The indoor-fun wonderland offers a safe environment for your small fry to burn off excess foie-gras calories while socializing with their contemporaries. Children can climb cozily through well-cushioned tunnelways, traverse the netted maze of mystery, or bound their way down one of many sloped, wavy, and swirling slides. In the interest of supervision and safety, all of Jungle Java's equipment is built to accommodate simultaneous play between parents and their children. To further ease parental minds, all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected each day. In between familial play dates, adults can relax on a plush leather couch in the café, sipping on a freshly steamed latte or refueling with one of Jungle Java's healthy menu selections, such as wraps, yogurts, fruits, and more. Regardless of food preference or age, all guests must wear socks in the play areas.
Texas Jumping Beans launches earthbound kids into orbit from eight colorful inflatables housed in a 12,000-square-foot entertainment epicenter. Jumpers can come and go throughout the day to scramble across a pillowy caterpillar's rainbow frame like remorae over a shark. Sheath toes in socks before offspring scale a scarlet castle's knotted ropes or tiptoe through passageways that melt underfoot into steep slides. Blue, crimson, and yellow tones dominate a bouncy carousel stenciled with horses. Parents can surf the web on WiFi-enabled typewriters as pintsize patrons explore the bouncy terrain.
Glenn Johnson and Phoebe Craig Johnson form a powerful team at Switch Willo Stables. Phoebe, who was an alternate for the 1969 United States Equestrian Team, works from the ground. With hooves beating a drumroll on the turf, her husband Glenn draws upon experience accumulated over the course of more than four decades riding. During his career, Glenn leapt his horse Cricket over 7-foot puissance jumps in competitions, in an exhibition in Madison Square Garden, and on the glossy pages of Sports Illustrated.
Now, Switch Willo Stables welcomes riders of all ages and abilities into facilities that have earned recognition from readers of Austin Family magazine. Glenn and Phoebe lead a team of instructors, who have up to 25 years of experience each and have produced many award winners at the local, state, and national levels. Beginners, seasoned riders, and those planning to frame centaurs for crimes gain from lessons, which match an instructor with one–eight riders. The school follows the stylistic tenets of English riding with special focus on hunter and jumper techniques, which have their basis in traditional fox hunting.
Austin's Park regales youngsters and adultsters alike with 50,000 square feet of indoor attractions and 22 acres of outdoor entertainment. While inside the park, zap your friends with a rousing, hair-removing round of laser tag, scale simulated peaks on the rock-climbing wall, or prepare to call in sick due to incurable Nintendo thumb from the video arcade. Al fresco entertainment includes mini golf, bumper boats, go-karts, and oversize teacups designed to teach etiquette by spinning small ones to orbital-escape velocity. To stay energized between montages of merriment, you and your clan can carbo-load at the all-you-can-eat pasta, salad, and pizza buffet.
If not for a lawn mower, Jennifer Krou may never have discovered her love for horses. When Jennifer was 6, her grandmother surprised her with a ticket to the county fair. As it turned out, the ticket held the winning raffle number, and Jennifer's grandmother was forced to choose between the two grand prizes: a brand-new, state-of-the-art lawn mower … or a pony. She chose the pony, of course, and gave it to her granddaughter, sparking Jennifer's lifelong love for horses and freeing the mower to graze on an overgrown pasture.
Today, Jennifer passes that passion on to riders of all experience levels during private and semiprivate lessons. Students cover the full spectrum of horsemanship, learn to groom and tack a horse as well as how to handle the reins from the saddle. Fostering a safe and easygoing atmosphere, the instructors encourage pupils to learn both Western and English styles, giving them the freedom to ride on both the right and left sides of a trail.
Water trickles through a stone roof in the shape of a butterfly, flowing through a Roman-styled aqueduct to a cistern placed for harvesting rainwater. Thorn-crested agaves and evergreen succulents flourish beneath the eaves. The architecture of this rainwater harvesting system—itself a recreation of a South Texas mission garden—embodies the dual purpose of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: to preserve native plant life and promote environmental and conservation research.
Although North American native plants thrive in this region when left to their own devices, urban development, agribusiness and the introduction of invasive species have slashed their numbers, reducing wildlife habitats and disrupting the fragile ecosystem. Lady Bird Johnson founded the Wildflower Center in 1982 to preserve these native plants and natural landscapes. Native Texas wildflowers and shrubs fill its 23 public gardens and trails, which form a natural habitat for cochineal insects and red-eared slider turtles. The center's Land Restoration Program restores damaged landscapes, and the Native Plant Information Network retains an online database of more than 7,200 native species.