chance on Sunday, with highs in the low 90s. What’s a family to do? Take refuge in local family events, many of which are inside this weekend.

For more family events of the summer, check out our Summer events calendar.

Friday

Blanton Museum. Deeper Dives. Ages 8-12. 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Friday. See the museum and make art. Blanton Museum. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org.

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Star Party. Look at the stars. 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Friday. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.orgWildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Literature Live Presents: “Wiley and the Hairy Man.”  2 p.m. Friday, Yarborough Branch.

Tween STEAM: LittleBits Theme Park. 3:30 p.m. Friday, University Hills Branch.

Friday-Saturday

“Whether the Weather.” Pollyanna Theatre Company presents this play for children 18 months to 5 years old based on a British nursery rhyme about the weather. 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. Friday-Saturday. $6.50. AT&T Conference Room in the Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside Drive. pollyannatheatrecompany.org

Jonah Bobo stars in Columbia Pictures’ heart-racing sci-fi family film “Zathura.” Columbia Pictures

Friday-Sunday

Woodland Faerie Trail. See fairy houses on this trail. Through July 30. Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp. “Matilda.” 10 a.m. Friday-Sunday. Lakeline. 10 a.m. Friday-Saturday, Slaughter Lane. “Iron Giant.” 10:10 a.m. Sunday. Slaughter Lane.  “Zathura.” 10:05 a.m. Sunday. Village. “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.” 10 a.m. Friday-Saturday, Mueller.

Enjoy the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Saturday

Humane Society kids. Perform Teddy Bear Surgery. 3 p.m. Saturday Register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. For infant to 3. Learn about the sea. 9 a.m. Saturday. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Wildflower Center. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.orgWildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturday. Toybrary Austin, 7817 Rockwood Lane. Suite 101. toybraryaustin.com.

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Science Saturday: Technology of Today and Tomorrow. Children will be invited to learn about virtual reality, 3D printing and The Dumpster Project, which is bringing a tiny sustainable dumpster home to play in. 1-5 p.m. Saturday.  Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

The Sound of Music.” 2 p.m. Saturday. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

BookPeople story time. Adventures in Faraway Lands. 11:30 a.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Saturday story times 11 a.m. at all locations: Rainbow Fish. Saturday.

Saturday Family Movie: “Independence Day: Resurgence.” 2 p.m. Saturday, University Hills Branch.

Saturday-Sunday

Build a Better Boat. For ages 4 up. 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. For ages 8 and up. 3:15 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Kids learn to do woodworking at The Thinkery. Photo by Hunter Douglas

Sunday

Plaza Para Todos. Immerse yourself in culture at this family-friendly event that will feature live entertainment from local musicians and performing artists. The evening will also have children’s activities, classic Latino games and food from across Latin America. 6 to 8 p.m. Sunday. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St. eventbrite.com/e/plaza-para-todos-tickets-34840543002.

Austin Symphony Hartman Concerts in the Park. A different section of the symphony plays each week. 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.

PBS Kids: “Nature Cat: Ocean Commotion.” 11 a.m. Sunday, Mueller.

“Cars 3” Family Party. 10:30 a.m Sunday, Mueller.

Literature Live Presents: “Wiley and the Hairy Man.” 3 p.m. Sunday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Hey Lollies Present: “Iris Saves the Land of Black and White.” 2 p,m. Sunday, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Camp Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Sundays. Faulk Central Library. 3 p.m. Monday, Old Quarry Branch.

 

 

 

 

Plan your July with these family events in Austin

Families will once again gather to at Zilker Hillside Theater for the annual summer musical. This year “The Wizard of Oz” is playing. Xavier Mascareñas/AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2008

July is a great time for getting out with the family and enjoy some fun around Austin. Just remember: Hydrate and use sunscreen. Check out our July calendar. Are we missing something? Email nvillalpando@statesman.com.

RELATED: WEIRD, WONDERFUL THINGS TO DO WITH THE KIDS THIS SUMMER

Events

Woodland Faerie Trail. See fairy houses on this trail. Through July 30. Free with admission. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. zilkergarden.org.

The Harlem Globetrotters. 7 p.m. July 7. $14-$104. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. hebcenter.com

Discover the Dinosaurs Unleashed. See dinosaurs models up close. 2 p.m.-8 p.m. July 7, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. July 8 and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. July 9. $19-$45. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. discoverthedinosaurs.com

Rhythm on Stage. Take center stage and learn how to dance with Ballet Austin instructors. Learn about Brazillian dance on July 11. RSVP ahead of time. 7 p.m. doors. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org/event/rhythm-on-stage.

