Kiddie Acres offers a just-right amusement park for little ones

Carousel horse I  had driven past it at least a dozen times, always promising myself that I would stop “next time.” It looked so cute, like the little local amusement parks I remembered from when I was little. This week, on a cool autumn day I stopped driving past and finally pulled into the parking lot of Kiddie Acres.

kiddie airplane ride at Kiddie AcresAnd after a wonderful conversation with owner Joseph (Joe) Herring, I was glad I finally pulled in. Kiddie Acres was exactly what I thought it would be: a simple, old-fashioned amusement park that’s just the right size for toddlers, preschoolers and early elementary school kids.

Joe told me he had owned Kiddie Acres since 1979. It started out on Burrnett Road, but when Mopac construction came through in 1986, he moved the park to its current location.

kiddie train at Kiddie AcresJoe, who grew up in a family of seven kids, wanted to provide a place for kids to play outdoors and imagine they’re piloting a plane, sailing a boat or working as the engineer on a train. This little park is his way of keeping imagination alive in a world filled with television and video games.

The littlest guests come first at Kiddie Acres, too. When a couple of moms came in with their kids during our conversation, Joe excused himself to greet them with a smile and find out what the kids wanted to try first. It was clear this park is something he genuinely loves.

kiddie car ride at Kiddie AcresAfter the kids were busy on their first choice, he showed me each ride in the tiny park. When he got to the car ride, his sense of humor came through. “I call it the Mopac trainer,” he said. “You go round and round and never get anywhere!”

Boat ride at Kiddie Acres

Kiddie Acres isn’t fancy. There are a few paint chips here and there. But it’s spotlessly clean and clearly lovingly maintained. It’s inexpensive, too. A ride ticket is only $2.00, and you only need one for most rides (the train and the pony ride are more.) Compare that to the hundreds a day a major park will cost — not to mention the preschooler melt downs and that long drive home.

The covered picnic areas out back and the mini-golf course make it a good place for a birthday party, field trip or playgroup meeting. It’s small enough for moms (or dads) to stay close to one another while the kids enjoy the rides.

The Specs

4800 W Howard Lane
Austin, TX 78728-6304

(512) 255-4131

http://www.kiddieacres.com/

November – March
Tuesday – Friday – 12pm-6pm
Saturday – 12pm-7pm
Sunday – 12pm-6pm

 April – October
Tuesday – Friday – 10am-6pm
Saturday – 10am-7pm
Sunday – 12pm-6pm

Closed Mondays

(Read more about Kiddie Acres in this article from The Jewish Outlook)

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Kids parties, playgroups sparkle with Gorgeous Millie

2012-04-06 Georgeous Millie Austin Texas

As a mom of three, I’ve been to my share of kids’ play group and party venues. And they always seemed to come in two versions…decked out in enough Pepto-Bismal pink and Tidy-Bowl Blue to make any mom gag, or ablaze with crayon-bright,  reds, yellows and greens. Gorgeous Millie is all together different.

First of all, there is a wonderful lack of plastic in the decor. Walking into Gorgeous Millie’s is like stepping into a delightful mixture of a welcoming home, a vintage shop and Alice’s own wonderland.

The decor is kid and mom-pleasing red, black and white, with shelves of toys, a cozy reading area with shelves of books and an an amply-stocked dress-up area to inspire young imaginations.

Party tables occupy a cozy tented space with real table cloths and kid-sized versions of grown-up tableware. No tacky paper-plates with garish clowns for this venue — another big plus in my book!

Parties here fit all budgets, from a low cost option where the mom or dad provides the food and the Gorgeous Millie staff provides the wonderful setting and theme play, to an all out splurge where all the birthday family and friends have to do is show up and enjoy!

When Gorgeous Millie isn’t hosting parties for the pre-school to 12 year old set on weekends and off-hours, they offer Mommy & Me playgroups, complete with songs, crafts and creative play. It’s not daycare…each child must bring a parent or caregiver.  But with the onsite cameras, off-site moms and dads can check in on the fun when a babysitter or nanny is the one accompanying the little one.

I only wish my kids were still small enough to enroll them!  We would be there in a snap!