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Summer Fun in Downtown Austin | Kids at The Austonian
Summer is in full swing in Austin and the city's young downtown Austinites have a multitude of camps, workshops, learning opportunities and events within and just minutes away from downtown. The Austonian provides a convenient, central location for many activities available during the summer months.
The Zachary Scott Theatre – often referred to as "Zach Scott" – located just south of the river, one mile from The Austonian, offers children of almost any age a variety of camps and classes designed to build creative skills and refine acting techniques. Children three to five years old can sign up for a theatre class that brings favorite children's books to the stage. Themed half-day camps are open to kids age four to five and a range of themed full-day and week-long camps are available to kids from five to 18 years old. Themes run the gamut from Harry Potter to Footloose to a Middle Earth Adventure. Campers are introduced to acting, dancing and musical training. Zach Scott also offers a pre-professional program for kids interested in pursuing an acting career. More information about youth workshops at Zach Scott Theatre is available here.
Also south of the river just off of the Lady Bird Lake Trail, Zilker Park provides a number of entertaining and educational outlets for children. Residents of The Austonian can make an afternoon of the visit and travel by way of the Lady Bird Lake Trail, stepping off at the park. The beloved Zilker Zephyr train has delighted children for years, offering 25-minute rides that lead passengers through playscapes and tunnels, around Zilker Park and along Lady Bird Lake. Concessions are available for visitors and normally include sno-cones, popcorn and frozen yogurt. The nearby Austin Nature and Science Center gives kids a hands-on learning experience with exhibits and resources about local wildlife, prehistoric creatures and the Edwards Aquifer. Boats are also available to explore Lady Bird Lake at Zilker Boat Rentals. Canoes and kayaks are available to kids, adults and even four-legged friends, weather permitting.
The University of Texas at Austin is home to The Blanton Museum of Art, which hosts summer art activities and tours catering to children and families on Thursday and Friday mornings from June 7th to August 10th. A different hands-on arts workshop is offered to children eight years and older each week. Family tours invite children to explore the museum with a focus on children's stories (open to children ages four to seven) and mapping a unique adventure (for children eight and older). Space is limited, so early arrival is encouraged. The museum is located just over one mile north of The Austonian and provides a great opportunity to walk up Congress Avenue and explore the Texas State Capitol grounds. With free admission for children 12 and under, The Blanton offers an easy way to awaken a child's inner artist. More information about the museum's summer programs can be found here.
One mile northwest of The Austonian, residents can find a well-loved Austin landmark: BookPeople. Since 1970, the independent bookstore has provided Austinites with a local and knowledgeable literary resource and has hosted acclaimed writers, actors and political figures. Youth and teen events are held year-round and include author visits, book signings and storytelling for young readers. BookPeople also leads a summer reading program for children from kindergarten to eighth grade and hosts themed literary day camps for kids from nine to 14 years of age. Popular young adult books provide the themes for the summer camps and give a chance for children to immerse themselves in their favorite literary settings and plots.
There is no shortage of activity for children living or summering at The Austonian. The corner of Congress Avenue and 2nd Street provide a retreat from the heat and easy access to the camps, workshops and destinations close by. Exploring well-acquainted hobbies and activities as well as discovering new ones is available to Austonian residents, no matter how small.