For many people, travel is the ultimate goal of life. These people work hard and save money where they can in order to visit lots of different places, both around the United States and internationally. Travel is very accessible nowadays, but the costs can still add up over time, especially if you really want to enjoy your trip, eating well and visiting lots of attractions, so it’s smart to try and save money wherever you can and one of the best ways to do so is choose the right accommodation. Staying in a hostel is a really great cost-cutting idea, allowing you to make the most of your trip while also enjoying a comfortable environment and exchanging ideas with other travelers. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
4.Drifter Jack's Hostel
3 Best Austin Hostels
- Overview, Photo: pikselstock/stock.adobe.com
- HI Austin, Photo: galinka_zhi/stock.adobe.com
- Firehouse Hostel, Photo: Pormezz/stock.adobe.com
- Drifter Jack's Hostel, Photo: WavebreakMediaMicro/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of jdross75 - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Zilker Botanical Garden
The Zilker Botanical Garden was created with the intent to interest people about gardening. Located in Austin, Texas, the Zilker Botanical Garden showcases the amount of love and education it takes to create and maintain a garden.
The history of the Zilker Botanical Garden begins with Colonel Andre, “Andy”, Zilker. Andy was born in 1858 and grew up in New Albany, Indiana. Andy wanted to travel to Texas, and initially began his trip when he was just shy of 18 years old. After working for various frontier caravans, Andy made it to Austin.
When Andy initially made it to Austin he only had fifty cents to his name and did not have a job lined up. He washed dishes in a small restaurant and slept in a storeroom that was close to his work. While working as a dish washer, Andy met a young engineer who worked at an ice plant. He began working as a plant fireman at the same ice plant for $1.25 per day. Within six weeks, Andy managed to advance to an engineer position, which led him to being the boss of the entire plant within three months.
Andy quickly became one of the most prominent businessmen in the city. After years of maintaining Barton Springs, Andy donated it to the City of Austin with the intent for it to be used as a facility to educate and engage children in 1918. Since then, Zilker Botanical Garden has continued to expand horticulturally, architecturally, and educationally.
The Zilker Botanical Garden is home to a variety of gardens that span across 26 acres of land. Over 300,000 people visit the Zilker Botanical Garden over the course of the year.
Green Garden demonstrates that you can grow a gorgeous garden while being environmentally conscious. The Green Garden recognizes that there is an increase demand for water and that various chemical impacts have made it difficult to maintain and stabilize our water supply. So, all of the flora and fauna within the Green Garden are adaptable to environments with less water. Also, many of the plants within this exhibit actively work to promote nutrients and an increased air quality.
Hartman Prehistoric Garden explores the notion that dinosaurs once roamed earth and the land that the Zilker Botanical Garden calls home. In 1992, paleontologists were exploring Zilker Botanical Garden when they discovered over 100 tracks from various dinosaurs. They also discovered fossils from an ancient turtle. Throughout the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, visitors can explore plants that mimic what someone would find in ancient times, as well as dinosaur sculptures.
Isamu Taniguchi Japanese Garden is one of Isamu Taniguchi’s most magnificent gardens. Taniguchi built this garden when he was 70 years old, and worked without a contract or any form of payment. There are many elements in this garden that resemble quintessential Japanese gardens, such as a word being spelled out by the different ponds, and various bridges and structures.
Mabel Davis Rose Garden displays a wide amount of roses that are spread across intricately detailed shrubs and structures. A highlighted area of this garden is the Rose Memorial Arch that honors members of the Garden Council and the Austin PARD who have passed away.
Doug Blachly Butterfly Trail and Garden is a trail with a variety of butterflies and compatible flora and fauna. This is one of the highlighted gardens in the Zilker Botanical Garden.
Pioneer Village resembles a small village of the older days. This attraction includes the:
- Organic Garden that includes traditional organic plants used for various reasons such as warding insects, and cooking by pioneers.
- Blacksmith Shop that serves as a museum for the various equipment and purposes for metal and blacksmiths from colonial times.
- Swedish Pioneer Cabin that is an authentic log cabin built by S. M. Swenson. Visitors can explore this dwelling.
The Zilker Botanical Garden is home to many educational opportunities that enables the entire community to learn about what it takes to create and maintain a garden. Educational programs include; specialized tours, field trips, a book lending programs, and docents. There are also workshops and special events hosted throughout the year at the gardens. The space can also be rented for private functions such as weddings or conferences.
Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78746, Phone: 512-477-8672
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Attraction Spotlight: Texas Memorial Museum
The Texas Memorial Museum, located on the University of Texas at Austin, TX campus, focuses on natural history. Exhibits include the fields of geology, paleontology, ichthyology, and biology. In 1936, politicians as well as other citizens realized there was no state museum in Texas during the state's Centennial Celebrations. This was first noticed, however, in the 1910's when institutions on the East Coast took collections out of the state due to its lack of facilities. James E. Pearce from the University of Texas at Austin and A. Garland Adair from the Texas American Legion worked together in the 1930's to create the first state museum in Texas. Their idea was that the museum would contribute the conservation of the state's historic treasures, as well as serve as an educational resource for Texas. The Texas Memorial Museum was originally a state museum, but was later given to the University of Texas at Austin.
The Texas Memorial Museum's Great Hall displays the most valuable specimens in the museum, many of which have the public has never seen before. The hall's highlight is the Texas Pterosaur, Quetzalcoatalus northropi, which was flying reptile unearthed by scientists from The University of Texas at Austin in West Texas. The reptile is the largest flying creature discovered, with a wingspan of forty feet. The Natural Wonders: Treasures of the Texas Memorial Museum exhibit is based directly on the research done by university scientists. Creature specimens are rotated out from collections several times throughout the year, allowing a broader diversity of specimens to be seen by the public.
