Category Archives: Things to do

It’s Springtime In Austin, Time To Visit The Turtle Pond

To finish up my blogging for this semester, I decided to spend a little time at one of the most unique places on the UT campus, the Tower Garden Memorial, more commonly known as “the turtle pond.”

I have been waiting all week for a nice sunny day to just sit back, observe, and do a little bit of people watching and today seemed like just the perfect day.

Photo by Epyon MX via Flickr Creative Commons

Whether they come here to read, picnic, nap in the sun, or “ooh!” and “ahh!” at the turtles, this pond and adjacent lawn are a favorite spot to visit for UT students and visitors–both adults and children alike.

This place is surprisingly quiet and provides a great location to just sit back and relax, especially during this time of the year. It’s a nice peaceful getaway located right in the heart of campus.

For a little bit of background on the pond, watch this short video.

And this one will help you get a better idea of the setting. Listen for the Tower bells!

Overall, it’s just a truly unique place to experience. If you haven’t already, stop by for a visit sometime and say hello to the turtles!

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Texas Spring Football Jamboree

The 2010 Texas Football Spring Jamboree may not be most people’s idea of a typical Easter celebration, but that is exactly how many dedicated Longhorn fans will be spending this upcoming Sunday.

While most are sitting back at home, relaxing with family after a more traditional Easter egg hunt, tens of thousands of burnt orange clad fans will be flocking to Darrell K Royal — Texas Memorial Stadium (no typo, “K” is the legendary coach’s entire middle name) to check out their beloved Texas Longhorns football team

Orange-White Game 2009. Photo by TexKap via Flickr Creative Commons

as they end spring practice with their annual Orange-White Game.

For many, this will be their first time to see the team since the loss to Alabama in the BCS National Championship on January 7.

“I haven’t been able to make any of the open practices, so I’m really looking forward to this,” said sophomore Shelby Clawson. “I’m curious to see the team and how the new quarterback has come along.”

That “new” quarterback would be Garrett Gilbert, the local Lake Travis High School product who fell short of a victory but performed admirably in the championship game after Colt McCoy got knocked out with a pinched nerve in his throwing shoulder.

After seeing Gilbert’s performance in that game, many are assured that the future is in good hands. Others are more curious to see how the coaches have addressed the issues on the offensive and defensive lines.

And oh yeah, the running game.

Wait, we have one of those?

All joking aside, don’t expect the coaches to reveal many new wrinkles or to do anything that might tip their hand to opposing coaches.

It will be mostly basic play calling, just with some different faces on the field.

In addition to the Orange-White game at 4 p.m., the annual Fan Fest will start at 1:30 p.m., with various activities outside and also in the Red McCombs Red Zone on the north end of the stadium.

The weather as of right now is sunny and 80 degrees, so bring your sunglasses. But knowing this Texas weather, you might want to bring your pancho along just in case.

For those of you who can’t make it, the game will be broadcast live on FSN Southwest and Fox College Sports Central.

Drink Coffee…Outside!

If you live or frequent west campus you’ve probably seen Good Bike Cafe, located at the Corner of 24th and San Gabriel, in the parking lot of Freewheeling Bicycles.

Photo by Drew Bean

It’s basically a trailer with a very friendly person inside, a canopy and some patio chairs. So, you can either get your coffee to go on your way to class or you can bring a book or companion and hang out a little while.

They offer a diverse menu including lattes, tea, hot chocolate, breakfast tacos from Cuatros, bagels, sandwiches and more.

Their most popular drink, however, is their cuban coffee, a shot of espresso with sweetened milk. It’s handy to carry and drink on the go since it comes in a smaller cup than normal espresso drinks, plus it’s absolutely delicious, although I must warn, a tad bit addicting as well.

Plus, in true Austin fashion, their products are almost all sourced locally and organically.

It is also important to note that their drinks run a bit cheaper than those of the ubiquitous Starbuckses around campus. My drink, a skinny vanilla latte, costs $3 at the Starbucks in the Union, and $2.50 at the Good Bike Cafe. Plus, you get a 25% discount if you arrive on a bike!

