More than a dozen things to do with kids this Easter weekend in Austin, March 30-April 1

Have you seen the Easter Bunny yet? You’ve got a long three-day weekend to find him. Also find more on our family to-do list of events happening in Austin:

The Easter Bunny is in a mall near you. Staff photo by Bill Lackey
  1. Easter Bunny photos. Various times through Saturday. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Barton Creek Square; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Lakeline Mall;, Round Rock Premium Outlets,

    You can find more than bluebonnets at the Wildflower Center this weekend. You might find eggs. AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
  2. Wildflower Center: Egg-cellent Adventures: Decorate hard-boiled eggs with items from nature, go on an egg hunt and learn about what lays eggs. 12 p.m. Saturday. $20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.
  3. Austin Nature & Science Center. Celebrate Urban Birds. Celebrate birds by going on a bird-watching hike, dissecting owl pellets and more. Free. 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive.

    Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.
  4. Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.
  5. Neill-Cochran House Museum. Getting the Message: The Telegraph & The Crystal Radio. 1 p.m. Sunday. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St.
  6. Pollyanna Theatre presents “Hurry Up and Wait.” Wendy and Harry plant a garden and have to learn patience. For ages 2-4. $6.75. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.
  7. Cirque Éloize: “Saloon.” The circus meets an old-fashioned Western. $29-$59. 7:30 p.m. Friday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.
  8. Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  9. Thinkery. Take Apart Art: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Friday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  10. Wildflower Center: Afternoon Explorers: Butterflies in the Garden. Learn about butterflies. For ages 6-10. 3:30 p.m. Friday. $15. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.
  11. BookPeople events: Barbara Nye reads “Somewhere a Bell is Ringing”: 2 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  12. Car seat check. 9 a.m. Friday, Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 E. Montopolis Drive.
  13. Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  14. Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Light It Up. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  15. Toybrary Austin. Mini horse visit. 10:30 a.m. Friday. $12. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.
  16. BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Around the World: Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  17. Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Duckling Gets a Cookie?”: Saturday.
  18. Bow Wow Reading With Bonnie the Dog: 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Yarborough Branch.

Thought hoverboards were dangerous? You could be right

I knew there was a reason I didn’t get my daughter a hoverboard two years ago… and it wasn’t just that some of them had a knack for catching on fire.

This week the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study of emergency room visits caused by hoverboards and skateboards.

Hoverboards are attempting a comeback in the U.S., months after videos showing them bursting into flame went viral. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Here’s some data:

  • In the first two years that hoverboards were sold in the United States, 26,854 people younger than 18 were treated in the emergency department for injuries related to the toys. That same study also looked at skateboard injuries as well and noted 121,398 kids were treated for skateboard injuries between 2015 and 2016.
  • Most of the injuries were for kids between ages 11 and 13.
  • Most of the injuries were to boys.
  • Only about 3 percent of the kids with hoverboard or skateboard injuries had to be admitted into the hospital.
  • Most of the hoverboard injuries happened at home, while the skateboard injuries happened in the street.
  • The most common area to injure was the wrist (19 percent) followed by the forearm (14 percent) and head (14 percent).
  • Most of the emergency rooms’ diagnoses were fractures (40 percent), contusions, aka bruising, (17 percent) and strains/sprains (13 percent).

What can you do if your child still loves her hoverboard or skateboard? Encourage protective gear such as helmets, wrist, elbow and knee pads.


Plan ahead: What are you doing with the family in April in Austin

April is that magical time when we bridge from the warmth of spring to the heat of the summer. It’s a great time to get out there and enjoy the wildflowers, a spring festival or try some science.

Here is our list of family events happening next month in and around Austin:

Sherwood Forest Faire is open on the weekends.


GirlStart Starry Nights. Look at the mini planetarium and enjoy hands-on activities. 5:30 p.m. April 5. GirlStart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane.

Insect Safari Hike on the Water Quality Protection Lands. Find and look up bugs in this family-friendly event. 10 a.m. April 7. Register and then get directions.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old “uU.S. 20, McDade.

Monster Jam. Seriously big trucks crush other trucks. 7 p.m. April 21, 2 p.m. April 22. $20-37. Erwin Center, 1701 Red River St.

City Nature Challenge. Find things in nature and record and share what you find. April 27-30. Get help at these events: 3 p.m. April 27, JJ Seabrook Greenbelt; 9 a.m. April 28, Mabel Davis District Park; 3 p.m. April 28, Willowbrook Reach; and 3 p.m. April 29, Gracywoods Neighborhood Park.

EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens is celebrating the Butterfly Festival in April.

Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month it’s all about the Earth. Free. 10 a.m. to noon April 4. Register at

Children’s Picnic. Local food vendors and farmers, plus make your own eco pot, enjoy storytelling, music and an imagination station. 105 p.m. April 8. Rosewood Park, 2300 Rosewood Ave.

Butterfly Festival. Games, crafts and live butterfly release. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 21. Free. The EmilyAnn Theatre & Gardens, 1101 FM2325, Wimberley.

Game Chica Conference. For girls ages 9 to 18. Learn how to design video games with experts from Austin technology companies. $15 includes lunch. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 28. HomeAway at the Domain, 11800 Domain Blvd. No. 300.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. In Spanish, 4 p.m. April 2, People’s Clinic, 1101 Camino La Costa. 9 a.m. April 7. Seton Southwest Medical Center, 7900 FM 1826. 9 a.m. April 14, Seton Northwest Medical Center, 1113 Research Blvd. 9 a.m. April 28, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

Car seat check. 9 a.m. April 3, Dove springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Drive. 9 a.m. April 6, Buda Fire Station 2, 151 FM 2001, Buda. 9 a.m. April 12, BabyEarth, 106 E. Old Settlers Blvd. Suite 100, Round Rock. 9 a.m. April 14, Covert Hutto Chevrolet, 1200 U.S. 79, Hutto. 9 a.m. April 18. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg

Fairytale Tea Party. Dress in princess attire, play games and make crafts. Free. 10 a.m. April 28. Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane.


Totally Cool Totally Art Teen Art Exhibition. April 13-April 26. Free. Dougherty Arts Center, 1110 Barton Springs Road.

From left, Briana So-Morris, 5, Alec Blondin, 13, and his sister, Ashley Randall, 5, uncover a Mastadon at the Dino Pit at the Austin Nature & Science Center. 2004 American-Statesman

Austin Nature & Science Center. Austin’s Nature Day Nature and Art. 9 a.m. to noon April 21. Free. Austin Nature & Science Center, 2389 Stratford Drive.

Bullock MuseumLiving History Days: Re-enactors stroll through the museum, 10 a.m. April 5. Little Texans: Cowboys and Cowgirls. For ages 2-5, 10 a.m. Aoruk 12. Science Thursdays: 10 a.m. April 19. Storytime: Nature. 10 a.m. April 26. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Contemporary Austin.  Teen Event: Destination Laguna. Explore the museum after hours with snacks and activities for teens. 6-9 p.m. April 13. Free for teens 13-18. Saturdays are for Families: Ships Ahoy. Enjoy a nautical-themed art-making day. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Science Mill. The Science of Sports. Test your balance, see how hard you can hit and more. 10 a.m. April 14. Homeschool Day. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 11. Earth Day Butterfly Bonanza. Learn more about butterflies. Noon-4 p.m. April 22. Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. Getting the Message: The Telegraph & The Crystal Radio. Make your own switches. 1 p.m. April 1. Neill-Cochran House Museum. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day: The Art of Resistance. Enjoy activities around the current exhibit. Free. Noon-5 p.m. April 15. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave.

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Sábados en Familia. 10 a.m. April 14. Free arts and wellness programs for the whole family, plus free lunch. Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. 600 River St.

Thinkery. Sensory Friendly Hours. Free breakfast tacos from Hat Creek Burger Company and a free screening of Trolls at the Alamo Drafthouse Mueller. Free.8 a.m. April 29.Art Start: My Many Colored Days: 9:45 a.m. Wednesdays (1-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. Wednesdays (2-year-olds), Wednesdays, through May 9. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays, through May 11. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Baby Bloomers: Spring has Sprung. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Mondays and Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Decoding DNA. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 7-8, April 21-22. $8. Seed Paper Making. Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. April 14-15, April 28-29. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Peppa the Pig is coming to Toybrary Austin. Cartoon Network

Toybrary Austin. Spanish class. 10:30 a.m. April 3. $5. Gardening Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Free with admission. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Peppa Pig Visits. 10:30 a.m. April 5. $12. Silly Sparkles Super Silly Show. $10:30 a.m. April 12. $10. Bubblefest with Milly McSilly. 10:30 a.m. April 26. $10. Firetruck visits. 10:30 a.m. April 27. $7. Family concert and picnic. 5 p.m. April 28. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden Family Day. Learn different forms of exercise as a family, plus make art. Noon to 4 p.m. April 8. Free. Umlauf Sculpture Garden, 605 Robert E. Lee Road.

