Now that I'm a parent, my view of what constitutes "fun" has changed dramatically. When we went to Austin this past weekend, it was apparent to me that the things I used to do for entertainment there were not going to cut the mustard with my 7 year old. So much for hanging out at the Continental Club. Instead, we found three great, kid-friendly places that range in price from "free" to "spend whatever is in your wallet and then some."
Here are our picks for three fun things to do with kids in the Austin area:
1. Cabela's (Buda,free): Frank called Cabela's "the Red State REI". It's that and then some. Cabela's is a department store for outdoorsmen, with things ranging from RVs, deer blinds, rifles and camping equipment to fishing tackle, and every imaginable type of camo gear. It's the mega mall for folks who like to go out and catch their own food.
So, why is this good for kids? It also features a huge walk-through aquarium of fish found in local waters, including one humongous blue catfish that must be about 100 years old. It also has an amazing African taxidermy room that has stuffed wildlife from crocodiles to elephants to lions. A second room has wildlife from all over Texas, along with an animatronic fisherman to explain it all to you. The store has as much space devoted to exhibits as retail sales. Cabela's also has popular birthday party packages for kids that book up 9 months in advance.
Personally, I got a kick out of the huge "bulk ammo" section, thinking about how my California liberal friends would be having fits of apoplexy just thinking about it. I decided "When in Buda, do as the Buda-ists" and allowed Alex to practice in the laser shooting gallery, and even tried it myself. With that fake shotgun on my shoulder, I felt like Annie Oakley and decided that this shooting thing is actually is fun. Good thing I got out of there before I started campaigning for Ron Paul for President.