Plummeting into a hurricane’s eye. Tunneling through San Andreas’s interior. Zipping in and out of colliding galaxies. At Mayborn Science Theater, these sorts of adventures are par for the course. Here, wonders of the natural world beam onto a 60-foot digital screen that wraps around an entire 180-seat theater, creating immersive educational experiences. Screened during weekends and weekday matinees, science-minded shows focus on diverse, family-friendly topics such as stars and tropical reefs. Its laser light shows, on the other hand, eschew education for spectacle, dazzling audiences with 3D graphics and 15,000 watts of digital sound.
Outside the dome, Mayborn continues educating visitors at its gallery, Exhibit SPACE. Amidst rotating displays on subjects such as rocks and minerals, the Vice Space station showcases Hubble photographs and shares updates from the Mars rover. The exhibit’s recent acquisitions even include tiles from actual space shuttles, as well as tiles from actual Mahjong games played by astronauts sitting in NASA waiting rooms.
Vino 100 serves cheeses and imaginative pasta dishes in its cozy storefront, with live entertainment on Thursdays and Fridays. Start off a meal with a cheese plate, bedecked with one to four types of dairy ($9/one cheese, $20/four). Choose from brie, fontina, Brazos Valley–smoked gouda, and a Brazos Valley cheese of the month. Small plates such as the artichoke dip with crab and spinach ($12) or the goat cheese with raspberry-chipotle sauce ($6) whet appetites and fill bellies to half capacity. Send hunger packing with a stick and bindle by ordering a filling entree such as the truffle-oil mac 'n' cheese ($8), brimming with four italian cheeses, black-forest ham, egg noodles, and a dusting of smoked gruyere. Or try a savory shrimp-and-sausage cheesecake ($12), crowned with a crawfish rémoulade instead of traditional whipped cream and cookies. Polish off the meal with delectable dessert ($6 each), such as the s'mores panini, a combination of marshmallow fluff, graham crackers, and Nutella, encased in a ciabatta bun and grilled to gooey goodness. Stay alert by downing an affogato, a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream topped with espresso, ensuring you never again fall asleep during an all-cymbal band recital.
Third Base Sports Bar dishes out a menu of flavorful favorites in a relaxed, friendly setting. Limber up taste buds with an appetizer of crispy pickle chips ($7.25), or move straight to a main event of two tilapia tacos spicily topped with cilantro-jalapeño sauce ($7.99). Entrees such as the chicken-fried NY strip steak, smothered in chipotle-cream gravy and delicate fried tobacco onions, provide meaty fuel for over-the-fence catches and blindfolded Hail Mary passes ($10.99). Those who prefer to layer their bites like delicious sweater sets can delve into the Third Base burger, a half-pound pressed patty crowned with melted swiss, thick grilled onions, and homemade horseradish mustard betwixt a garlic sweet roll ($8.79).
The Penalty Box Sports Bar and Grill rewards rabid sports fans and their hungry companions with platefuls of familiar fried favorites alongside a nightly roster of festivities. Pre-game first pitches or State of the Union addresses with a basket of mild, hot, or raspberry chipotle wings ($10.79) and fried pickles ($5.29), before the main event: a half-pound all-beef burger ($6.99) with meat toppers such as avocado, bacon, and swiss cheese ($.50 each). Warm the bench with a crispy chicken-fried steak ($9.49) or a fried-shrimp basket ($8.49), both served up with Texas toast, a house salad, and fries. Monday-night munchers can storm the stage with a mouthful of potatoes on karaoke night, and Tuesday’s Texas hold 'em poker pleases card sharks and pathological liars. Live music on Saturday night and trivia on Wednesdays, plus weekly horseshoes contests and beer-pong tournaments, entertain during commercial breaks on the eatery’s sports-tuned flat-screen TVs.
Though big cities tend to offer a lot of activities for residents, the sheer volume of options can sometimes make it overwhelming to find something fitting. For residents of Austin, the Austin Clan of Everything Social (ACES) makes it easy to find a good time no matter your speed, with social leagues at watering holes and bowling alleys throughout town. On any given night, participants might gather to blow away their highest ping-pong score or grab a mic during a karaoke battle to show off their high note that only dogs can hear. Over the course of a season, members make new friends, bolstering the ACES community while battling for glory with their teammates.
White rice and bright slices of vegetables add a colorful counterpoint to the traditional dishes served at Yazmyne'z Restaurant and Mediterranean Cuisine. Delicately spiced pieces of kofta get wrapped in pita sandwiches and savory slices of gyros meat get scattered alongside pepperoni and vegetables atop crispy pizzas. Patrons can inhale sweet puffs of smoke from hookahs packed with specialty flavor combinations, such as peach and mint, melon and kiwi, or Earth, Wind, and Fire.