Wildflower Center. Sprouts. Preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Free with admission. Nature Play Hour. 10 a.m. Saturdays. Free with admission to the gardens. Afternoon Explorers: Wild about Wildflowers. For ages 6-10.$15 one child and adult. 3:30 p.m. April 20. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Tina Steiner smiles as she records a historical presentation at The Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail. Photo by: Megumi Rooze

Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Learn about the founding of Williamson County as the county celebrates 170 years, plus make a craft of the county namesake. Free. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 14. Williamson Museum, 716 Austin Ave., Georgetown.

The Williamson Museum on the Chisholm Trail. Chisholm Trail Day in Round Rock. Live cowboy music, Dutch oven cooking, hands-on activities and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 7. 8 Chisholm Trail, Round Rock.

“The Smartest Girl in the World” is at Austin Playhouse.


“Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote.” Pancho Rabbit goes through dangerous journey with little help from his guide. 11 a.m. April 7-8, 14-15, 21-22, 28-29, 12:30 a.m. April 21-22, April 28-29. $8-$12. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.

Fifth Annual Greater Austin High School Theatre Awards. See who wins, plus some snapshots of the best shows. 7:30 p.m. April 18. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

“Disney on Ice: Reach for the Stars.” Mickey and friends in a star-studded extravaganza. $15-$50. 7 p.m. April 25-28, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. April 28, 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. April 29. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through May 27. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

Austin Playhouse presents “The Smartest Girl in the World.” Two kids dream of helping their family by going on a game show. For grades second- through sixth-graders. Pick your price. 7 p.m. April 3, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. April 7 and 14. Austin Playhouse at ACC’s Highland Campus, 6001 Airport Blvd., South Entrance.

Alamo Drafthouse is celebrating the 25th anniversary of the “The Sandlot.”


That’s My Face Film Series: “The Making of Claudia Rankin.” For young adults. 6:30 p.m. April 27. Free. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Alamo Drafthouse. “The Sandlot” Movie Party. Celebrate the 25th anniversary of this movie. 1 p.m. April 8 Lakeline and Slaughter Lane., and 7:15 p.m. April 9-12, Slaughter Lane. “PBS Kids: Explore the Outdoors.”10:30 a.m. April 20-21, Mueller. 10:15 a.m. April 14-15,

Movies in the Park. “The Lion King.” 8:15 p.m. April 5. Northwest District Park, 7000 Ardath St. Free.


BookPeople events: Junot Díaz reads “Islandborn.” 6:30 p.m. April 4. Emma Berquist reads “Devils Unto Dust.” 6 p.m. April 14. Donna Janell Bowman reads “Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words. 2 p.m. April 15. Stuart Gibbs and Sarah Mlynowski reads “Waste of Space” and “Two Peas in a Pod.” 6 p.m. April 23. Charlie Rose and Dan Peeler read “Dragons of Romania: Star of Doom.” 2 p.m. April 7. 10:30 a.m. story times: Pets are the Best, April 3. Poets Who Know It, April 4. Imagination Station, April 7. We Love Libraries, April 10. Ms. Staci, April 11. Yoga, April 14. Armstrong Community Music School, April 17. Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo, April 18. Mrs. Purple Urple, April 21. Preposterous Puppet Show, April 24. Favorite Read Aloud, April 25. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Giving Tree,” April 7. “Pig the Star,” April 14. “Here We Are: Notes for Livng on Planet Earth,” April 21. “Scientist, Scientist, Who Do You See?” 11 a.m. April 28.

Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), who struggles against his family’s generations-old ban on music, creates a secret space where he can play his guitar and soak up the on-screen talent of his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt), in “Coco.” Contributed by Disney/Pixar

At the library

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Mondays, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 2 p.m. April 11, Carver Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 12, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 24, Howson Branch.

Pajama Storytime. 6 p.m. Mondays, University Hills Branch. 6 p.m. April 3, Yarborough Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Milwood Branch. 6 p.m. April 24, Old Quarry Branch.

Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. April 3 and April 24, Twin Oaks Branch.

Tabletop Tuesday. Play games every Tuesday. 5 p.m. Tuesdays. Central Library.

Art Smart: Celebrating Asian Dragons. 10:15 a.m. April 4, Howson Branch. 4:30 p.m. April 4, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 6, University Hills Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 11, Dove Springs Recreation Center. 4:30 p.m. April 17, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 18, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. April 26, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Bow Wow Reading with Aussie. 3:30 p.m. April 4, North Village Branch. Bow Wow Reading with George. 3:45 p.m. April 11, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Music and Movement. 3:30 p.m. April 4 and April 11, Ruiz Branch. 11 a.m. April 5, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. April 9, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. April 13, Old Quarry Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 25, Ruiz Branch.

