Family-Friendly Destination Via Plane: Austin, Texas


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Known as the live music capital of the world, Austin has more than 100 music venues, beautiful art and outdoor spaces. The Colorado River runs through downtown, but residents call it Lady Bird Lake.

Spend a day at Zilker Metropolitan Park, a 350-acre oasis beloved by locals and ideal for families. Take a ride on the Zilker Zephyr, an open-top miniature train for a 25-minute tour along Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake. Austin Nature and Science Center, also in the park, features exhibits of animals that have been injured or orphaned. Kids can go on an archeological dig by uncovering castings of actual dinosaur bones that have been found in Texas.

Before you leave the park, cool off at Barton Springs Pool, a 3-acre natural limestone pool fed by underground springs. All activities are wallet-friendly since many are free and others cost just a few dollars per person.

Head over to iFly Austin Indoor Skydiving to experience skydiving without a plane. A wind tunnel and powerful fans create a true free-fall effect during which participants are completely disconnected and don't even need a parachute. Participants from ages 3 to 103 have flown here.

Take another adrenaline-pumping adventure by flying across breathtaking canyons and Lake Travis on the longest and fastest zipline in Texas at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. After your high-flying ride, relax on the half-mile beach. Lounge in a hammock, play a game of horseshoes or cool off in the lake. Loaded picnic baskets are recommended.

End your day in Austin with a spectacular view of 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats that live beneath the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and take flight in a mass exodus each night at dusk. It's free, but courage is required. A trip to Texas isn't complete without good eats. Get your fill of live music and brisket at Stubb's Bar-B-Que's Gospel Brunch each Sunday. Curra's Grill on South Congress Street serves up delicious molé and margaritas downtown, as well as Tex-Mex items for the kids. And if you're looking for an authentic souvenir, shop for cowboy boots at Cavender's.

For more ideas, go to austintexas.org.

Airport 411: When you land at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, you will immediately realize this city knows how to set the tone for your visit with live music. As you make your way through the airport, you can catch a performances by local musicians at several locations, and there are some great local restaurants. It's a great way for kids to unwind after a flight or entertain them during delays.
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