In order to learn more about the Good Bike Cafe I did a brief Q&A with owner and operator Robby Hanna.

Jordyn:Who started the Good Bike Cafe and why?

Photo by Drew Bean

Robby: Charlie Drozdyck had a vision of a coffee place with a funky kind of cool motif so he developed the idea of a coffee trailer. He made a relationship with the bike shop, Freewheeling Bicycles, had electricity installed, then got the place up and running last September. He later decided to move on to other things and sold the cafe to me.

Jordyn: What clientele does the Good Bike Cafe aim to reach?

Robby: People who love good beverages and great food

Jordyn: What makes the Good Bike Cafe special?

Robby: Well there are three things; the authentic quality of food and coffee, the quirky cool ambiance, including the music, and the genuine hospitality of the staff.

So if you haven’t yet, stop by some time and check the place out. They’re open every day except for Sunday, but Robby said the best time to stop by to relax and hang out outside is any time during the afternoon on a weekday.

P.S.- They now accept credit/debit cards!

The Secret Garden

With the temperature following a (rather finicky) rising trend, some Longhorns might want to spend a little more of their on-campus time outside.  The little-known courtyard of Goldsmith Hall is a great place if you’re interested in a serene, secluded spot in which to spend a few minutes and relax.

The entrance is just off the West Mall, between the West Mall Office Building and Goldsmith Hall.

Goldsmith Hall Courtyard from Stairs. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

After following the stairs leading down between the buildings, the entrance to the courtyard will be to your right.

"Veduggio Glimpse" by Anthony Caro. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

You’ll encounter a steel sculpture by Anthony Caro entitled “Veduggio Glimpse,” which is on long-term loan from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The piece is one of twenty-eight works from the Met as part of UT’s Landmarks project.

Goldsmith Courtyard Entrance. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just past the sculpture, you’ll walk through two wrought iron gates.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

There’s not much going on here.  In fact, there’s always several discarded objects lying around.

Small Pool in Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Just inside, there’s a small reflecting pool of sorts.

Pretty Plants. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Senior Mariel Davis says she likes to study, eat, and relax here.  “Most of the time there is nobody there, so it is a great place to enjoy yourself,” she said.

She “fell in love” with the spot when she accidentally found it after going to the post office to mail letters.

“It is the classic hidden, little, charming, perfect old place that you would see on a movie. It seems to be keeping a piece of history in its few branches and benches,” she said.

Opposite View of Courtyard. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

The flowers are gone now, but if you’re lucky, you might find the trees in bloom.  It’s stunning, truly.

Flowers on Tree. Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Personally, I find this area is a great place to study.  I’ve enjoyed reading plenty of books here since I found out about it my Freshman year when an English professor conducted a class here.

You probably walk by the West Mall all the time, so why not check it out sometime?  You won’t regret it.

Photo Credit: Yolande Yip

Forty Acres Fest

Due to the barrage of emails and event invitations on Facebook that I have been getting recently regarding Forty Acres Fest, I feel that it is a pretty good time to talk about the event.

While the annual festival is still almost three weeks away, with a busy second half of the spring semester about to be in full swing, April 10 will be here sooner than you think.

And you do not want to miss it.

If you are searching for your place at The University of Texas, feeling the urge to get a little bit more involved with one of many organizations on campus, or just looking for something free to do on a Saturday afternoon, then Forty Acres Fest is just for you.

Forty Acres Fest is an event for the entire Austin community, but is especially dependent on student participation.

Photo by Liz Wong via Creative Commons

Through booths and activities set up by various groups and organizations, the university encourages interaction among the members of UT and promotes the diversity of interests and depth that are present on the Forty Acres.

Over the years, the festival has become a university tradition, featuring food, fun, games, and of course, live music.

In fact, all of the buzz this year seems to be surrounding Girl Talk, who returns to Austin after putting on a crowd favorite show at the Austin City Limits Music Festival this past fall.

“I’ve seen all the concerts at Forty Acres Fest, and this is by far the one that I am most excited about,” said senior Andrew Trang. “He absolutely killed it at ACL.”

