Whether you live in Austin, or are just visiting, do make time to visit the Texas State Capital buildings. It’s well worth the trip.
We have been to quite a few state capitals, and of course, the buildings in Washington, D.C. In fact, I used to work in the Utah State Capital building. So when I say that this is one of the most beautiful capitals, I have an excellent basis for comparison.
The view up into the dome alone is worth the visit. And make sure you head upstairs to see the House and Senate chambers, too. Not only is the architecture exceptional, but the murals and art work depicting Texas history are a great way to get to know just what went into the building of this state…er, um, Republic now known as Texas.
An online planning guide makes it easy to schedule your visit for days and times when its easy to see everything. And parking information is also online…most days parking is free and only a few blocks from the Capital. On-street metered parking is also an option on weekends.
I am a sucker for living history museums. It’s one thing to walk into a brand new building and see pictures of the “old days” and peer into glass cases filed with old tools and such. But to see the things in a action, in a realistic setting? Now THAT is something else entirely.
We found out about Pioneer Farms because of a Living Social offer, and decided to check it out.
When we pulled in the parking lot, we were initially disappointed…it looked tiny, and except for a couple of other cars in the lot, deserted. But we headed for the general store/ticket counter and showed our passes.
The helpful volunteer showed us a map that immediately changed our thoughts about the place…instead of just the handful of building we could see, there were acres and acres of historical buildings, including three early Texas homesteads…one typical of homesteaders waiting for their claim, one typical of a working German farm, and one from a wealthier landowner. There were also blacksmithing demos (and classes!), period crafts, farm animals, and costumed docent to explain the buildings, artifacts and lifestyle.
In the end, what seemed like a 10 or 15 minute walk around a few buildings turned into a wonderful half day learning about Texas history and settlers.
This is a great place to take kids or out-of-town visitors. Take your time wandering and absorbing the quiet of an earlier time when the ring of cell phones or the drone of the TV was mercifully unheard of.
Picnics are allowed, but pets are not. Check their website for special events, craft demos and classes.