Thinkery#19 in Best Things To Do in Austin
Thinkery offers activities that combine science, technology, engineering, arts and math, aimed at children up to age 11. Permanent exhibits at Thinkery range from Currents, which focuses on water, to the straightforwardly named Kitchen Lab and Light Lab. The museum also houses an enormous outdoor playground with water elements for kids to enjoy. Not to mention, an array of programs designed to facilitate date nights for parents or appeal to children with special needs occur regularly at Thinkery (additional fees apply).
Recent visitors appreciated its assortment of hands-on activities, which they claimed did an excellent job of keeping their children entertained. These past travelers also recommend bringing a change of clothes, as the museum’s water room all-but-guarantees to soak your children. Overall, the museum makes an excellent destination on a rainy (or exceptionally hot) day in Austin.
Thinkery sits about 4 miles northeast of downtown Austin, and travelers relying on public transit can take the No. 10 bus. The museum opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Baby Bloomers program (when the museum is only open for visitors ages 0 to 3 and their families) is on Monday from 9 a.m. to noon and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday and Saturday also have extended hours, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively. Finally, from 4 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday is Community Night at Thinkery, when the museum caters to underserved communities and doesn’t charge admission. Otherwise, general admission costs $12 and children younger than 23 months are free. Check out Thinkery’s website to learn more about its varied offerings.
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#1 State Capitol
Standing stoically in the heart of central Austin is Texas's legislative center, the State Capitol. Opened in 1888, this pink-granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Much of the capitol, including the 218-foot rotunda, the chamber of the Hall of Representatives and the governor's receiving room, still look the same as they did when the capitol opened.
The structure underwent a large-scale restoration starting in the 1980s, including replacing the zinc statue of the Goddess of Liberty that sits atop the dome with an aluminum one. The restoration also included a 667,000-square-foot underground extension that was completed in 1993 to accommodate how much the state government had grown. Many visitors say it's the most impressive state legislative building they've ever seen, but they also warn it can be crowded at times. If you want to learn a bit of Texas history without having to pay an entrance fee, you can't beat a visit to the capitol building, according to past travelers.
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