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Cedar Rock Railroad

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Cedar Rock Railroad

Laura Standefer, Senior Train Correspondent

March 4, 2019 

Cedar Rock Railroad provides north Austin suburbs with a mini zephyr of their own.

The first time I had even heard of Cedar Rock Railroad was when I was invited to go with my neighborhood moms group. I was surprised to hear there was another train themed place in the area. Like many toddlers, my baby brother went through a train phase when he was little and I probably enjoyed it as much as he did. We grew up in Austin and, to this day, one of my favorite memories was going downtown and riding the Zilker Zephyr with my family. I was excited to experience something similar with my son, closer to our home.

I was skimming through the Evite and noticed that Cedar Rock Railroad had a Leander address. At first, I was disappointed, and almost didn’t attend because…

“I have to confess. I usually turn down plans if it requires 30 minutes in the car with my kid.”

To my surprise, I learned that it actually isn’t far from Round Rock at all. Just a few miles north of Sam Bass Road, I could get there in less than 15 minutes! Therefore, I decided to join the other moms and I’m so glad I did.

Lots of stuff to point at on this train ride!

We took the 10-15 minute train ride around the park, and then the kids spent the rest of the time climbing on a wooden train and walking through Cedar Rock’s “Pflooterville” (think mini Wild West). Even if your little one is just now entering the crawling, walking, or climbing stages you could kill some serious time here. Plus if they’re under one, they’re free! Older kiddos (3+) can enjoy the Little Locomotive Chase ride on their own afterwards.

 

Since CRR is so close, affordable, and fun, it has quickly become one of my favorites. While the area isn’t huge, they have several picnic tables and a concession stand with several snacks and drinks to choose from. I highly recommend packing up your family and giving Cedar Rock Railroad a try. All aboard!

Click here for more information on Cedar Rock Railroad. 

 

Celebrating the New Year with Kids

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Celebrating the New Year with Kids

HappiFamli, Senior Time Correspondent

December 29, 2018

Remember the days when New Year’s meant fun parties, champagne toasts, and sleeping in until noon the next day? Yeah, neither do we.

If you’re like everyone at HappiFamli (except Steve in Accounting) New Year’s is no longer another night out, but rather a fun night in with our kids! I don’t know about you, but those are the very best nights. If you’re looking for some fun, festive New Year’s activities to do with your family this year, here are a few of our suggestions:

Make holiday crackers. If you’re a crafty, DIY type of famli, these are a fun way to ring in the New Year with your kids. This leads us to our second idea…

Netflix Countdown. Did you know that Netflix has an early countdown for kids? Using fun characters, these countdowns help make it so that everyone can count down and celebrate well before midnight, if desired. Make it fun with noisemakers and the crackers we linked above!

See a movie. Seeing a family movie on New Year’s Eve is a fun tradition that my parents and I started when I was young. Follow the movie with a kid-friendly dinner or ice skating to make it even more special.

Create a photo booth. Channel your inner party planner and create a fun photo booth for your kids! Use printable props, fun hats and scarves, and anything else you can think of.

Have a dance party. Crank up your favorite music and just dance with your kids. Add some bubbles to the mix and get crazy. They’ll love it.

Create a Resolutions Time Capsule. This is another fun family tradition. Have everyone sit down and write five resolutions on a piece of paper, then seal them away in a box. Put it on a high shelf and open it next New Year’s Eve, reading them together to see if your resolutions came true.

Play board games. Have a bunch of age appropriate options and grab some take-out for a fun night in.

Have a pajama party and make a fort! Gather some chairs, throw over a sheet, and play board games, watch movies on a tablet, color, or do anything else you can think of once inside.

What are your New Year’s plans, Austin parents? Are any of these activities on your list?

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

Our Top 20 Holiday Movies

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Our Top 20 Holiday Movies

Rebecca Cole, Cofounder, Mom

November 30, 2018

As the weather gets a bit cooler and the holiday season nears, I love nothing better than snuggling up with the kids to watch Holiday movies.