Chess Club. 5 p.m. Wednesdays, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Money Smart Week: Savvy Shopper. 3:30 p.m. April 5, Carver Branch.

Express Yourself with social media. 1 p.m. Saturdays, Ruiz Branch.

Saturday Family Movie: “Coco.” 1 p.m. April 7, St. John Branch.

Austin Ukestra. 1 p.m. April 8, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

“Anansi and the Golden Box of Stories.” 3:30 p.m. April 9, Spicewood Springs Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 17, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. April 18, Ruiz Branch. 1 p.m. April 21, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Kids’ Yoga. 3:30 p.m. April 9, April 16, April 23, Yarborough Branch.

NBTween Book Club. “The Tale of Despereaux.” 4 p.m. April 12, Cepeda Branch. “Flora & Ulysses.” 6 p.m. April 19, Twin Oaks Branch. “Counting by Sevens.” 6 p.m. April 19, Spicewood Springs Branch.

Tech Thursday. 4:30 p.m. April 12, Ruiz Branch.

Teen Book Club: “Popular.” 6:30 p.m. April 12, Spicewood Springs Branch. “Revolver.” 3 p.m. April 14, Central Library. “Persepolis.” 6:30 p.m. April 17, Howson Branch.

Night Builders: Family Lego Lab. 7:30 p.m. April 12, Hampton Branch.

Friday Movie Matinee “Moana.” 3:30 p.m. April 13, Carver Branch. “Hop.” 3:30 p.m. April 13, Old Quarry Branch.

Doodling for Families. 4 p.m. April 13, North Village Branch.

Perler Bead Saturday. Noon April 14, University Hills Branch.

Sign Me Up! Sign-Making Party for teens. 1 p.m. April 14, Central Library.

Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. April 15, Central Library.

Mother-Daughter Book Club: “A Snicker of Magic.” 6 p.m. April 18, Hampton Branch.

Family Craft Night. 6:30 p.m. April 18, Howson Branch.

Tween Anime Club: “Sgt. Frog.” 2 p.m. April 27, Twin Oaks Branch.

World Dance Day. Noon April 29, Central Library.

Featured Flicks: “Coco.” 4 p.m. April 30, North Village Branch.

Watch some super spellers, celebrate art and more fun weekend events for families in Austin, March 23-25

It should be a beautiful weekend for going out and stirring up some family fun. Expect highs in the low 80s and clear skies, except Sunday, when it might rain in the morning.

Spellers Nihar Saireddy Janga, left, of Austinm Jairam Jagadeesh Hathwar, right, of Painted Post, New York hold a trophy after the finals of the 2016 Scripps National Spelling Bee. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Austin Regional Spelling Bee. Watch 47 students in fourth through eighth grades compete to move on to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. $10.1 p.m. Sunday. Zach Theatre’s Topfer Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.

Blanton Museum of Art. Block Party. Many activities including kids art-making. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Free. Blanton Museum of Art. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.

Dance Through India. Celebrate different dances. 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. Through Saturday. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.

Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Sunday and Saturday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.

Easter Bunny photos. Noon-6 p.m. Various times through March 31. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Barton Creek Square; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Lakeline Mall,

March for Our Lives Austin. Noon-4 p.m. Saturday. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second St.

Teen Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt. Who says Easter egg hunts are just for kids? 6:30 p.m. Friday. Dottie Jordan Recreation Center, 2803 Loyola Lane.

Safe Baby Academy. Learn how to care for your baby. 9 a.m. Friday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive (in Spanish). 9 a.m. Saturday, CommUnity Care Clinic, 2901 Montopolis Drive.

Toybrary Austin. Family Concert and Picnic with Much 2 Much: 6 p.m. Saturday. Free. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

“Hurry Up and Wait” from Pollyanna Theatre.

Pollyanna Theatre presents “Hurry Up and Wait.” Wendy and Harry plant a garden and must learn patience. For ages 2-4. $6.75. 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Friday-Saturday. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive.

BookPeople events: Carolyn Cohagan reads “Time Next”: 2 p.m. Saturday. Armstrong Community Music School: Tuesday. Tiny Tails Petting Zoo: Wednesday. We Love Numbers: Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble 11 a.m. Saturday story times at all locations: “Little Blue Truck.”

“Anasi and the Golden Box of Stories.” For ages 5 and older. 2 p.m. Saturday, Old Quarry Branch.

Express Yourself Through Media and Technology. 1 p.m. Saturday, Ruiz Branch. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, St. John Branch.