Free Teddybear Clinic. Help kids understand about doctors’ visits. 10:30 a.m. July 1. Baby Earth, 06 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Suite D-100, Round Rock. RSVP at 844-279-3627.

Keep Austin Playing. Free activities including rock climbing, human foosball, bike rodeo and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 22. Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. austintexas.gov/parks.

Humane Society kids programs. Learn about Austin Wildlife Rescue. 1 p.m. July 8. Story time with cats. 2 p.m. July 11. Teddy Bear Surgery. 3 p.m. July 22. Art Workshop with cats.  3 p.m. July 25. Register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane.

RELATED: FIVE THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS TO KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD

Blanton docent Gary Kattner, right, reads a book for (left to right) Mandy Kutz, and daughter Effie, 3, Cate Bowman, 3, and mother Jillian Bontke Bowman during a Storytime tour in the Blanton Museum of Art. Julia Robinson/ FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2014

Museums

Bullock Museum. Summer Free Family Film Series: “Black Cauldron.” 2 p.m. July 1. H-E-B Free First Sunday: Red, White and Blue. Special family programs throughout the museum. 10 a.m. July 2. Sensational Thursdays: Family Stories. 10 a.m. July 6. What’s that Smell? July 13, Museum Takeover, 10 a.m. July 20, Story time. 10 a.m. July 27.  Make it Tuesdays. What’s the Scoop? 10 a.m. July 11. On the Map. 10 a.m. July 18. Makey Makey. 10 a.m. July 25.  Summer Free Film Series: “My Neighbor Totoro.” 2 p.m. July 22. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

Blanton Museum. 3ft Deep. For ages 3-5. Explore art and make art. 10 a.m. Tuesdays through July 25. Artists and Authors. For ages 5-8. Hear a story and see and make art. 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, through July 27. Deeper Dives. Ages 8-12. 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Fridays, through July 28. See the museum and make art. WorkLab. For all ages. Make art. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, through July 26. Family Art Quest. For families with children ages 8-12. Have an adventure in the museum. 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, through July 26. Blanton Museum. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers. For infant to 3. Learn about summer all month long. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. Special guests throughout the month. $5. Cow Eye Dissection. For ages 4 and up. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m. July 1-2, July 15-16, July 29-30. $8. E-Wearables. For ages 4 and up. 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m. or 3:15 p.m., July 8-9, July 22-23. $8. Parent’s Night Out. You go to the Alamo to see a movie, your child stays at the Thinkery to play. 5:30-10 p.m. July 21. $45 for first child, $25 each additional child. Sensory-friendly Hours. 8-10 a.m. July 23, $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Out of the Past. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 8. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Hill Country Science Mill. Soar to New Heights. It’s all about rockets and paper planes as you test out your creations. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 1. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger. Learn about science through song, play and stories. 9 a.m. July 12 and 26. Star Party. Look at the stars. 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Nature Play Hour. Play in the Family Garden. 11 a.m. Saturdays. Lady Bird Day. Free admission and special activity. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 23; Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

RELATED: WAYS TO EXPLORE NATURE WITH YOUR FAMILY THIS SUMMER

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Family Day. 10-4 p.m. July 9. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org

Toybrary Austin. Date night babysitting. For ages 1-5. $25 first child, $10 siblings. 5-8 p.m. Saturdays. A Taste of Paris party. $7 a child. 10:30 a.m. July 14. Daddy & Me Drum Classes. 10:30 a.m. July 15, 22, 29. $10. Clown Show with Silly Sparkles. 10:30 a.m. July 27. $10.Toybrary Austin, 7817 Rockwood Lane, Suite 101. toybraryaustin.com

RELATED: 7 GREAT MUSEUMS TO EXPLORE WITH YOUR FAMILY

Theater

“Jack & The Beanstalk.” The fairytale comes to the sage. Noon July 1. $12. One World Theatre,  7701 Bee Cave Road. oneworldtheatre.org

“A Shoe Story: A Brand New Musical.” Summer Stock Austin presents this family theater show based on “The Elves and the Shoemaker.” It’s written by Allen Robertson and Damon Brown and directed by Allen Robertson. 7:30 p.m. July 25; 11 a.m. July 28, 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 a performance Aug. 3, 4 and 8. $50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“The Ragbag Shoes.” Pollyanna Theater presents this story of a girl who dreams of getting magical shoes, but she knows her father can’t afford them. For ages 4-10. 2 p.m. July 8, July 9 and July 15. $10.50-$13.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“The Wizard of Oz.” Zilker Summer Musical returns with adventure on the yellow brick road. 8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays July 7-Aug. 12. Free, but donations welcome. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Drive. zilker.org.

