Monday afternoon, my wife and I took our kids to the Zilker Botanical Gardens, and I was reminded of how blessed I really am to be self-employed and homeschooling our children. My friends in corporate jobs don't often get the opportunity to spend a few hours on a weekday enjoying nature and family time. Frankly, I am ready to return soon to the gardens, especially since we didn't get a chance to see the whole thing this time.
Since my last visit, which was over a year ago, they have opened a new section called the "Prehistoric Garden". The kids were highly excited about this, so we spent quite a bit of time in that area. I only saw one dinosaur statue, although I must admit I was expecting to see more of them.
According to the garden website: "In 1992, amateur paleontologists discovered dinosaurs once roamed the grounds of Zilker Botanical Garden. More than 100 tracks made by six or seven reptiles along with the bones of an ancient turtle were found." Cool stuff.
They also recently added some large and colorful butterfly-shaped benches, which made for plenty of photo ops.
My wife is very knowledgeable about….well, about everything, it seems. Last week, we had a date night at the Blanton Museum and she taught me about art. This week, she taught all of us about some of the different plants there in the garden. She is also the resident entomologist in our home, and the IT department.
One of my favorite parts at Zilker is the rose garden. For me, it is evocative of the grounds of a country estate, perhaps something owned by royalty. We literally took time to smell the roses while we were there, and the most memorable one had a light peach scent.
Near the rose garden, there is a cupola which once graced the top of Austin's first public school many years ago. Our two-year old called it "the little house" and she kept asking to go into the little house repeatedly, until she saw a wasp in there and decided that perhaps the little house was overrated.
There is a wooden footbridge which sits over a pond with water lillies, and it sincerely reminds me of a Monet painting. We had our portrait taken there years ago for some marketing materials. Since Monet is one of my very favorite artists, this spot is one of my favorite places in town.
My son found a very large leaf, perhaps from a banana tree, that he brought home with him. He even made me take a picture of it for prosperity's sake, although I didn't include it here.
There is plenty of shade and the winding trails make for some good exercise, especially when you have a tired six-year old girl on your shoulders.
Overall, I would highly recommend visiting the gardens during a visit to town. If you live in Austin and you haven't had a chance to check it out, make some time.
Their website lists hours and gives more details on the grounds: http://www.zilkergarden.org/index.html.