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

Fix-It Clinic. Learn how to fix your broken stuff. Noon Saturday, Austin Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

Mayor’s Bookclub. “Exit West.” 1 p.m. Saturday, Manchaca Road Branch.

Thinkery. Namaste and Play: Sense-ational: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds), Fridays. $20 a class, $140 for the series. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Light It Up. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturdays. For birth to age 3. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Take Apart Art: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.





What not to donate to Goodwill

Tuesday night an employee was injured when he reached his hand into a box at the Goodwill on Brodie Lane and found an artillery simulator. It made a loud boom heard throughout my neighborhood and sent the police, FBI and ATF to the area to investigate if it was another bomb.

It made me think, what shouldn’t you donate to Goodwill or other charitable donation places?

Law enforcement vehicles clutter the street near the Goodwill on Brodie Lane in Austin on Tuesday. NICK WAGNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Goodwill Central Texas has this list of Nos:

  • Mattresses and box springs (bed bugs)
  • Paint, chemicals and hazardous materials
  • Tube TVs

Its stores will accept:

  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Accessories (purses, ties, belts, scarves, etc.)
  • Books, CDs, DVDs, tapes, records
  • Small furniture
  • Collectible items
  • Jewelry and antiques
  • Household items (dishes, knickknacks, etc.)
  • Linens
  • Electrical items (radios, TVs, clocks, lamps, etc.)
  • Toys and children’s items
  • Computers and components

Weapons, ammunition, military materials are not on either list. I would vote that those are hazardous materials, but it’s not clear.

In our story Tuesday night: Traci Berry, a spokeswoman for Goodwill Central Texas, said it’s not uncommon for the thrift store to receive weapons, ammunition or other odd items.

“We get all sorts of crazy donations,” she said. “People bring us everything from prosthetic legs to a human skull one year, so this isn’t out of the ordinary as far as strange donations. Unfortunately, it hurt an employee, so we’re always looking at our processes to make sure our employees are safe.”

What should you do if you have something like the artillery simulator or bullets you need to dispose of?

You should not put them in your trash. You also cannot take them to Austin’s Reuse & Recycle Drop-Off Center that accepts and disposes with hazardous waste. Instead, Austin Resource Recovery instructs people who have ammunition or other like materials to call 3-1-1 and ask for police help disposing with your items.

Austin bombings: How do you talk to your kids about what’s happening?

[cmg_anvato video=”4350466″ autoplay=”true”]

Parents, you might be wondering what you’re supposed to say to your children about the recent bombings in Austin. How do you keep them safe, keep them informed, yet not scare them? What is too much information? What is too little?

With all acts of violence and terror — such as shootings in public places and schools or now the bombings — “it really depends on the age of your kid,” says Julia Hoke, director of psychological services at Austin Child Guidance Center. Very young kids, who might never take a package off the front porch, might not need you to say much of anything, she says.

RELATED: How do you explain shootings to your kids?

For older kids, give them a simplified version of what is happening. Prepare yourself for what you are going to say and check your emotions before you talk to them.

“You’re going to check your own anxiety level,” Hoke says. “Our inhibition isn’t as good when we’re feeling stressed out ourselves.”

An Austin Police officer talks to residents in the Travis Country neighborhood on Monday, the morning after a bomb exploded. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Many kids already will know what is happening because schools are talking about it, their friends are talking about it, and they have access to social media. They are looking to their parents and teachers to reassure them. “Your goal in talking to your child is making sure they are feeling safe,” she says.

Don’t go into graphic or gory details. “Even with older kids, you don’t want to overshare,” she says.

That also might mean you limit their access to TV news and social media right now. You might not want to have the news running in the background at all times. You’re trying to avoid exposing kids (and really yourself, too) to a secondary trauma.

“Generally when stuff like this happens, it’s important to maintain your normal routine as much as possible,” Hoke says. That doesn’t mean you ignore what’s going on.

Give them updates, but remind them that adults and law enforcement are going to do everything they can to keep them safe.

You’ll want to have kids, especially those that might walk by packages left at the front door, take precautions just like you’re taking precautions recommended by police.

  • Tell kids to stay away from any package they see.
  • Ask them to tell an adult if they see a package.
  • Alert them if you know you will be receiving a package, and tell them not to touch that package until you are sure it’s the package you were expecting.
  • If they see something suspicious whether at the front door, their school or in their neighborhood, they need to avoid it and tell an adult.
  • If they are concerned about what’s left at your doorstep, you might want to consider a new way to enter the house, such as a backdoor or garage door for now.
  • If they walk or ride their bikes to school or a friend’s house, remind them to avoid anything suspicious by walking around the area and that they can always turn around to return to safety. Then they should let an adult know what they saw.