RELATED: MORE THAN A DOZEN WAYS TO SEE THEATER WITH THE FAMILY

The crowds arrived in record numbers to participate in the July 4 firework celebration and symphony concert at Auditorium Shores and the Long Center. JOHN GUTIERREZ/ FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

Music

“The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.” All the music you love from the video game comes to the stage. 8 p.m. July 7. $19.50-$69.50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Austin Symphony Hartman Concerts in the Park. A different section of the symphony plays each week. 7:30 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 27 except July 2. Free. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

Austin Symphony Children’s Art Park. A different musician plays each week. July 12, April & Amy; July 19, Mr. Will Music; July 26, Nathalia. 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays through July 26 except July 5. 50 cents per child. Symphony Square, 1101 Red River St. austinsymphony.org.

H-E-B Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks. 8:30 p.m. July 4. Free. Vic Mathias Shores. austinsymphony.org

RELATED: TAKE YOUR KIDS TO HEAR MUSIC THIS SUMMER

“Moana”  can be found at theaters and libraries across Austin. Disney

Movies

Sound and Cinema. Watch a movie and hear a concert at the same time on the lawn of the Long Center. “Galaxy Quest,” 6 p.m. July 19 and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World,” July 26. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org

“Iron Giant.” 1 p.m. July 1. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” 3:05 p.m. July 1, 4 p.m. July 2. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“Swiss Family Robinson.” 1 p.m. July 8. $10-$6. Stateside at the Paramount Theater, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“The Wizard of Oz.” 1 p.m. July 16. $10-$6. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

“Babe.” 1 p.m. July 29. $10-$6. Stateside at the Paramount Theater, 719 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org

Movies in the Park: “Aladdin.” 9 p.m. July 6. Free. Patterson Park, 4200 Brookview Road. austinparks.org.

Movies in the Park: “Mighty Ducks.” 9 p.m. July 13. Free. Dick Nichols District Park, 8011 Becket Road. austinparks.org.

Deep Eddie Splash Party Movie Nights. “Beauty and the Beast.” 8 p.m. July 8. “Finding Dory.” 8 p.m. July 22. Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave. Regular pool fees apply.

Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse. Offers $1 movies 10 a.m. Monday through Thursdays at Round Rock 8. “Goosebumps” July 3-6, “The Iron Giant,” July 10-13, “Hotel Transylvania 2,” July 17-20, “Megamind,” July 24-27, “The Angry Birds Movie,” July 31-Aug. 3. cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse.

Regal Summer Movie Express. 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Westgate Stadium 11 and Gateway Stadium 16. “The Secret Life of Pets,” and “Sing,” July 4-5; “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Rachet and Clank,” July 11-12; “The SpongeBob Move: Sponge out of Water” and “The Adventures of Tintin,” July 18-19; “Happy Feet Two” and “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore,” July 25-26. Tickets are $1. regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express.

Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp. Movies for $1-3 donation. “Iron Giant.” 10:20 a.m. July 1-6 Lakeline.  10 a.m. July 14-20, Mueller. 10 a.m. July 21-27, Slaughter Lane. “Muppets from Space.” 10:25 a.m. July 1-2, 10 a.m. July 3-6, Slaughter Lane.  9:50 a.m. July 7-10. 10:30 a.m. July 11-13, Lakeline. 10 a.m. July 21-27, Mueller. “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.” 10 a.m. July 7-13, Slaughter Lane. 10:10 a.m. July 14-16, 10 a.m. July 17-20, Lakeline. 9:30 a.m. July 1-2, 10 a.m. July 3-6, Mueller. “Trolls.” 10 a.m. July 21-27, Lakeline. 10 a.m. July 7, 9-13, Mueller. “Speed Racer.” 10 a.m. July 28-31, Lakeline. “The Boxtrolls.” 10 a.m. July 14-20, Slaughter Lane. “Jumanji.” 10 a.m. July 28-31, Slaughter Lane. drafthouse.com

“Despicable Me 3” Party. 9:15 a.m. July 2, Lakeline. 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Slaughter Lane. 10 a.m. July 8. Mueller. drafthouse.com

