Sunday, May 16, 2010

Killing Time (19 days to go)

As we go about our daily routine - a routine that I love, but is nonetheless much of the same - I frequently fight a nagging feeling that we aren't taking proper advantage of the city we live in. Austin offers so much- parks, museums, hiking trails, green belts, lakes, etc., but we often stick to our usual haunts, all within about 2 miles of our house.

Then last week, while passing time in a waiting room, I picked up a magazine with "110 Fun Things To Do This Summer In Austin" emblazoned on the front. By the third page of the article I had already sent myself 6 emails from my blackberry with websites to look up and places to go. The Texas Memorial Museum was at the top of the list. It's free, it's on the UT campus, and it's filled with dinosaur bones and fossils. I highly recommend it.

We trooped over there around 10 a.m. yesterday morning. Landon loved being on campus, and ran around excitedly pointing out the various statutes and fountains, and JP and I got to reminisce about being in college and falling in love. Or maybe only I reminisced about that, JP's trip down memory lane probably involved more chlorine. When we found the museum, tucked between Trinity & San Jacinto streets, we investigated the two fossilized dino footprints (sauropod tracks, apparently) on the side. JP was attempting to interest Landon in the paleontological wonder before him, when Landon suddenly yelled, "A PUDDLE!!" and proceeded run across the sidewalk to jump in it. And that's why it's awesome that the museum is free.

(He did like the sabre tooth tiger out front.)

Once inside we were immediately taken with the giant pterosaur, the "largest flying creature ever discovered," soaring overhead. It was discovered in Texas, which is pretty cool, by a grad student on a dig in Big Bend.

Landon showed some appreciation for the big reptile (note, not a bird), but then he saw something even cooler:


A recessed window that he could climb in. Totally worth the price of admission.

We continued on through the five floors of exhibits. It's no Smithsonian, but it has some very nice fossils and other collections (including a huge beetle display; Landon has an odd attachment to beetles, and while he loved looking at all the varieties, he was quite concerned by their lack of movement- maybe they were sleeping?). It was also neat that so many of the fossils, gems, and wildlife had been found in Texas- it made them more personal somehow.

An armadillo that would turn your car into roadkill.

If you live in the area, I highly recommend stopping by. We capped off the big adventure with a snow cone- Landon's first, and I'm sure it landed way higher on his list of awesomeness than the poor giant pterosaur. But we'll be back.


  1. My husband is convinced our son will love dinosaurs. I like the bug obsession.

    Btw - did you see this article today

  2. My husband and I took my niece to the National Zoo when she was about Landon's age. She seemed unimpressed by all of the animals and showed the most excitement over the giant baboon who was eating POPCORN - OMG - POPCORN!

  3. Isn't it amazing how so many people graduate from UT not even knowing that museum exists on campus?! I never went since dinosaurs weren't really my thing, but my college roommate had a PR internship there for a summer so at least I knew that it was randomly nestled in with the art buildings and Bass Concert Hall. :) Glad yall had a great experience there!

  4. Kids are such a hoot - the things they find to amuse and entertain them.

    I remember when we were kids, some friends of my Mom lived in this house that had 3 or 4 stairs that went from the kitchen to the living room. My brother and I (or at least I) thought that was so cool ... stairs inside a house?! No, not the normal kind LOL I could amuse myself on those things all day. Go figure.