If your neighborhood or their school becomes the site of a lockdown, check yourself and make sure you’re not exuding anxiety and then tell your child what is going on.

“Sadly most kids do this drill at school,” Hoke says. You can tell them, “This is like what you do at school. It’s a really big area, and police have to make sure we are safe.”

Some kids are just more prone to anxiety or becoming fixated on what’s happening. This can be true if they’ve experienced a trauma before. Be especially careful with what you say to those children. If you’re sensing a change in their behavior and increase of anxiety or becoming fixated on the event, try to be reassuring and then seek help if those behaviors continue.

During this time, Hoke says, practice self-care, too. Remember to put on your oxygen mask first.

“Parenting is hard, and it’s really hard when all this stuff is happening,” she says. “We have to reassure them we are safe. It’s the thing you have to do.”

You also want to be authentic and genuine, she says, but you have to put up a wall and not show them the true depths of our fear and anxiety. “They are going to take the cue from us.”

Top heart surgeon Charles Fraser Jr. coming to Dell Children’s, Dell Medical School to start new center

[cmg_anvato video=”4350663″ autoplay=”true”]

Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas will be creating the Texas Center for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Disease, and it will do it with one of the world’s most well-known pediatric heart surgeons, Dr. Charles Fraser Jr. Fraser, who has spent the last 23 years building the heart surgical program at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, also will be part of the faculty at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas.

Dr. Charles Fraser Jr. will become chief of pediatric and congenital cardiothoracic surgery at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas.

Fraser, a University of Texas undergrad alum who was born in Austin, said he is excited to return home and to the University of Texas.

“We have the opportunity to build a world-class heart program,” he said. He’s looking forward to being able to offer children and adults with congenital heart disease “the care they deserve close to home.”

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

Fraser will work with the cardiology team already at Dell Children’s but also might add additional doctors as he grows the program.

“I’m like a kid in a candy shop with the different programs we can develop,” he says.

Fraser does not believe the program will include heart transplants, maybe eventually, but not in the short-term, he says. Instead, it will be about a high level of care and taking on more complex cases, he says.

RELATED: Austin teen returns to school after heart transplant

While his focus is pediatric, the center also will treat adults who, because of medical advancements, are now living with congenital heart defects that would have killed them in childhood. “It’s a population that didn’t exist a generation ago,” Fraser says.

This is the second announcement of this type this month. Earlier Dell Children’s announced that pediatric neurologist E. Steve Roach will lead pediatric neurology, with a focus on neurological disorders such as epilepsy, spina bifida, movement disorders, autism, stroke, headaches and brain tumors. Roach is leaving Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, and The Ohio State University. He’ll help develop the new Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences at Dell Medical School.

RELATED: UT Health Austin opens first clinics in $99 million project

Both moves are part of the school’s focus on a holistic approach to patient care, which will consider quality of life and the whole body, not just fixing the problem in which that doctor specializes.

Fraser has published studies on what effect heart surgeries have on a patient’s brain.

“We’ve made enormous progress fixing the heart,” he says when he compares what has been done in medicine since he left medical school in the early 1980s. Now, in what he calls “a new era in fixing the heart,” it’s about providing the best quality of life.

“Not only is Chuck one of the country’s top surgeons, he’s constantly pushing the threshold for improving the systems of care,” said Dr. Clay Johnston, dean of Dell Medical School, in a press release. “That makes him a perfect fit for the work that the medical school and our partners are doing to improve health in Austin and Central Texas.”

Will breastfeeding save you from heart disease later in life? Study might make the case

Could breastfeeding an infant for at least six months have an added benefit for Mom? Could it actually reduce heart disease? That’s what researchers at the University of Pittsburgh tried to figure out. They enrolled 678 women in Michigan who were pregnant between 1998 and 2004. They then followed up about 11 years later and measure the women’s blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. They also measure the diameter and thickness of the carotid artery using a test that predicts heart disease risk.  The women who breastfed for six months or more had higher levels of HDL (aka the good cholesterol), lower triglycerides as well as a healthier carotid artery thickness versus the women who had never breastfed.

More than two dozen things to do with the family this spring break weekend, March 16-18

Spring break won’t go on forever, but this weekend is still full of great family-friendly activities in and around Austin. It might rain on Saturday, so be prepared.

