Plan your October with books, spooks and pumpkins

October is upon us. That means heading to pumpkin patches, celebrating Halloween and Day of the Dead. It also means enjoying music and great weather outside.

Barton Hill Farms in Bastrop is open for pumpkin plucking. Barton Hill Farms


Domain Northside Kids. Come to the lawn at the Domain Northside for activities for kids 18 months to 6 years old. This month’s theme: Bewitched. Free. 10 a.m.-noon Oct. 3. Reservations required.

Starry Nights. See a star show in the mini-planetarium and see how the Ancient Greeks saw the universe. 5:30-7 p.m. Oct. 4 Free. Girlstart. 1400 W. Anderson Lane.

Roots & Wings Festival. A combined celebration of Arbor Day and Monarch Appreciation Day. Come in costume or create one there. Visit the butterfly release station, climb a tree, make crafts and more. Free with admission. 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 27. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road.

Family Hasya Laughter Yoga. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 27. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. Free with RSVP to

Round Rock Premium Outlets opens new Texas-themed play area. Celebrate with music, activities, self-station and more. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 6. 4401 N. Interstate 35, Round Rock.

Fall festivals

Robinson Family Farm Pumpkin Patch. Walk through a corn maze, go on a hay ride, pet the goats and pick a pumpkin. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 4. Free, but pay for each activities and pumpkins, or get a $10 wristband for everything. 3780 White Owl Lane, Temple.

Barton Hill Farms. Corn maze, farm animals and more than 30 activities, plus pumpkin-picking. 10 a.m.-7 pm. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays, through Nov. 4. $15.95, extra for pumpkins and face painting. 1115 FM 969, Bastrop.

Sweet Berry Farm. Hay rides, corn mazes, pick-your-own-pumpkin patches and more. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, through Nov. 4. Pay per activity. 1801 FM 1980, ​Marble Falls.

Evergreen Farms Pumpkin Hunt. Chuck a pumpkin, race with a pumpkin, take a train ride, go golfing, jump in the bounce house and pick a pumpkin. Activities $2.50-$5 each. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays. Evergreen Farms, 242 Monkey Road,

Elgin Christmas Tree Farm Fall Fun. Mazes, animals, pumpkin decorating, train ride, hay ride and more. $8 admission. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon-5:30 p.m. Sunday. Oct. 5-31. Pumpkin Festival Oct. 13-14, Oct. 20-21. Elgin Christmas Tree Farm, 120 Natures Way, Elgin.

Vida La Vida Festival and Parade. Celebrate Día de lost Muertos with this parade and festival around Mexic-Arte Museum. Noon-6 p.m. Oct. 27. 419 Congress Ave.

Halloween Carnival and Haunted House. 25-cent game tickets, $1 haunted house, plus a costume contest with prizes and trunk-or-treating. 5:30-8 p.m. Oct. 18. Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St.

Austin Code Spooktacular Bash. Games, face painting, costume contest, bounce house, spooky house exhibit. 4:30-7 p.m. Oct. 25. Free. Fiesta Gardens Building, 2101 Jesse E. Segovia St.

Pumpkin Carving on the Dock. Play games, carve pumpkins, compete in a costume contest. 11 a.m. Oct. 27. George Washington Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Howl-O-Scream. Games, treats and a haunted house. 10 free tickets or $3 for unlimited tickets. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 27. Dittmar Recreation Center, 1009 W. Dittmar Road; Givens Recreation Center, 3811 E. 12th St.; Gus Garcia Recreation Center, 1201 E. Rundberg Lane; Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Boo at the Zoo. Dress up and enjoy the zoo with Halloween-themed activities. 6:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in October. $17.50. Reserve tickets early. Austin Zoo, 10808 Rawhide Trail.

Spooktacular at the Bullock Museum will offer Halloween activities. Bullock Museum


Mexic-Arte Museum. Family Day with the artist collective, Kuniklo. Make decorative masks and alebrije caterpillars with recycled materials. Noon-5 p.m. Oct. 21. 419 Congress Ave.

First Saturdays at the Carver Museum. Enjoy family events. Free. Noon Oct. 6. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Bullock Museum. H-E-B Free First Sunday. Free family fun around westward expansion. Noon Oct. 7. Living History Days. Re-enactors stroll through the museum. 10 a.m. Oct. 4. Homeschool Day. 10 a.m. Oct. 11. Little Texans: Gallop. 10 a.m. Oct. 11. Science Thursdays. 10 a.m. Oct. 189. Story time: Halloween. 10 a.m. Oct. 25. Spooktacular. Come dress for Halloween activities. 5 p.m. Oct. 26. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Fall on the Farm this month., 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays, except Oct. 8. $5. Art Start: Nature as our Canvas workshop. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Wednesdays, through Oct. 24. $20 per class. Namaste & Play: Get into Shapes. 9:45 a.m. for 1-year-olds, 10:45 a.m. for 2-year-olds and 11:45 a.m. for 3-year-olds, Fridays, through Oct. 26. $20 per class. Silly Science. Play with bubbles, foam and more. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds, Sept. 3. $20. Whisks & Wizards workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. Oct. 6-8, Oct. 20-21. $8. Spark Shop Scribble Bots for ages 4 and up. Learn to use a robot to draw. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Oct. 13-14, Oct. 27-28. $6 for a kit. Community Night Spotlight: Disabilities Awareness. Explore the tools and technologies that empower people of all disabilities. 4-8 p.m. Oct. 17. Free. Sensory Friendly Hours. 8-10 a.m. Oct. 14. Family Night: Halloween Hootenanny. Play at night with a Halloween theme. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 26. $15-$13. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Neill-Cochran House Museum. History Lab: Paint a Landscape Scene. Go outside with your paints and paintbrushes. 1 p.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 14. Free. 2310 San Gabriel St.

Contemporary Austin. Families Create: Branching Out. Make art with botanical supplies and learn about trees with Tree Folks. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 13. Free. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St.

Science Mill. Kooky Spooky Chemistry Day. Learn about chemistry with a Halloween theme. Kids in costume get a free Halloween excavation kit. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 27. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. Straw Fest. Pumpkin-carving, petting zoo, zombie makeovers and more. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 28. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Azie Morton Road.