It’s high time for some Humble Bumble.

Over the years we have purchased several sets of movies and we love picking out one each day to watch and get us into the Holiday spirit.  Instead of having you waste time searching through Netflix or Amazon Prime, I’ve compiled a list (in no particular order) of our favorites (both old and new) to help you find movies the whole family will love.

Meet me in St Lois (1944)

Christmas in Connecticut (1945)

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)

Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964)

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965)

Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

Frosty the Snowman (1969)

A Christmas Carol (1971)

The Year Without a Santa Claus (1974)

A Christmas Story (1983)

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation (1989)

Home Alone (1990)

The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Santa Clause with Tim Allen  (1994)

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (1998)

Elf (2003)

Love, Actually (2003)

The Polar Express (2004)

Adventures at Garey Park

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Adventures at Garey Park

HappiFamli, Senior Playground Correspondent

July 31, 2018

Georgetown just unveiled their marvelous new attraction that is Garey Park. This place has it all so come enjoy a day of fun with your family.

Dear Moms,

Have you hit the wall yet?  You know, that mid-summer wall. Sure, at the beginning it’s all play-dates and vacations and fun educational outings. You’re thinking,

“Wow, look at me, keeping my children entertained without a screen in sight. I am a domestic goddess.”

The next thing you know, PBS is raising your children and while, yeah, they do a decent job, its not quite the stimulating tour de force you had in mind for your summer-o-fun. 

Lucky for you, Georgetown just unveiled their marvelous new attraction that is Garey Park. This place has it all. Amazing splash pad; check. Two large playscapes; you betcha! Zip lines; Three of them! Hike and bike trails; explore to your hearts content! Even the swings are impressive.

A visit to Garey Park can easily be made into an all day affair. With so much to do, you’re definitely going to want to stay awhile. Pack a lunch to eat at one of their many picnic tables located under the pavilion or spread out a blanket and enjoy your meal under the shade of the mighty oak tree. If you run out of drinking water, they’ve got you covered. Near the restrooms you’ll find a water fountain complete with a water bottle refill feature.  The restrooms are clean and well kept but be warned, they do not offer a baby changing station.

If your family enjoys fishing, you can drive on down to the pond, located near the former private residence of the Garey family and have yourself some catch and release fun.  The park is a work in progress and there is much more to come like group cabins, an equestrian center, and a 600 seat amphitheater.

Admission into the park for Georgetown residents is $5 per car for the first two guests, and $2 for each additional guest over the age of 3. Non-Georgetown residents will pay $10 per car for the first two guests, and $2 for each additional guest. If you don’t have cash, not to worry, they do accept credit cards.

Click Here for more information on Garey Park.

Austin Fun with Teens

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Austin Fun with Teens

HappiFamli, Senior Teen Correspondent

July 17, 2018

Austin is such a family-friendly city. There are endless ways to entertain kids of all ages here in town. We’ve rounded up a few ways you can enjoy Austin with your almost adult children- TEENS!

After a spending a day doing a few of these activities with your teenager, they’ll likely refer to you as a “cool mom” (or dad).

  • Our number one idea? Urban Adventure Quest! This interactive game takes you on a walking tour of Austin. Find clues on your smartphone and walk around searching for the answer. Working together to solve the clues = bonding time. Teens love smartphones. This is a total win-win.
  • We couldn’t make a list without including live music, seeing as we live in the “Live Music Capital of the World”. Teens love music and there are plenty of opportunities to see it together here. Blues On The Green, Unplugged At The Grove, even just music on the patio of Central Market. Live music is everywhere here in town.
  • Check out some funky Austin sites like the Cathedral of Junk or the HOPE Outdoor Gallery. The graffiti park will be moving soon, so check its Facebook page for updates on that.
  • Chill out at a local watering hole. Barton Springs is a no-brainer. It has the best people-watching and diving board. You could also make reservations to go see Hamilton Pool or Blue Hole in Wimberley for more of a road trip adventure.
  • Challenge them to a rock-climbing competition at the Austin Bouldering Project.
  • Treat yo’ self with some sweet treats at one of Austin’s local bakeries.
  • Take them to see a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse and share some fried pickles and a cookie shake. Free movies play all summer long in various Austin parks, schedule here. Or show them what a drive-in movie is like at the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In.
  • Try SUP’ing (stand up paddleboard) around Lady Bird Lake, or drive a little bit outside of Austin and take surfing lessons at NLand Surf Park.