1-2-3 Andres

Check out our list of two dozen things to do:

  1. Rock & Read at the Domain. Musicians include the Hoots, 1-2-3 Andres, the Que Pastas, Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship. 2-5:30 p.m. Saturday. Free. Domain lawn by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dillard’s.
  2. “Hello Dolly! A Tribute to Dolly Parton.” Celebrate Dolly Parton’s music with Superfun Yeah Yeah Rocketship, Red Yarn, Jon Langford, 1-2-3 Andres, Ms. Kat, Que Pastas, SaulPaul and more. 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Friday. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St. $3 adults, $1 children.
  3. KUTX live broadcast kids’ music lineup. The KUTX live broadcast at the Four Seasons during South by Southwest will feature children’s music between the sets each morning. Laura Doherty and 1-2-3 Andres, Friday. Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band and Sugar Free Allstars, Saturday. $5 for a wristband for the kids-only stage. $15 for the adult stage. Four Seasons Hotel, 98 San Jacinto Blvd.

    Bullfighter Wacy Munsellbull looks for an opportunity to distract a bull named 805 Major Malfunction As fighter Lance Brittan lands after being hooked by the bull at Rodeo Austin. Mark Matson/Rodeo Austin
  4. Rodeo Austin. Watch the pigs race, the bull riders, barrel racers and more. $5-$8 fairgrounds admission, $20-$36 rodeo seats. Daily through March 24. Expo Center, 9100 Decker Lake Road.
  5. Sherwood Forest Faire. Travel back in time to merry ol’ England with this fair. 10 a.m. to dusk, Friday-Sunday. $12-$22. 1883 Old U.S. 20, McDade.
  6. Circus Chickendog’s “1001 Tricks in 1 Hour!” See the original show with rescue dogs. 1 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10:30 p.m. Saturday. $15; free for children younger than 3. The Institution Theater, 3708 Woodbury Drive.

    Circus Chickendog
  7. Bullock MuseumSpring Break at the Bullock. Hands-on activities, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.
  8. St. Patrick’s Day Austin. Enjoy Irish traditions and of course wear green. Noon-7 p.m. Saturday. $4 child, $12 adult. Pioneer Farms, 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive. 
  9. Hill Country Science Mill. Robot Mania. Special hands-on activities. Friday. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.
  10. Texas Museum of Science and Technology. This Cedar Park museum and planetarium will close after Sunday. Currently you can see the exhibit “Amazing Butterflies” and do the TimeWalk, journey through the Precambrian and Jurassic eras and into the Holocene period. $18-$12. 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park.

    A T. rex skull is part of “The Genesis Exhibit” at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman
  11. Asian American Resource Center. Indian American Children’s Literature: Celebrate Indian literature with stories, crafts and games. Free. 2-4 p.m. Sunday. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.
  12. Thinkery. Baby Bloomers: Light It Up. Learn about light. 9 a.m. Saturday. For birth to age 3. $5.  Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  13. Thinkery. Cow Eye Dissection: Ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m.  Saturday-Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.
  14. Zach Theatre presents “Goodnight Moon.” The classic children’s book comes to the stage. 2 p.m. Sunday. $18-$24. Kleberg Stage, 1421 Riverside Drive.

    The Easter Bunny will be at Hill Country Galleria and other malls around town.
  15. Easter Bunny photos. Noon-6 p.m.  Sunday .Various times through March 31. Hill Country Galleria Central Plaza. Free, but photos available for purchase; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Barton Creek Square; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, Noon-6 p.m. Sundays, Lakeline Mall;, Round Rock Premium Outlets,
  16. Caring Bunny. For kids with special needs and sensory disorders and their families. 9-10:30 a.m. Sunday. Barton Creek Square and Round Rock Premium Outlets. 10-11:30 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline Mall. Free, but you need to register,
  17. Toybrary Austin. Daddy and Me Playdate: Let’s Go Fishing: 10:30 a.m. Saturday. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.
  18. BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Luchador Legends: Friday. Lucky Day: Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.
  19. Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays, story times at all locations: “The Gingerbread Man and the Leprechaun Loose at School”: Saturday.

    “Back To The Future”
  20. Teen Tech Week: Stop Motion Animation: 2 p.m. Friday, Central Library.
  21. Tween STEM Lab. Electric Sculpture with Squishy Circuits. 3 p.m. Friday, Cepeda Branch.Alamo Drafthouse. Kids Camp: “All Dogs Go to Heaven.” 9:30 a.m. Sunday, Lakeline.
  22. Alamo Drafthouse. “Back to the Future”: 1:15 p.m. Saturday, Slaughter Lane.
  23. The Third Floor Corridor: Teen Harry Potter Club. 2 p.m. Sunday, Central Library.
  24. Friday Movie Matinee: “Sing.” 3:30 p.m. Friday, Old Quarry Branch.
  25. “PAW Patrol” Party. 10:15 a.m. Friday, Carver Branch.