Wildflower Center. Movies in the Wild: “Coco.” See the movie outside. $12-$8, free for kids younger than 4. 6-9 p.m. Oct. 31. Fire & Water Walk. See how fire and water are used to maintain the garden. 10 a.m. Oct. 25. Free. Sprouts. Hands-on preschool program. 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Drop-in Dance Class. 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays. Baby Play Date. 1 p.m. Tuesdays. Music Class with Miss Ariel. 10:30 a.m. Wednesdays. $10. Theater Class for Littles. 10:30 a.m. Fridays. $10. CD Release Party with Miss Ariel. 5-7 p.m. Oct. 6. Free. Date Night Child Care. 5 p.m. Saturdays. $25, $10 extra sibling. Make a Halloween Ghost. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18. $7. Halloween Slime Day. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 20. $10. Nappy Time Halloween Portraits. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 27. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

The Williamson Museum. Hands on History. Make a music craft. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 13. The Williamson Museum, 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown.

“Beetlejuice” is at the Alamo Drafthouse.


That’s My Face: Youth and Young Adult Film Series: “Birth of a Movement.” Free. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Movie on the Lawn: “Monster House.” Free. 8 p.m. Oct. 19. Northwest Recreation Center, 2913 Northland Drive.

Alamo Drafthouse events. “Little Shop of Horrors” Movie Party. 4 p.m. Oct. 7, Lakeline. 1 p.m. Oct. 6, Mueller. 4:15 p.m. Oct. 7, Slaughter Lane. “Beetlejuice” Party. 7 p.m. Oct. 21, Lakeline. Alamo for All, sensory-friendly screening “The House with a Clock in Its Walls.” 1:30 p.m. Oct. 2, Lakeline, Noon and 2:50 p.m. Oct. 2, Mueller, Noon Oct. 2, Slaughter Lane and 2:50 p.m. Oct. 3, Mueller. “Small Foot.” 1:15 p.m. Oct. 2, Lakeline, 11:05 a.m. and 1:45 p.m. Oct. 2, Slaughter Lane.

“Tortoise and the Hare” musical is at Zach Theatre. Kirk Tuck


“Tortoise and Hare” at Zach Theatre. The Aesop fable becomes a musical for ages 5 and up. 2 p.m. Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. $18-$24. Kleburg Stage, 1421 W. Riverside Drive.

Pollyanna Theatre presents “The Mystery of the Green Teeth Ghost.” 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Oct. 1, Oct. 4-5, 2 p.m. Oct. 6-7. $10.50 and up. The Long Center, 701 Riverside Drive.

Emily Ann Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood.” See this classic children’s tale on stage. $10-$8. 10 a.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays, through Oct. 21.1101 Ranch Road 2325, Wimberley.

“Rosita y Conchita.” See this bilingual Día de los Muertos play about two sisters who try to reunite. $8-$12. 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Oct. 6-7, Oct. 14, Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. 6:30 p.m. Nov. 2. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.

“Tomás and the Library Lady.” Paramount Theatre is working with Mexic-Arte Museum for the kick-off of its Discovery Series for the year. 2 p.m. Oct. 21, show, preceded by crafts from Mexic-Arte Museum and followed by family day at Mexic-Arte Museum. Paramount Theatre, $18-$10. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress Ave.

“The Ugly Duckling.” Ballet Austin II presents this show for ages 3-10. 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 20-21, Oct. 27-28. $15. AustinVentures StudioTheater, 501 W. Third St.

Austin Symphony’s Halloween concert brings out the spooky sounds. Austin Symphony Orchestra


Halloween Concert. Hear Halloween-themed music from the Austin Symphony. $10-$15. 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 28. Austin ISD Performing Arts Center, 1925 E. 51st St.

Austin Kiddie Limits. Hear kids’ music, build things, make art and dance. Free for kids 10 and younger with parent with a wristband. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 5-7, Oct. 12-14. Zilker Park.

Head to the children’s tent of the Texas Book Festival. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN


Texas Teen Book Festival. See some of your favorite young adult authors. Free. 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 6. St. Edward’s University.

Texas Book Festival. Hear from children’s authors, middle-grade and young adult authors at this free festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 27, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 28. Capitol Building and the grounds.

BookPeople events: Girl Scout CEO Sylvia Acevedo reads “Path to the Stars,” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1. Erin Hunter reads “Bravelands No. 3: Blood and Bone,” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Tillie Walden reads “On a Sunbeam,” 7 p.m. Oct. 4. Property Brothers read, “Builder Brothers: Big Plans,” 4 p.m. Oct. 7. Kwame Alexander reads “Swing,” 7 p.m. Oct. 8. Don Zolidis reads “The Seven Torments of Amy and Craig,” 2 p.m. Oct. 14. Spooky Story Celebration, Oct. 20. Jon Lasser and Sage Foster-Lasser read “Grow Grateful,” 2 p.m. Oct. 20. Kids Book Club with Austin Allies, 12:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Marit Weisenberg reads “Select Few,” 7 p.m. Oct. 23. Dylan Thuras reads “Atlas Obscura for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid,” 6 p.m. Oct. 24. Mark Falkin reads “The Late Bloomer,” 7 p.m. Oct. 30. 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday story times. Best Friends Forever, Oct. 2. Favorite Characters, Oct. 3. Illustrator Spotlight, Oct. 6. Brand New Books, Oct. 9; Susan Kralovansky, Oct. 13. Monsters Are Our Friends, Oct. 20. Pets are the Best, Oct. 23. Great Outdoors, Oct. 24. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: Kids’ Book Hangout. 2 p.m. Oct. 20, Round Rock; 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Builder Brothers: Big Plans,” Oct. 6; “I Lost My Tooth!,” Oct. 13; “Featuring Elbow Grease,” Oct. 20.

Little Seedlings Story Time: Korea. Learn about Korea while making a paper fan and hearing a story. 10 a.m. Oct. 19. Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road.

At the library

Crafternoon. 3 p.m. Mondays, Southeast Branch. 3 p.m. Wednesdays, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 11, Twin Oaks Branch. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Carver Branch.

Literature Live presents “Tales from Graves.” 3:30 p.m Oct. 1, Spicewood Springs Branch. 1 p.m. Oct. 3, Ruiz Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Ruiz Branch. 6:30 pm. Oct. 8, Central Library. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 10, Willie Mae Kirk Branch. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Old Quarry Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 25, North Village Branch. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26, Yarborough Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 30, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 31, University Hills Branch.