Best Local Parks

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Best Local Parks

HappiFamli, Senior [BLANK] Correspondent

June 14, 2018 

Summer is a great time to explore the outdoors, and we are so lucky that beautiful parks are all around Austin. Almost every neighborhood has one! Here are some of our favorites.

  • Brentwood Neighborhood Park, 6710 Arroyo Seco, Austin. Pool, playgrounds, tennis, volleyball, and more!
  • Elizabeth Milburn Park, 1901 Sun Chase Blvd, Cedar Park. Giant park with playgrounds, pool, and BMX trails, so bring your bikes!
  • Katherine Fleischer Park, 2106 Klattenhoff Dr, Austin. The park with the cute little green play house.
  • Lake Pflugerville Park, 18216 Weiss Ln, Pflugerville. This park resembles a beach, so bring sand toys and towels and wear your swim suits!
  • Little Stacy Park, 1500 Alameda Dr, Austin. Bring a basketball! And maybe swim suits if you’d like to play in the wading pool.
  • Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin. Feed the ducks, stop by the Thinkery Children’s Museum, or go to the Farmer’s Market (Wednesdays & Sundays) after playing here!
  • Northwest District Park, 7000 Ardath St, Austin. Playgrounds, swimming pools, and more!
  • Patterson Neighborhood Park, 4200 Brookview Rd, Austin. Play and swim all day!
  • Play for All Abilities Park, 151 N A.W. Grimes Blvd, Round Rock. This newly expanded park is HUGE and even has a bike race track and mini-town. Bring bikes/ ride-on toys!
  • Ramsey Park, 4301 Rosedale Ave, Austin. The giant spider web park!
  • Shipe Neighborhood Park, 4400 Avenue G, Austin. Pool playground, tennis, basketball, etc…even a log cabin!
  • Springwoods Neighborhood Park, 9117 Anderson Mill Rd, Austin. One of the best parks of all time. Filled with shady trees, a sand volleyball court (aka sand pit for kiddos), ball fields, a walking trail, 2 playgrounds, tennis courts, covered pavilions, and more. This park has it all!
  • Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin. The heart of Austin. Swim at Barton Springs, canoe Lady Bird Lake, picnic at the playground, ride the Zilker Zephyr, walk along the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail,and play frisbee with your dog on the great lawn.

Parks with splash pads:

  • Bartholomew District Park, 5201 Berkman Dr, Austin. Three splash pads! And so much more.
  • Brushy Creek Lake Park, 3300 Brushy Creek Rd, Cedar Park. Giant splash pad area, lots of picnic tables and covered pavilions, playground, sand volleyball, and a lake! This parks sits along the Brushy Creek Trail, which is also fun to explore on bike or on foot.
  • Champion Park, 3830 Brushy Creek Rd, Cedar Park. Bring sand toys to this park and uncover dinosaur bones while you’re playing in the shade-covered sand pit!
  • Falcon Pointe Splash Park, 1813 Tranquility Ln, Pflugerville. Cutest little splash pad & playground!
  • Pease Park, 1100 Kingsbury St, Austin. Such a fun splash pad, plus a cool hike!
  • Quarry Splash Pad, 3005 County Road 175, Leander. Biggest splash pad in Austin! Water cannons! A slide! Get there early to snag a spot in the shade.
  • Ricky Guerrero Splash Pad, 1100 Brodie Street