RELATED: SEE MOVIES FOR FREE OR VERY LITTLE THIS SUMMER

Austin-based children’s performer Ms. Staci Gray entertains at a room packed with kids and their parents as they try to burst bubbles during story time at BookPeople. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Books

BookPeople events. Richelle Mead: “Midnight Jewel.” 6 p.m. July 8. P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: “Loved.” 7 p.m. July 17. Teen Summer Cosplay Camp. 1-3 p.m. July 19 and 21. Jason Gallaher: “Whobert, Whover, Owl Detective.” 2 p.m. July 22. Story time. “Ninjas in the Night.” 11:30 a.m. July 1,  Brand New Books. 10:30 a.m. July 4. Baby Signs. 10:30 a.m. July 5. “Spread the Joy.” 11:30 a.m. July 8. Author Emma Virjan. 10:30 a.m. July 11. “Down on the Farm.” 10:30 a.m. July 12.  Illustrator Spotlight. 11:30 a.m. July 15. Armstrong Community Music School. 10:30 a.m. July 18. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo. 10:30 a.m. July 19. “We ❤ Dinosaurs.” 11:30 a.m. July 22. Shark Week. 10:30 a.m. July 25. Modern First Library. 10:30 a.m. July 26.  Things that Go. 11:30 a.m. July 29. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. bookpeople.com

Barnes & Noble Events: Saturday story times 11 a.m. at all locations: “Be Quiet!” July 1. “Little Excavator” July 8. “Pig the Pug.” July 15. “What Do You Do With a Problem?” July 22. Celebration in Get Pop-Cultured featuring “Good Morning, Superman!,” “Be a Star, Wonder Woman,” and “Bedtime for Batman.” July 29.

At the library

Bow Wow Reading with Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch. Read to Scout! 3:30 p.m. July 20, Old Quarry Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Sing.” Noon July 1, Carver Branch. “Lego Batman Movie.” 2 p.m. July 1, Windsor Park Branch; “Inside Out.” Noon July 8, Carver Branch; “Finding Dory.” 2 p.m. July 8, University Hills Branch; “The Secret Life of Pets.” 2 p.m. July 22, University Hills Branch; “Storks.” 2 p.m. July 27, University Hills Branch.

That’s So Fandom: Video Game Animation. 2 p.m. July 1, Yarborough Branch; Cosplay Demo and Workshop. 11 a.m. July 15, University Hills Branch; Ultimate Showdown. 1 p.m. July 22, Carver Branch.

The Hoots. 3 p.m. July 2, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. July 6, Milwood Branch; 2 p.m. July 10, Spicewood Springs Branch; 2 p.m. July 12, Hampton Branch; 2 p.m. July 13, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Crafternoon. 2 p.m. July 3, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. July 24, Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m. July 25, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Hey Lollies Present: “Iris Saves the Land of Black and White.” 2 p.m. July 3, Spicewood Springs Branch; 3 p.m. July 17, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. July 21, Yarborough Branch.

Magician John O’Bryant. 2 p.m. July 3, Spicewood Springs Branch; 2 p.m. July 12, Ruiz Branch; 2 p.m. July 13, Milwood Branch; 2 p.m. July 20, University Hills Branch; 2 p.m. July 28, Yarborough Branch.

Bernadette Nason Presents: Stone Soup. 3 p.m. July 3, Howson Branch; 2 p.m. July 6, University Hills Branch; 2 p.m. July 11, Cepeda Branch; 3 p.m. July 16, Manchaca Road Branch; 2 p.m. July 24, Windsor Park Branch.

Sandbank Shadow Factory Presents: Rapunzel. 6 p.m. July 3, Carver Branch; 2 p.m. July 5, Ruiz Branch.

Elizabeth Kahura Presents: Folktales from Africa. 2 p.m. July 5, Hampton Branch.

Literature Live! Presents “Wiley and the Hairy Man.” 2 p.m. July 5, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 3 p.m. July 10, Howson Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 12, North Village Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 25, Old Quarry Branch; 3 p.m. July 27, Southeast Branch.