Lego Lab. 4:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Carver Branch. 3 p.m. Oct. 3, Southeast Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 5, North Village Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 10, Spicewood Springs Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 10, Howson Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16 Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Pleasant Hill Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Ruiz Branch. 2:30 p.m. Oct. 23, Yarborough Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Pajama Story Time. 6 p.m. Mondays, University Hills Branch. 6:30 p.m. Mondays, Central Library. 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Yarborough Branch. 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, St. John Branch. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. 6:30 p.m. Thursdays, Manchaca Road Branch. 6 p.m. Oct. 15, Milwood Branch. 6 p.m. Oct. 25, Spicewood Branch. 6 p.m. Oct 25, North Village Branch.

College Planning Workshop: Award Winning Essays. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1, Howson Branch. Studying film, music and more. 11 a.m. Oct. 13, Willie Mae Kirk Branch.

Book Circle. 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Twin Oaks Branch.

Science Fun. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 2, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Rubik’s Cubing Club for ages 8-18. 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Healthy Bodies for Healthy Kids. 4 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Family Board Game Night. 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Central Library.

Board with Books. 6 p.m. Oct. 2, Central Library.

Story time and Movement with Ballet Austin. (Reservation Required). 1 p.m. Wednesdays Central Library.

Bow Wow Reading with Roo the Dog. 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Little Walnut Creek Branch. With Bonnie the Dog. 11:30 a.m. Saturdays, Yarborough Branch. With Daisy the Dog. 11:15 a.m. Oct. 25, Ruiz Branch.

Music & Movement. 10:15 a.m. Thursdays, Carver Branch. 11 a.m. Thursdays, Howson Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 5, Old Quarry Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 8, Pleasant Hill Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 9, Spicewood Springs Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 23, Ruiz Branch.

Thursday Night Teen Writers Room. 6 p.m. Thursdays, Central Library.

Friday Movie Matinee: “The Lego Batman Movie.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5, Ruiz Branch. “Goosebumps.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Carver Branch. “Coco.” 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, Old Quarry Branch.

Dia de los Muertos. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 4, Manchaca Road Branch. 11 a.m. Oct. 6, Twin Oaks Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 9, Milwood Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 15, Howson Branch. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 16, Carver Branch. 4 p.m. Oct. 18, Little Walnut Creek Branch. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 24, St. John Branch. 10:15 a.m. Oct. 25, Cepeda Branch. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 26, Central Library. 11 a.m. Oct. 29, University Hills Branch.

Homeschool Social. 11:15 a.m. Oct. 10, Carver Branch.

NBTween Graphic Novel Club “Four Points.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. “Newsprints.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 10, St. John Branch. “Posted.” 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Twin Oaks Branch. “She Loves You.” 6 p.m. Oct. 18, Spicewood Springs Branch. “The Time Museum.” 4:30 p.m. Oct. 24, St. John Branch.

Thursday Matinee: “Hotel Transylvania 2.” 1 p.m. Oct. 11; “Ghostbusters.” 1 p.m. Oct. 18; “Boo 2.” 1 p.m. Oct. 25, Terrazas Branch.

Family Craft Night. 7 p.m. Oct. 11, St. John Branch.

Animanga Club. 3:30 p.m. Fridays Ruiz Branch.

Robotics Beginners Class: Ages 5-8. 4 p.m. Oct. 12, North Village Branch.

Sewing After Dark. 5 p.m. Oct. 12, Central Library.

Southeast Branch 20th Anniversary and Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration. 5 p.m. Oct. 12, Southeast Branch.

Saturday Cinema: “Coco.” 2 p.m. Oct. 13, Southeast Branch.

Halloween Costume Total Reuse Event. 1 p.m. Oct. 13, Recycled Reads Bookstore.

Austin Ukestra Ukulele Group. 1 p.m. Oct. 14, Recycled Reads Book Store.

Teen Book Club: “Alanna.” 6:30 p.m. Oct. 16, Howson Branch.

Walking on Sunshine Early Literacy Sing-along Adventure. 10:30 a.m. Oct. 17, Oct. 24, Oct. 31, Central Library.

Platform Nine and Teen Quarters Harry Potter Meetup. 2 p.m. Oct. 21, Central Library.

Maker Night Halloween Mini Die-o-rams. 7 p.m. Oct. 23, Twin Oaks Branch.

Mother Daughter Book Club “The Shadow Cipher.” 6 p.m. Oct. 24, Pleasant Hill Branch.

Tween and Teen Anime Club. 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26, Twin Oaks Branch.

Saturday Crafts. 11 a.m. Oct. 27, Milwood Branch.

Night Crafters. 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29, Central Library.

Halloween Party Literacy Costume Bash. 7 p.m. Oct. 31, Milwood Branch.

Fill your long Labor Day weekend with Austin family events, Aug. 31-Sept. 3

Hooray! We’ve got a long weekend! Eek! We’ve got a long weekend!

Have a plan for keeping the kids busy this Labor Day weekend to avoid the whines of “I’m bored!”

Here are some events on our calendar:

Make slime at the Thinkery this weekend. American-Statesman


Early Learner Playtime. 10:30 a.m. Friday, Central Library.


“Beauty and the Beast” at Zach Theatre. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $25-$150. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd.

“The Legends of Robin Hood.” Directly from Sherwood Forest Faire, Robin Hood and his merry band of outlaws are bringing mischief to Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 7 p.m. Friday, noon, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday. 10 a.m. and noon Sunday, $8-$12. Austin Scottish Rite Theater. 207 W. 18th St.

Shrine Circus. The big top comes to H-E-B Center. 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday. 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. $19-$35. H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

Sherwood Forest Faire comes to Scottish Rite Theater. 


Zach Theatre Open House. Try out some of the classes for children age toddler to fifth grade. 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. This week it’s at the North Austin location, 12129 RM 620 N. location. RSVP on a link on

BookPeople events. 10:30 a.m. story times. Brand new books, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Thinkery. Baby Bloomers for kids age birth to 3 learn about Color this month., 9 a.m. Saturday. $5. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Toybrary Austin. Daddy & Me Foam Playdate. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. $10. . Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Flix Jr. Flix offers $2 children’s movies. “Rio.” 11 a.m. Saturday. 2200 S. Interstate 35, Suite B1, Round Rock.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturday story time at all locations: “Pig the Fibber.” Saturday.

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

DiversiTEENS Teen Art Showcase. 4 p.m. Saturday, Central Library.