The Hall of Texas Wildlife showcases the various animals found throughout the state through dioramas, as well as mounted specimens of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. The Fishes of Texas exhibit area features collected specimens, underwater photographs, and multimedia displays to help visitors learn more about the value and diversity of fish in Texas. Visitors can also learn about different insects and how flight has been influential in the success of Earth's most dominant group of animals in the museum's Winged Wonders exhibit area.
The museum's Hall of Geology and Paleontology showcases more than five hundred specimens of dinosaurs and other fossils. Included in the collection is the Onion Creek Mosasaur, an aquatic reptile of thirty feet in length that once existed during the Cretaceous Period in the seas of Texas. Visitors can learn about fossils found in the Austin area in the Discover Drawers area. However, the exhibit's main highlight is the Paleo Lab, at which interns and paleontologists answer questions from guests while preparing fossils for research, education, and display.
The Texas Memorial Museum's Hall of Biodiversity features an interactive learning center called Explore Evolution. Th exhibit includes interactive and multimedia displays that explain the recent contributions the understanding of biological evolution. Major discoveries and present-day scientific research by internationally-renowned scientist are also included in the exhibit.
2400 Trinity Street, Austin,Texas, Phone: 512-471-1604
Back to: Austin, TX
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Bat Bridge, Austin
During the summer, hundreds of people come to Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge every night. The reason is quite peculiar – they come here to observe a bat colony taking off from under the bridge towards the night sky. The show is really spectacular, considering that Austin’s bat colony is the largest urban colony of bats on the planet. It’s estimated that there are more than 1.5 million of them sleeping under the bridge during daytime.
At this point, you might wonder what makes the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas, so attractive place for these bats. Well, the story goes that when the bridge was reconstructed in 1980, its architects made a number of crevices beneath it. They had a whole different purpose in mind but ended up creating a perfect place for the bats to roost.
Just four years after its completion, a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats made this bridge they home. Of course, you won’t be surprised to hear that the new tenants caused a real panic among the citizens of Austin. Some of them even organized a petition to eradicate the colony, fearing that the bets might spread some diseases or start biting people like real vampires.
Luckily, there was the Bat Conservation International to protect the bets. Its founder, Merlin Tuttle, brought the organization to Texas in order to deal with the issue. The people from the BCI then started a vigorous campaign with the intention of educating the people from Austin about how benevolent these creatures actually are.
It’s needless to say that their efforts paid off. The bats are still living under the bridge, while the locals are getting a lot of money from the tourists that come to visit this attraction. In fact, about 100,000 tourists from all over the United States come during the summer months to watch the bats in action. Speaking of tourists, if you would like to see this attraction in person, we’re gonna now explain you how.
How to See Austin Bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge?
Each year in spring, a huge number of Mexican free-tailed bats migrate from Mexico to Texas. A big percentage of them are pregnant females, ready to give birth in a few months’ time. That’s why they’re in a need of a safe place to roost and for nearly two million of them, the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin seems like the perfect place.
The bat pups get born in the early days of summer, so their parents need to go out hunting insects every night. This is why each day at sunset you can observe them emerge from underneath the bridge and flying together in search for food. Usually, the time for the bat take off is between 6 and 7 PM.
It usually takes them about 45 minutes fully emerge from the crevices under the bridge. On top of that, they tend to stay in the air for several hours, during which you can watch them fly around. What this means that Austin bat observing can be an activity that takes your entire evening.
Best Viewing Sites
Probably the best spot for bat watching is the walkway on the east side of the bridge. Not only will you be able to see them taking off, but you’ll also have a good view of the bats as they’re flying towards the Lady Bird Lake, which is where they hunt the most. This means that they will move from the bridge towards the east, flying over Rainey Street Historic District.
What might be a problem with this location is that it tends to get too crowdy sometimes. Everyone knows that it’s the perfect place for watching the bets, which is why dozens of tourists line up on the walkway. If you think that the crowd will make you feel uncomfortable, you might consider going to the hillside just below the bridge.
This is a place where you can set up a picnic. Simply spread out a blanket and enjoy the attraction on the sky. The good news is that if you choose this location, the fun won’t last too long. You will get an amazing view of the bats taking off, but they will soon disappear behind the trees on their way to the lake. There’s another problem people have with this location – as the bats go flying right above your head, the chance is that you’re gonna get some bat poo all over you.
The View from the Water
Rather than watching the bat show from the bank, why not do it from the water? If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a kayak or a small boat. There are several businesses renting them on the shoreline right next to the bridge. Usually, the rate is not more than 10 or 20 dollars per one hour.
If, on the other hand, you prefer convenience, a better solution seems to be getting on a tour boat. There are several operators that have these kinds of tours in their offer. Capital Cruises is one of them. This company offers several different deals, the cheapest of which costs only 10 dollars for adults, while there are discounts for children and seniors.
Should You Be Afraid of the Bats?
The bats from Austin are not your enemies. They won’t attack you – their primary source of food is insects. And if you think that they might harm you by accident, you should know that all bats use echolocation or bio-sonar. What this means is that they use a sort of radar-like system in order to detect objects around them. In layman’s terms, this means that there’s no chance a bat would fly into you by accident.
By using bio-sonar, bats find it easy to locate their prey, which consists mostly of insects such as flies, beetles, and moths. As you can see, bats are actually helping the citizens of Austin to get rid of the annoying pests without having to use any kind of dangerous pesticide.
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