University of Texas research develops app to help you get colon cancer screening

Could an app help save you from colon cancer? Possibly. A researcher at Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin has developed an app that can help explain to you the benefits of each type of colon cancer screening (there are many) and even help you schedule  a screening.

Dr. Michael Pignone, chairman of the department of internal medicine at Dell Medical School, c0-authored a study that was published in the “Annals of Internal Medicine.”

The study followed 450 people who were overdue for a colon cancer screening. It either gave them an iPad with an app that walked them through the various screenings and preventative measures or it gave them a traditional patient education method, a short video on prevention methods, that did not include a way to schedule a screening. Both sets of patients then met with their doctors.

The patients who were given the app were twice as likely to schedule a followup screening than the ones who did not receive the app. What Pignone had learned from past work is that doctors don’t always offer all the screening options to their patients. “That limits the screening rates,” Pignone says. People ages 50 to 75 should receive a screening. If they have certain risk factors such as a family history or inflammatory bowel disease, they might need a screening even younger.

The app did have some safeguards. If a patient viewed the app and asked for a test, the doctor would then have to order it, giving the doctor the ability to make sure that method was appropriate for that patient. Stool testing, for example, isn’t for people at high risk, but by offering that option, Pignone says, it may reach some people who are refusing to do a colonoscopy.

An app on an iPad could help you decide what cancer screening tool is right for you and help you schedule a screening. ABC

The app walks patients through the different screening methods and how often they should be done:

  • Fecal immunochemical test (every year)
  • Stool DNA test (every 3 years)
  • Colonoscopy (every 10 years)
  • CT colonography (every 5 years)
  • Flexible sigmoidoscopy (every 5 years)
  • Double-contrast barium enema (every 5 years)
Cologuard is a kit that allows patients to screen for colon cancer by collecting stool samples in the privacy of their home and mailing them to a lab for analysis. (Tamir Kalifa for American-Statesman)

Pignone also tested when the best timing for delivering the app was. Patients responded best when they received it at their doctor’s office before their appointment. It’s like they are thinking, “I’m attending to my health today,”Pignone says.

The number of patients in the study that went on to get testing was 30 percent with the app versus 15 percent with the traditional information. “Of course, we would like that to be higher, like 75 percent,” Pignone says.

Colorectal cancers are the third most common diagnosed cancer in the United States (excluding skin cancer) and the third most common cause of cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.  More than 50,000 people in the United States die from it.

The risk factors include:

  • Being overweight.
  • Diets high in red meats or processed meats.
  • Smoking.
  • Alcohol use that is more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women.
  • Being older than 50.
  • A history or family history of polyps or colon cancer.
  • Having inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Certain inherited diseases such as Lynch disease.
  • Being African American.
  • Having Type 2 diabetes.
Jax Caddell, 13, with the help of Dr. Reginald Baptiste, uses a colonoscope on an artificial colon to learn about colonoscopies at the Health Sciences Summer Camp at the Dell Medical School. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2016

The study points to more possibilities of how doctors can educate patients about their risk factors. Gone are the days of wheeling around a TV and VCR on a cart to provide education. Pignone envisions patients being able to download apps on their phones to get information, being sent links to apps or videos to watch on their phones through the patient portals their doctors’ office uses, receiving text reminders with links to education and more.

“Doctors have to get used to and people have to get used to giving more control to patients to engage them more,” Pignone says.

He would love for patients to receive all the information and links to sign up for tests before a doctor’s visit. Then the doctor could go over the results with the patients and schedule followup tests in a meaningful way at the time of the visit, rather than visit, then take tests, then receive your results in the mail, by phone call or by the patient portal.

While the app study happened while Pignone was working in North Carolina, Pignone is continuing to do work on colon cancer now that he is in Austin. He recently received a grant through the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas to get more screening done in underserved populations of Austin. He is working with CommUnityCare to get their clients screened.

Of their 20,000 patients in the target age range, 13,000 were behind in their screenings. Those patients are now be mailed a stool test to do at home. If the test is negative, the patient gets a letter stating that. If it is positive, the patient gets a call from a bilingual care coordinator who helps schedule a followup test.

The grant is for three years.

“The hope is that we will demonstrate its effectiveness and cost effectiveness and find a way of continuing the program with local funding,” Pignone says.