Saturday Movie Matinee: “Avengers: Infinity War.” 1 p.m. Saturday, St. John Branch

Go on a scavenger hunt at the Science Mill all weekend.


Science Mill. Labor Day Weekend Scavenger Hunt. Create your own team and use your smartphone to find items throughout the museum. Free with admission. Saturday-Monday. Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City.

Thinkery. Slime Time workshop for ages 4 and up. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Monday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

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


Bullock Museum. Free First Sunday: Totally Texas. Fun hands-on events with a Texas theme. Noon-3 p.m. Sunday. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave.


Thinkery. Little Builders. Create structures and sculptures. 9:30 a.m. 1-year-olds, 10:30 a.m. 2-year-olds, 11:30 a.m. 3-year-olds, Monday. $20. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.










Save these dates: Trail of Lights will return

I know we just sent kids off to school, but Tuesday, The Trail of Lights announced the dates for the 54th running of the Christmas lights spectacular.

The official grand opening will be Monday, Dec. 10 and will be free that day.

The famous Trail of Lights tunnel of lights will shine again in December. American-Statesman

The lights will continue 7-10 p.m. Dec. 11-23 in Zilker Park. Children younger than 12 are always free. Seven out of the other 14 nights also will be free. The Trail will offer fast passes, and parking and shuttle passes for an extra fee and available in advance. Ticket availability will be released in October at

What will be new this year?

  • A 13-foot lighted carriage
  • 12 7-foot lighted guitars
  • A 25-foot spiral holiday tree

The Trail expects to feature 2 million lights, more than 65 displays, 30 food trucks and three stages. It also will host interactive experiences and  50 private holiday parties.

The Trail of Lights season begins on Nov. 25 with the lighting of the Zilker Holiday Tree. 

The Austin Trail of Lights Fun Run is planned for Dec. 1. It’s a way to see the lights before the trail officially opens. It’s a 2.1-mile run.

The fundraising preview night will be Dec. 8 and will include activities such as food tastings not available during the rest of the Trail’s nights.

Once again, the Trail of Lights Foundation Board is hosting STARS at the Trail, private viewing of the trail by local nonprofit organizations’ clients Dec. 2, 3 and 4, as well as during the public nights. Organizations can apply by Sept. 18 to be considered at

Heroes Night on Dec. 11 will honor first responders and current military and veterans and their family.

The Trail is also looking for entertainment for its stages. You can apply at by Sept. 28.


Be safe this Fourth of July with these fireworks, barbecue tips

Getting ready for a fun Fourth of July? Follow these tips from Dr. Ben Coopwood Jr., a trauma surgeon and burn specialist at Dell Seton Medical Center, which now has a burn unit.

Young children need to be supervised and able to follow directions before giving them a sparkler. From left, Levi Reynolds, Kambell Crites and Charlie McCorvey light their sparklers from a single flame. FRAN HUNTER FOR SMITHVILLE TIMES 2015

Firework safety

1. Sparklers are dangerous. They cause about 75 percent of the firework-related injuries in the U.S., which is also true for Austin. Sparklers burn at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than a blowtorch, Coopwood says. Often it’s young children who get burned. Make sure kids are able to follow directions and are supervised by adults before allowing them to use a sparkler. Handle the sparkler by the non-burning tip, and when it’s done, drop it on a nonflammable surface like the pavement. Douse it in water before putting it in the trash.

2. Never hold a firecracker in your hand and then light it. Instead, light it on a non-burning surface like the pavement.

3. Point Roman candles or bottle rockets (which are not legal in Austin) in a safe direction — away from yourself, other people, animals or a field that could burn. Injuries happen when either people get hit by these fireworks or they are holding a defective one that goes off in their hand. Those bottle rocket wars adults grew up on are a bad idea.

4. Do not light more than one firework at a time. Not all of them will go off, and you will have unlighted fireworks all over the place.

5. Have a designated fireworks lighter. “People who are handling fireworks and are drinking make these same errors in judgment as people who are drinking and driving or drinking and boating,” Coopwood says.

6. Go to professionally run city or neighborhood firework displays and stay in the designated area away from the fireworks.

More Fourth of July safety tips

1. Stay hydrated. No, alcohol doesn’t count as hydration. It will be hot with an expected high of 95.

2. Be careful when lighting a barbecue. Don’t stand over the barbecue when lighting it. Use a long match or long lighter, and keep hair pulled back and avoid loose-fitting shirts. Usually when it comes to barbecue burns, Coopwood sees people who have tried to augment the barbecue grill by throwing something like gasoline on the coals. It flares up when they light it, and their shirt catches fire, burning their arm or chest.

3. Don’t drink and drive or drink and boat.

20 favorite TV moms and what they’ve taught us

Who among us hasn’t wished for a different mother, like the ones you see on TV? And for moms, who among you haven’t wished you could be more like those moms on TV? Steady and kind, funny and smart, always with the right answer to any problem.

For Mother’s Day, we give you 20 of our favorite TV moms. None of them are perfect, all of them have some definite flaws, but they are endearing, people we can relate to and they make us think. Deep down, they are just like real moms — but with better hair and wardrobe.

Carol Brady’s love was at the center of “The Brady Bunch.” FILE

Carol Brady

“The Brandy Bunch”

Carol Brady taught us that there didn’t need to be a difference between the love she had for the children she birthed and the love she had for the children who became hers through marriage. She’s the ultimate step-mom, and she quietly fought the notion of what boys and girls can do in her own house. “Camping is for boys and girls,” she told the kids.

June Cleaver loved her boys in “Leave It to Beaver.” File

June Cleaver

“Leave It to Beaver”

June Cleaver came to represent the bygone era of moms of the 1950s. Moms that always had a piping hot dinner on the table, while wearing a dress, heels and pearls. Yet, June Cleaver could be no-nonsense, and you definitely knew she cared about both of her boys and even neighbor Eddie Haskell. She was forever saying, “Ward, I’m very worried about the Beaver.”

Jackie and sister Roseanne might be different, but you know they love one another in “Roseanne.” ABC

Roseanne Conner


Roseanne Conner said the things all moms think with plenty of sarcasm thrown at you. Things like, “Excuse the mess, but we live here.” Roseanne and husband, Dan, don’t put on any airs. They are real Americans and they don’t care if you love them or loathe them. The great thing about Roseanne Conner is we’ve gotten to grow up with her family and see them 30 years later, and guess what? They are exactly the same.

