This guest blog post is by Ashly Howard.
As a mother of three, I want to make sure my children have just as much fun at the park as I do at the casino. I want to make sure their hair blows in the wind and their minds race deciding what they want to do next, as they explore their magical plastic wonderland.
But I may be a bit overprotective when deciding which park to take them to, and I do my research ten-fold. Though I want to get my children out of the house as much as possible, I don’t want to take them to a place that’s dirty or infested, or that is so busy that it’s impossible to keep up.
Austin’s parks in the summer are inevitably on the busy side. But the amount of busy can be looked if I find the perfect spot to spend time with my kids.
Here are my top 5 favorite parks in Austin:
- Brushy Creek Park: I won’t sugarcoat how busy this place can get, but I will say it’s worth it. From the water spouts the kids can’t stay away from, to the bike trails you can wagon your children on, there’s no bad vibe from here. In a whole day, I took my kids to the water spouts, let them play on the jungle gym, and then biked them to another jungle gym on a different side of the park. When you first get to this park, you can take the trail left or right. The right will take you under Parmer Lane to a little workout bench and baseball fields. If you take a left, you will find your way riding by the creek, up and down the sidewalk, over a bridge, and then you’ll hit the other dinosaur jungle gyms. The bike ride between the two playgrounds is absolutely beautiful.
Zilker Park: This place creates a euphoria of awesomeness for kids. Zilker Park has train rides, canoe rides, Barton Springs Pool, snow cones, and jungle gyms for all ages! Their disc golf park is large for the families that know how to play, and you are allowed to have you dog off-leash in a large section of the park (click here for a map of the off-leash area). Parking on the weekend with cost you $5 during Summer. Since I live in North Austin, this is the farthest South I’ve gone with my children to visit a park.
- Williamson County Regional Park: We’ve been going to this park for a couple of years now. Located at RM 1431 and CR 175, this park has baseball fields, very nice bathrooms and the Cedar Rock Railroad – which your children will request to ride at least twice before leaving. The train has a very animated conductor, scenes, and takes you on a 1.6 mi. ride around the park. I will admit to even having fun myself.
Round Rock Memorial Park: This park is also located on Brushy Creek. The relaxing environment, blended with a playscape and sidewalks, will really bring you in. Round Rock Memorial Park is located right in the Round Rock community, so they make an effort to display their landscaping skills. Statues showing Round Rock’s past tell an interesting story and give you something to talk about with your kids. The park only has one playscape, as does Brushy Creek Park, but as long as the kids are happy and you are in a relaxing environment, how much do you really need?
- Lake Creek Park: Located in Round Rock, just past downtown, Lake Creek Park has a dog park, pavilion for parties, a pool, basketball court, and tons of picnic tables. This park isn’t as big as my top choice, Brushy Creek Park, but it’s just as fun. To me, parks are perfect when there are more than enough things to do for kids and four-legged friends. Though Lake Creek Park is similar to other parks in the area, variety becomes more and more appreciated as Summer continues!
No matter what part of Austin you live in, you will find a perfect place to take your children. I hope my favorites list will give you a head-start as you search for the right park for you.
Are you and your kids “regulars” at any parks in Austin? I’d love to hear about your favorite spots.
Ashly Howard is a 27 year old stay-at-home mom who loves to tweet and blog at EpiphaniesofAshly.com. When it comes to getting a point across, her experiences are her best examples.
Photos courtesy of Cathy Heck, RoundRock.gov and Ashly Howard.