Tween STEAM. LittleBits Theme Park. 2 p.m. July 5, Twin Oaks Branch, 3 p.m. July 11, Yarborough Branch, 3 p.m. July 12, Cepeda Branch, 2 p.m. July 14, St. John Branch, 2 p.m. July 18, Ruiz Branch, 3 p.m. July 28, North Village Branch; Makey Makey Madness. 2 p.m. July 7, Howson Branch, 2 p.m. July 10, Manchaca Road Branch, 2 p.m. July 13, Old Quarry Branch, 2 p.m. July 20, Terrazas Branch; Stop Motion Animation. 3 p.m. July 7, Little Walnut Creek Branch, 2 p.m. July 27, Terrazas Branch; Wireless Wearables. 2 p.m. July 11, Windsor Park Branch, 2 p.m. July 13, Willie Mae Kirk Branch, 3 p.m. July 17, Hampton Branch; Paper Circuits. 3 p.m. July 19, Spicewood Springs Branch; 3 p.m. July 24, Hampton Branch.

Pirate and Princess Party. 3:30 p.m. July 5, North Village Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 18, Old Quarry Branch; 3 p.m. July 25, Twin Oaks Branch.

Sew Happy. 5 p.m. July 5, Manchaca Road Branch.

Music and Movement. 11 a.m. July 6, Howson Branch; 11:30 a.m. July 12, Manchaca Road Branch; 11 a.m. July 13, Howson Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 17, Manchaca Road Branch; 11 a.m. July 20, Howson Branch; 11 a.m. July 27, Howson Branch.

Crafting for a Cause. 2 p.m. July 6, Carver Branch; 2 p.m. July 20, Carver Branch.

Mariachi Amor. 2 p.m. July 6, Pleasant Hill Branch; 2 p.m. July 10, Windsor Park Branch; 2 p.m. July 17, Spicewood Springs Branch; 3 p.m. July 18, Twin Oaks Branch; 2 p.m. July 20, Milwood Branch; 2 p.m. July 27, University Hills Branch.

You are the Artist: Watercolor and Scratch Art. 3 p.m July 6, Southeast Branch; 3 p.m. July 11, Twin Oaks Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 25, North Village Branch.

Camp Bluebonnet. Read books that could win the Bluebonnet Award. 1 p.m. July 7, Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m. July 10, Old Quarry Branch; 1 p.m. July 14, Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m. July 17, Old Quarry Branch.

Elephant and Piggie Party. 2 p.m. July 7, Yarborough Branch; 2 p.m. July 14, Terrazas Branch; 3 p.m. July 20, Southeast Branch; 3 p.m. July 23, Manchaca Road Branch.

Literature Live! “Predicts the Forecast: Fantabulous Finger Fun.” 2 p.m. July 7, Terrazas Branch; 2 p.m. July 13, University Hills Branch; 2 p.m. July 14, Yarborough Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee: “Jungle Book.” 3 p.m. July 7, Old Quarry Branch.

Storybook Dance Making. 2 p.m. July 9, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Surapsari: Japanese Mask Dance and Drama. 3 p.m. July 9, Manchaca Road Branch; 6 p.m. July 10, Carver Branch; 3:30 p.m. July 11, Old Quarry Branch; 2 p.m. July 12, Little Walnut Creek Branch; 3 p.m. July 13, Southeast Branch.

Austin Ukestra, ukulele group. 1 p.m. July 9, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Tabletop Tuesday: Family Board Game Night. 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays except July 4. Faulk Central Library.

Family Movie Night: “Moana.” 6:30 p.m. July 11, Twin Oaks Branch.

NBTween Book Club. “The Best Man.” 4 p.m. July 12, Howson Branch. “Full of Beans.” 6 p.m. July 20, Twin Oaks Branch. “Raymie Nightingale.” 6 p.m. July 26, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Movie Matinee: “Moana.” 2 p.m. July 13, Carver Branch. “The Lego Batman Movie.” 4 p.m. July 19, Cepeda Branch. “The Good Dinosaur.” 2 p.m. July 27, Carver Branch.

Teen Manga Book Club: “Soul Eater.” 5:30 p.m. July 13, Little Walnut Creek Branch.

Power Rangers Glow Party. 2 p.m. July 17, Windsor Park Branch; 3 p.m. July 24, Howson Branch.

Spotlight on Opera Presents: “The Coyotes and Rabbits.” 2 p.m. July 18, Cepeda Branch; 2 p.m. July 19, Hampton Branch.

Teen Book Club: “I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You.” 6:30 p.m. July 18, Howson Branch. “My Lady.” 6:30 p.m. July 20, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6 p.m. July 19, Howson Branch.

Mother-Daughter Book Club: “The Dreamer.” 6 p.m. July 19, Hampton Branch.

Kids Summer Film Fest: “Storks.” 2 p.m. July 27, Old Quarry Branch.