Linda keeps the family going while Bob makes the family business happen in “Bob’s Burgers.” FOX

Linda Belcher

“Bob’s Burgers”

Linda Belcher loves her babies intensely. She’s fun, she’s a bit wacky. You just have to love her. And she’s very real, even if she’s a cartoon. She has real quips on parenting, like: “Raising you kids is a two parent, two-bottles-of-wine-a-night kind of job.”

Dre and Rainbow Johnson have been through a lot as a couple in “Black-ish.” ABC

Rainbow Johnson


We’ve gotten to watch Rainbow go through many things including most recently postpartum depression and conflict in marriage. She is the rock to the gregarious Dre, plus we love how she handles the in-laws and the teenagers, factions that could make any mom lose it. This family feels real because of her. As her husband announces that he’s figured out a way to save Halloween, she says, “Oh that’s great. I found a way to save a guy that was at the bottom of a pool for twenty minutes, but you go.”

“Speechless” is all about family and overcoming challenges. The parents just come up with different approaches. ABC

Maya DiMeo


Raising a child with differences makes you resilient. Never has there been an example of this like Maya DiMeo. She’ll pick up the whole family and move if she doesn’t get the services she wants for her kids. As she tells her son Ray, ““I’m not going to apologize for taking care of your brother. He got the right mum.”

Clair Huxtable always wore big hair, big earrings and big shoulder pads, but she also wore a strength that moved mountains. FILE

Clair Huxtable

“The Cosby Show”

The creator aside, this show taught us that women can be both a professional and a mom. They could be smart and sexy. They could be strong and vulnerable. They also could stand up to their husbands in a way that was not passive or offensive. “No, Cliff. You don’t understand, Honey. You did not have that child. I had that child. I was the one who was on that table screaming, ‘Take it out!’”

Mrs. Garrett was at the heart of “The Facts of Life.” FILE

Edna Garrett

“The Facts of Life”

Yes, Mrs. Garrett isn’t technically a mom to the girls under her care, but she definitely mothered those girls. She played the straight woman to their zany, and she always saw them for who they are, counseled them on all their troubles, and delivered consequences with a firm, loving stance. She always knew the right thing to say, “Oh honey, your decision to stay a kid is the most adult thing you’ve ever done.”

Marie Barone wouldn’t get out of son Raymond’s life or trying to control husband, Frank. CBS

Marie Barone

“Everybody Loves Raymond”

Marie Barone firmly believes that a mother’s work is never done, which is why she continues to mother both her adult sons. She mothers with guilt. She mothers with food, which is how she shows love. She is always the straight woman to husband Frank, who always got the best lines. Instead, with Marie, you knew exactly where she stood because she always let you know. As she often says, “I don’t like that.”

Ma made everything OK in “Little House on the Prairie.” FILE

Caroline Ingalls

“Little House on the Prairie”

Life on the American frontier was hard, yet Ma always kept her children fed and clothed and imparted wisdom that worked for any age, like this gem: “When you love somebody, it’s worth putting your pride behind you.”

Marion Cunningham “adopted” more than a few wayward strays in “Happy Days.” ABC

Marion Cunningham

“Happy Days”

Marion Cunningham loved her children and their friends, and she had a special place in her heart for the Fonz. “I hope you weren’t offended when I got a little peeved at you the other day … You did a wonderful job, Arthur. Shall we make up?”

“The Simpsons” never seem to age, but Marge becomes more and more central to the way that family works. Fox

Marge Simpson

“The Simpson”

Without Marge this family (and this show) wouldn’t work. While we often forget about her as the rest of the family is going through one round of high-jinks after another, she often knows the right thing to say to bring her children back to reality. Sometimes, it’s just a groan or a look, or a sigh that follows, “Oh, Homie.”

“The Addams Family” has had different incarnations like this movie version. Annie Lebovitz

Morticia Addams

“The Addams Family”

Morticia Addams celebrates her family and their uniqueness in fierce ways. She shows love and cleverness and feminism in the 1960s. “I’m just like any modern woman trying to have it all. Loving husband, a family. It’s just… I wish I had more time to seek out the dark forces and join their hellish crusade.”

The Keaton family in “Family Ties” learned how to love despite different political views. NBC

Elyse Keaton

“Family Ties”

Elyse Keaton had four very different kids, plus a Skippy. Yet, she loved every one of them, even Alex who was a Republican to her former hippie self, and Mallory, who was more interested in clothes and boys than school, something hard to understands as a woman with a career in architecture. Yet, she met every kid where they were and tried to help them be better. As she tells Alex, “You’re pushing yourself too hard.”

Lucy and Ethel were a package deal in “I Love Lucy.” FILE

Lucy Ricardo

“I Love Lucy”

Nothing ever went right for Lucy. Somehow she always messed something up, which made her very human. She taught us the importance of moms having friends. She and Ethel were thick as thieves, as with this exchange:

Lucy: I’ll get even with him!

Ethel: What are you gonna do?

Lucy: I’ll leave him! No. That’s probably what he wants.

Ethel: Yeah, stay married with him. That’ll teach him!

Coolest mom ever, Shirley Partridge let her kids form a band in “The Partridge Family.” FILE

Shirley Partridge

“The Partridge Family”

Shirley Partridge taught us that moms can rock and they can go on the road with their kids and form a rock band! She was the ultimate stage mom, but not in a creepy way, and with her magical tambourine, she allowed her kids to follow their dreams. She also gave us real insight in the struggle of being a single mom, “Let me explain something to you. I’m your mother, and in that way I’ll always belong to all of you. But I’m also a woman. And even with five children whom I love very much, and who I know love me, there are times when I still feel lonely.”

Michonne from “The Walking Dead” provides a lesson in love after loss. Gene Page/AMC


“The Walking Dead”

Michonne as the katana-wielding superheroine of the zombie apocalypse lost her own son to the apocalypse, but she took on the role of mother to Rick Grimes’ children. She’s become the voice of reason, after starting out with so much anger about her own child’s death. As she says to Grimes’ son Carl, “I can’t stop you, but you can’t stop me from helping you.” She’s the epitome of a strong woman making the best of a difficult situation and doing it with love.

