Zilker Park is the Central Park of Austin. Right in the heart of Austin, the expanse of green bordered by leafy trees is a welcome relief on a hot summer day. The Barton Creek flows right along one edge of the park before joining the Colorado river. The creek is always full of people kayaking, canoeing or just wading. We always head out to the park whenever we’re unsure of how to spend our mornings or evenings. It has been tremendously hot over the past few months so we haven’t been around the park much. But the trails along Zilker are always shaded and cool. It’s the best way to get the kid out and running around to expend his energy. We pass by people on their brisk walks or leisurely jogs. Cyclists occasionally pass you by.
Families like us with a kid running around crazily in a zigzag manner are rare on these trails. We see families like us at the playgrounds where our tribe gathers to watch the young ones clamber on the jungle gym and down the slides. The young and the fit at play on the lawns beyond must look at us and think they better get their fill of the co-ed soccer leagues before ending up next to us on the bench watching and infrequently screaming at the kid to be careful. The kid eyes the toy train that goes around the park but we being the credit card-reliant family, have forgotten to get cash that is needed for a ride on the train. “Next time” we promise the kid who surprisingly is very understanding. Oh, he can throw a major tantrum that will get the park’s attention when he wants. But then it is easy to quell his meltdowns with other equally interesting distraction just by feigning fascination in our tones. “Look, Ruan, that tree is so green.” Yup, you learn to and are willing to say the most ridiculous things when you’re facing an inevitable meltdown in the middle of a city park.
We can’t wait for the kid to grow up a little more so that he won’t be crazy enough to jump off the canoe into the river. We can then hope to rent a canoe for couple of hours and spend some quality family time paddling and cursing at each other to row properly and not go around in circles. The dogs have their own little paddling section too. Lucy is crazy enough to dart away into the woods if we let her off the leash. But at the same time, dainty enough to avoid getting a little wet and enjoying herself in the water with the other dogs. On the other side of the doggie pool is the famed Barton Springs Pool that’s known for staying a constant 68F regardless of the season. As expected it was full of people. This side of the water was relatively free of algae and was like a regular pool except with natural rock formations and natural springs replenishing the water supply.