For R's birthday yesterday I planned and executed Richard's Birthday Adventure, otherwise known as Every 6-Year-Old's Dream Birthday. The schedule ran something like this:
First stop: The Zoo
Okay, so technically it wasn't a zoo, it was the Nature & Science Center, but it did have a compound of caged animals who'd been injured or kept as pets and couldn't be released back into nature. Lots of neat-o furry four-legged things, birds of prey, and reptiles. We ended up here sort of by default... the day's first suprise activity was unexpectedly closed, and the second one got rained out. We parked down by Town Lake just planning to take a walk along the river, but saw the ANSC sign and went in for a closer inspection. Major props to them for being open at 9:15 on a Saturday morning. We also saw some cute - if under-funded - hands-on exhibits on rocks and bugs. They have some cool nature trails that we might go back and check out in 6 months or so when the temperature dips below 90...
[Interlude: The House. Tickets to the Sufjan Stevens concerts went on sale this morning, and R wanted to go back home and buy us a couple before they sold out.]
Second Stop: The Museum
We went to the Austin Museum of Art and saw this exceedingly cool exhibit. (Some of our favorites were the sharpened-pencil-stub sculptures, and the network of NYC subway lines that an artist had painstakingly trimmed out of a paper map of Manhattan.)
Third Stop: Lunch
We went to Curra's, a Mexican place that came highly recommended but which we haven't yet been to. Pretty tasty, and the fact that our waitress forgot to give us chips and salsa was made up for by the fact that we unexpectedly bumped into our friend Jeff there, who we haven't seen since May. Their red corn tortillas were good.
Fourth Stop: Mini Golf
This was supposed to be our first stop, except they weren't open as early as they told me they would be. It was about 20 degrees hotter than if we'd gone early in the morning, but we braved the elements and golfed both the West Course and the East Course. We love Peter Pan Mini Golf; half the holes are incredibly lame and consist of aiming between halfheartedly-arranged cement blocks, and the other half involve shooting between the legs or into the mouth of giant, crudely-painted dinosaurs, pirates, whales, bunnies, and skulls. There's always tinny pop music blaring from hidden speakers, and the front desk is manned by teenagers who look like they'd rather be doing anything else than handing you golf clubs and serving sno-kones. In short, it's really everything a mini golf course should be. Four stars for Peter Pan.
Fifth Stop: Ice Skating
I accidentally stumbled across this ice skating rink at the Northcross mall while looking for a bathing suit last month... it's kind of the best malls I've ever been to: approximately 5 awful shops, a MASSIVE sporting-goods store, the aforementioned ice skating rink, the Zion Cultural Center & Synagogue, a 2-restaurant food court, and literally nothing else. (For details, see user reviews "I love Northcross Mall" and "One of the worst malls on [sic] the us".) We rented our skates and staggered out onto the ice for the first time in about 10 years. Much to my chagrin, Richard's years of power skating lessons quickly came back to him (he WAS a Canadian, after all) and he zipped around the ice like a regular Nancy Kerrigan, kindly pausing in between to do some laps with me hanging onto his hand for dear life. He also donated a lap to the little girl who stumbled over to us and asked, "Can one of y'all help me to skate?" Who could say no to that? So R and Gaby did one slow round while her parents, neither of whom could skate, shuffled along 10 yards behind, hanging onto the wall. (What kind of family goes to the ice skating rink when none of them can skate? It was insanely cute.)
Sixth stop: Ice Cream
On the way home, we rounded off our 6-year-old's day by going to Amy's for ice cream. Richard got Dark Chocolate with whipped cream on top. I got Amaretto with chopped fresh banana mixed in. Mmmmm Amy's.
Seventh stop: Home
Where we watched "Top Gun" with a giant bowl of popcorn, and found a birthday package mailed by R's parents waiting for us. His mom had included two pairs of panty hose for me (the right size this time, Cita, but "Control Top"... of course).
And now we get a day to recover and then back to work tomorrow. Um, isn't it time for another vacation?