Lois seems to always be yelling at someone in “Malcolm in the Middle.” Deborah Feingold/FOX


“Malcolm in the Middle”

Lois is an every mom. She’s working a bad job, trying to raise four boys, one of whom is already a delinquent and one of whom is a genius she doesn’t know what to do with. Plus she’s got a husband with some pretty wackadoodle ideas. She always comes back with a good quip: “Once upon a time, there was a little boy that made his mom so crazy she decided to sell him to a circus.”

Tami Taylor might think her husband’s approach needs softening and she’ll let him know in “Friday Night Lights.” NBC

Tami Taylor

“Friday Night Lights”

Tami Taylor as the school counselor/principal/football coach’s wife mothered a whole team, really a whole town. There’s a sweetness to her and a toughness. She’s always the voice of reason and compassion. As she says, “I believe in you with every cell of my being.”

Daenerys Targaryen is the Mother of Dragons in “Game of Thrones.” If you can mother dragons, you can do anything, right? HBO

Daenerys Targaryen

“Game of Thrones”

Motherhood can be elusive. Daenerys loses her unborn baby in the first season of “Game of Thrones,” yet she grows an empire and three dragons. She is the mother of dragons and so much more. As she says, “No one will take my dragons.” And yet, we now know she is vulnerable.

The Austin moms who made us think since last Mother’s Day

As the Raising Austin columnist, I get to share the stories of some pretty incredible moms.

Moms who are creatively changing Austin. Moms who have nerves of steel when it comes to supporting their kids through difficult struggles. Moms who are dealing with their own struggles. Moms who have made us laugh, made us think. Moms who are just real.

Today, I share some of my favorite Austin mom stories from the past year. Click their names to read their stories again.

Andra Liemandt created The Kindness Campaign.

Andra Liemandt brought kindness to kids when she started The Kindness Campaign. The in-school curriculum teaches kids how to be kind from a young age with the hope that a generation of kind kids will prevent bullying and lessen the amount of teen suicide.

“At first, I really wanted to know how to connect with my own kids,” she says. “I was just doing this because I was scared.”

The Kindness Campaign turned into the play, “Las Aventuras de Enoughie (The Adventures of Enoughie)” from Zach Theatre, Teatro Vivo and Glass Half Full Theatre this January.

Liemandt also started The Mrs. band. They sing songs to uplift women, sometimes with humor, always with a strong dose of reality. “We’re writing songs with purpose,” she says. Their biggest hit, “Enough,” reiterates the theme that we all are enough.

Michelle Houp created Prep U line of body care products for boys. Prep U

Michelle Houp started Prep U, a line of personal care products for young boys.

She found herself saying to sons her Carson and Colton when they got in the car: “Do not take your shoes off any more because I’m going to vomit.”

That stench extended to house, too. “I can’t get rid of the smell,” she says. “We live in a frat house. There is something funky happening.”

Now, that boy stink doesn’t have to be a part of parenting boys.

Maruxa Murphy spends time with her daughters Maya, 8, Isabella, 4, and Selah, 2, on the balcony of their South Austin home. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Maruxa Murphy also has the entrepreneurial heart. She started Austin Moms’ Network in 2014 to connect moms together through a Facebook group with in-person events. Now she’s explored another passion of hers — coffee — as the owner of Perky Perky Coffee.

Coffee became even more important to her when she became a mom. She remembers once when she had just had a baby and a well-meaning friend brought her a cup of 7-Eleven coffee. She wanted to cry. “All I wanted was a good cup of coffee,” she says.

Catia Hernandez Holm writes “The Courage to Become” about becoming a mother.

Catia Hernandez Holm, author of “The Courage to Become: Stories of Hope for Navigating Love, Marriage and Motherhood,” says, “I wanted other women to know they weren’t alone.”

She writes with honesty about the struggle to become pregnant, the struggle of her first pregnancy and the first year of motherhood.

Nalie Lee-Wen grew up an refugee without a country before coming to the United States.

Nalie Lee-Wen takes the lessons she learned as a refugee and applies them to her business as the founder of a real estate investment firm and her role as mother.

“Wherever my parents were from stayed with us for a very long time,” she says of her journey from refugee camp along the border of Laos and Thailand to settling in Utah, then California, then Seattle and finally Austin.

The PPA Group has five core values: We care, we are exceptional, we are teachable, we speak to inspire, we are bold.

That boldness means that she does things like take her children out of their comfortable life to have them struggle at a horticulture camp for the summer.

“You’re not going to be the same person five years from now,” she says. “No matter what career you will go into, you will know who you are.”

Dr. Andrea Campaigne with daughter Nina.

Dr. Andrea Campaigne’s profession is to help women through their pregnancy, labor and delivery and beyond. The obstetrician gynecologist had her own health crisis after giving birth to her daughter. She began to hemorrhage and had to trust in her medical team to get her through.

“The work that I do takes healthy woman to the brink on a really difficult day,” she says. “You can recover from it, but it’s a big day.”

She reminds us that even though we think we can control everything in our lives, even the doctor can’t avoid a medical crisis.

Baxter Wilson-Rul is 13. He has autism and is nonverbal, yet he’s found a way to advocate for himself. His moms Monica Rul and Tiffany Wilson have helped him learn to communicate. Family photo

Tiffany Wilson and Monica Rul are the parents of Baxter Wilson-Rul, a 13-year-old with autism who became verbal using a letter board. He writes about the time when a school didn’t believe he had anything to say, but his moms knew differently.

They knew that Baxter was intelligent if they could just figure a way to connect to his thoughts.

“He sees things we don’t understand about,” Wilson says.

They kept going until they found the right person to teach Baxter how to use a letter board and the right school environment for him.

He wants everyone to know: “I can do everything.”

Dr. Nilda Garcia is the new surgeon in chief at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas. She’s been at Dell since 2010. Seton

Dr. Nilda Garcia is leading the way when it comes to how children in trauma are treated. She’s changed some of the protocols, in fact. The chief surgeon at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas has done a lot in her career, but she’s still Mom at home.

Motherhood has made her a better doctor in many ways because she’s been on the other side of the gurney. She makes it a point to include both parent and child in their care. “It makes them feel part of it,” she says. “It makes them feel good.”

Shamsah Momin, with her daughter Samayra, had an aneurysm that ruptured last September. Doctors were able to repair it using a Pipeline Flex embolization device. Family photo

Shamsah Momin reminds us all that moms need to take care of themselves. She had an aneurysm Labor Day weekend 2016. One possible cause was not controlling her blood pressure.

Her family had to help her for a while, doing everyday things like taking her daughter to school and other activities. “I really became dependent,” she says. “I had always been supermom.”

Jeannie Ralston and Lori Seekatz have started NextTribe, an online magazine for women who have raised their kids and wonder what’s next? Nine Francois

Jeannie Ralston and Lori Seekatz are proof that even after the kids leave home, you still have an identity as a woman, as a mom. They started NextTribe online magazine for women of a certain age after they couldn’t find a magazine that spoke to them. Their tagline is “Age Boldly” and that’s what they plan to do and to encourage other women to do.

The magazine is like having a group of friends tell you the truth about what life post-kids is all about. “We want it to sound the way women really do talk to each other,” Ralston says.

When Kristin Schell moved a brightly painted picnic table into her front yard, she didn’t realize how much it would change her life. Now, hundreds of these tables are in front yards across the world. Contributed by Kasandra Keys

Kristin Schell knows the power of connection. She started the Turquoise Table, which has become a movement and is now a book. From putting out her own turquoise-colored picnic table in her front yard in 2013 to tables popping up all over the country, Schell found an easy way for people to find that connection we all crave.

Paint a table turquoise, put it in the front yard, sit at it and see who comes by to chat. “When I was in it, I didn’t fully see it,” she says of the growth.

“It just unfolded,” she says. “I can’t believe it myself.”

Don and Sara Hogan hold Mary Margaret in these photos by a Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep volunteer.

Sara Hogan lost her daughter Mary Margaret to Turner syndrome. After Mary Margaret was stillborn, Sara and her husband Don wanted to spend as much time with their daughter before they had to leave the hospital. It wasn’t possible because of the natural deterioration of a body.

“It was hard for me to hear that by holding my daughter that I was accelerating the process,” Hogan says. “It was hard for the nurses to tell a family going through it. They are going through a horrible experience.”

They later learned about CuddleCots, a bassinet that is refrigerated for just this purpose. They have donated six CuddleCots and have a goal to put one in every hospital in Austin.

Lucia Facundo and Mindy Croom retired as high school counselors at McCallum High School after 40 and 33 years in education. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Mindy Croom and Lucia Facund0 shared their wisdom on their retirement as school counselors at McCallum High School last year. Between them they had 70 years of experience.

“We have had wonderful kids all of my years,” Croom says.

Often, kids didn’t change, but their problems seemed to grow and the pressure on them sure did.

Croom and Facundo had great wisdom to share. Gems like:

Drink in the beauty. Take time to notice the beauty and details around you.

Accept the gift of education. Be like the refugee students who come to school for the first time: Be in awe of all the opportunities that are in front of you.

Life is a journey, not a race. If you make a mistake, all is not lost.

Confession: Croom has been seen at local high schools filling in for counselors on leave. She just can’t get enough.

Khris Ford is the founder of The Austin Center for Grief & Loss. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

Khris Ford is one of those angels who figures out how to make something wonderful out of a tragedy. A decade ago she started what is now Austin Center for Grief & Loss. She was inspired by her own struggle after the death of her son Stephen in a car accident in 1989.

“Life happens,” she says. “That’s part of my philosophy. It’s not what was before. You have a choice. You can linger on death or you can let it be your teacher.”

The center offers one-on-one counseling and support groups for people of all ages who are dealing with the loss of a loved one.

“I kind of have to shake my head every time I’m here,” she says. “It’s beyond what I dreamed, and I still have dreams of where it will go.”

Casey Barnes was almost 10 years old when she died. Her parents Tim and Marty Barnes started Casey’s Circle as her legacy with the hope more families will be able to give their children typical childhood experiences. Barnes family photos 2012

Marty Barnes and her husband Tim, also know what it’s like to lose a child. Their daughter Casey, died just before her 10th birthday from multiple diagnoses because of a traumatic birth injury. They started Casey’s Circle to give kids who are medically fragile or have special needs normal events like birthday and Christmas parties, movie outings and more.

The goal of Casey’s Circle is to “focus on their kids being kids first and not patients,” she says. “It’s our goal to help families make sure that they are creating the memories and having the childhood that the kids deserve. We did that as best as we could with Casey, and I think it’s good to try to give back and help other families do that.”

Austin’s Jen Hatmaker returns with “Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life.” Amy Melsa Photography

Jen Hatmaker is as real as it gets. The author, social media presence isn’t putting up a public front in anything she does. Her newest book “Of Mess and Moxie” is all about embracing the mess that is life and having the moxie to get through it.

“The thing about real life is that if you don’t know already that life is messy and hard and full of failure and loss and disappointment, then you need to live longer,” she says. “That’s just true.”

The book is written after a particularly hard time in her life. “Everything felt like it was imploding all at once. … We couldn’t catch our breath from one thing, then the next domino hit,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘We can’t recover from this. Even if we move on, we can’t undo what had happened.’”

And yet, somehow, we pick ourselves up again. “Even in the very worst things,” she says, “even then, the sun will rise again.”

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.

Fill your long President’s Day weekend with these Austin family events, Feb. 16-19


What are you doing this President’s Day weekend? It might be rainy, but there’s a lot of fun events for the family.  Check out these Austin events:

Family Science Days. Meet an astronaut, learn about ants and raptors, dinosaurs and space. The public portion of the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Austin Convention Center. Free.

George Washington Carver Museum. Black History Month Kids Day. Crafts, activities, stories and more. Noon Saturday. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina St.

Barbara Jordan exhibit. See an interactive exhibit on the life of Barbara Jordan. Monday. Free. Texas Capitol Rotunda, 1100 Congress Ave.

Austin writer Bethany Hegedus has written “Be the Change: A Grandfather Gandhi Story” at BookPeople on Sunday. Credit: Simon and Schuster

BookPeople events: Bethany Hegedus and Erin McGuire read “Alabama Spitfire” at 2 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

“Cirque du Soleil Crystal.” It’s Cirque du Soleil on ice. $44-$155. 7:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, H-E-B Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park.

“Liberty! Equality! and Fireworks!” A story of the civil rights movement. 2 p.m. Saturday. LBJ Library Auditorium on the University of Texas Campus, 2313 Red River St. Free.

Faerie tea parties. Dress for the fairies and drink tea, eat mini cakes and go explore the fairy lands. 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday. $20. Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Road. Register online at

“The Adventures of Enoughie (Las Aventuras de Enoughie).” This bilingual puppet show features lessons about kindness and is a collaboration between Zach Theatre, Teatro Vivo, Glass Half Full Theatre and the Kindness Campaign. 11 a.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $14-$16. Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St.

Early Learners: Little Builders: 9:30 a.m. (1-year-olds), 10:30 a.m. (2-year-olds), 11:30 a.m. (3-year-olds), Monday. $20. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Cirque du Soleil will be giving a new performance, “Crystal,” at the H-E-B Center starting on Valentine’s Day.

Alamo Drafthouse PBS Kids “Pinkalicious & Peterrific.” 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, Lakeline.

Suminagashi Fabrics: Ages 4 and older. 10:30 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. or 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

“The Wazir of Oz.” A Bollywood-style version with music by the Sacred Cowgirls. $12-$8. 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Scottish Rite Theater, 207 W. 18th St.

“Las Aventuras de Enoughie (The Adventures of Enoughie)” stars Adam Martinez as Enoughie and Marino De Yao-Pedraza as Esme. Kirk Tuck

BookPeople Emily Ecton reads “The Ambrose Deception” at 6 p.m. Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Toybrary Austin. Play in Nature: 10:30 a.m. Fridays. $10. Toybrary Austin, 2001 Justin Lane.

Thinkery. Parents’ Night Out: See a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse or go out for dinner while the kids play. Ages 4 and older. $45. 5:30-10 p.m. Friday. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Austin Film Society Sunday School. “Mon Oncle.” This French film is full of sight gags. 1 p.m. Sunday. Austin Film Society Theater, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100.

Exploring Seasons: 9:45 a.m. (2-year-olds), 10:45 a.m. (3-year-olds) Friday. $20 a class, $140 for the series.  Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Baby Bloomers: All about Senses. 9 a.m. Saturdays. For birth to age 3. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.


Zach Theatre presents “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” Head to Narnia in the C.S. Lewis tale. 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. $18-$24. Whisenhunt Stage, 1510 Toomey Road.

Hideout Theatre Presents: Improv for Cool Kids “Stories from Around the World.” Join the cast in creating the story. 11 a.m. Sundays. $5. Hideout Theatre, 617 Congress Ave.

BookPeople 10:30 a.m. story times: Peter Rabbit, Saturday. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd.

Barnes & Noble Events: 11 a.m. Saturdays story times at all locations: “Mother Bruce.”


Express Yourself Through Media and Technology. Ages 8 and older. 10:30 a.m. Saturday. St. John’s Branch.

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


How to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the kids

Oh, the revelry of New Year’s Eve: the drinking, the debauchery, the first kiss of the new year. Perfect for kids, right? Not so much.

If you’re looking for something family-friendly to do with the kids, we have two local events designed for that:

Austin’s New Year. A family-friendly New Year’s Eve party with events throughout the day beginning at 3 p.m. Fireworks are at 10 p.m. Step into the Kids Magic Forest for the Bike Zoo, Dark Stack Media’s liquid light show, a giant Austin piñata, a stop-motion animation station, a crafting station, a magical fairy world and a train. Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Drive.

New Year’s Eve Balloon Drop & Bubble Wrap Stomp! Ring in 2018 with crafts, snowball fights and balloon drops at noon and 2 p.m. Tickets required: $12. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave.

Jonathan Davis dances with his 8-year-old daughter, Gigi, at Austin’s New Year at Auditorium Shores in 2013.  JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

You also can create your own memories at home.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Look through all of your photos from the year with the kids and create a collage together. You can go to photo printing sites or even drug stores with photo printing capabilities (like CVS, Walgreens, Walmart), and create the collage and then have it printed for framing or for a scrapbook. You can even turn them into New Year’s cards if you didn’t get around to the holiday cards this year. The important thing is to remember all the good (and bad) times you had.
  2. Create a ritual of letting go of the past. If your kids are young you can write down or draw  the bad memories of the past year and tear up those papers into pieces. If they are older, light a fire and throw the pieces of paper into the fire. Roasting marshmallows afterwards could be an added bonus.
  3. Create a family resolution. Do you want to spend more time together? Eat dinner together? Have screen-free times? Do the laundry better? Or maybe you want to finally do something fun you’ve been putting off.
  4. Take a New Year’s Eve walk around the neighborhood. This is your last chance to see the Christmas lights around the neighborhood.
  5. Party at home. Make hors d’oeuvres, watch a movie and toast the new year with sparkling grape juice. Get noise makers and hats to really make it a party. Dance around at whatever you decide your midnight is (could be 8 p.m., maybe even 9 or 10) and count down with gusto.

Happy New Year!

Keep kids safe this holiday season around decorations

It’s a beautiful time of year to be a family and celebrate being together. Grandparents come over, cousins reunite, aunts pinch kids’ cheeks.

Don’t let your holiday turn tragic. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips of how to keep your kids safe from holiday decorations.

Be careful that ornaments are safe and the breakable ones are kept out of reach. Karla Held/AMERICAN-STATESMAN


  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. The needles should be hard to pull off, and should not break when you bend them. When you tap the tree on the ground, only a few needles should fall off. Cut a few inches off the bottom of the trunk before putting it in the stand, and be sure to keep the stand filled with water.
  • If you have an artificial tree, make sure it’s labeled “Fire Resistant.”
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
  • Check all lights before hanging them on a tree or in your home, even if you have just purchased them. Make sure all the bulbs work and that there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections.
  • Be cautious about trimmings that may contain lead. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials. Light strands may contain lead in the bulb sockets and wire coating, sometimes in high amounts. Make sure your lights are out of reach of young children who might try to put lights in their mouths, and wash your hands after handling them.


  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use. To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples, not nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove them. Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with ground fault circuit interrupters to avoid potential shocks.


  • When lighting candles, remove flammable materials from the area, and place the candles where they will not be knocked over. Never leave a burning candle unattended. Do not use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. For more fire safety tips, listen to “Holiday Fire Safety” on
  • In homes with small children, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable. Keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.
  • Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass “angel hair.” Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.
  • Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child, or can cause a fire if near flame.
  • Keep potentially poisonous holiday plant decorations, including mistletoe berries, Jerusalem cherry, and holly berry, away from children.
  • For our Jewish friends, keep the menorah candles  up and away from little hands when they are burning. (Or, shhh, don’t tell anyone, blow them out.) Never leave the room where the candles are burning.