To say students are excited for this year’s concert is an understatement. However, the festival has seen plenty of big names perform, including The Roots, Ludacris, Common and Little Richard.

The concert will be taking place directly in front of the Tower on the Main Mall, while other activities and booths will be scattered throughout the South and West Malls as well.

Staying in Austin for Spring Break?

Maybe you have to work or maybe you just don’t want to spend the week in your hometown, and so you’ll be spending your week off here in Austin, Tx. Perhaps you’re wondering what you’re going to do during the week while all of your friends are back at home or at the beach.

Well fortunately for you, I’ve made a list of three easy, cheap, fun things for you to do! Of course you could always spend the week going to SXSW events, but that would make you just too cliche! 😉

Alice in Wonderland in 3D at the IMAX

Another perk of being a UT student is that there is an IMAX theater, at the Bob Bullock Museum,  within walking distance of campus. They play all sorts of movies, from historical films to nature films (think Planet Earth style) to normal contemporary movies. They also frequently showcase 3D films. The current 3D and contemporary film they’re showing is Alice in Wonderland, starring Johny Depp, and directed by Tim Burton.

Now IMAX movies tend to be a little more expensive than normal movies and 3D movies are usually a bit more expensive as well, but fortunately there is a student discount so tickets for students are $10. As a point of reference, I watched this movie  last weekend at Galaxy Highland Theater and adult tickets were $13 due to an extra charge for 3D and that wasn’t even an IMAX theater!

I would definitely recommend arriving at least half an hour early because last time I visited that theater the person I was meeting arrived just before the movie and we ended up sitting in the first row and having to turn our heads to try to see the whole screen during the movie!

Making Movies Exhibit at The Harry Ransom Center

For the next several months the Harry Ransom Center will feature an exhibition that explores and chronicles the movie-making process.

The exhibition will be split into two sections. The first will explain the roles of several different players in the movie process including directors, producers, screenwriters, art directors, costume designers, and actors. The second section will feature “original scripts of iconic scenes from about 10 motion pictures…alongside production materials for that scene.”

This event is available Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with extended Thursday hours until 7 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m

Kayaking at Zilker Park

Now that the weather is finally warming up it’s become perfect conditions for kayaking!

Jordyn demonstrating the fun of kayaing...although, admittedly not at Zilker Park

One of the best places to kayak in Austin is Zilker Park, since it’s centrally located and they have kayaks available for rent.

At $10 an hour it’s a fairly affordable activity and it doesn’t require a lot of effort or planning since they have the kayaks, paddles, and life jackets. One important reminder though, bring cash because they do NOT accept debit or credit cards!

So Few Calories, So Many Places to Burn Them

Photo:Jontunn

Nestled directly in the heart of one of the fittest cities in America, the University of Texas is in no way lacking in gym choices. According to UT RecSports, there are 12 different “workout locations.” While some of these are either very small or may be in the same general area (Gregory Gym, Gregory Gym Aquatic Complex), it is still pretty impressive and a bit overwhelming. I’ll break down and profile the major options and let you decide.

Photo:Gene

Gregory Gym/Pool: The biggest and probably most well-known gym on campus, this is also the most used. It can hold a large amount of people, and does every day. Among it’s features it boasts 7 basketball courts, a climbing wall. 10 racquetball and 2 Squash courts, a large weight room, steam and sauna rooms, and a 1/7 mile indoor track. It is located in the heart of campus and is open until 2 a.m. Sunday – Thursday and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Behind the gym is the aquatic complex, which feature 2 indoor pools, 3 heated outdoor pools, and a spa.

Rec Sports Center: Located right behind the stadium, this gym is slightly less-known and less-used than Gregory. It offers slightly smaller crowds but with slightly fewer options. It still has 3 basketball courts, 8 racquetball courts, 2 Squash courts, and a sizable weight room. For my first 2 years on campus, this was my gym of choice.

Belmont: Maybe it’s because it’s INSIDE the stadium and fulfills the dream of doing some physical activity inside Daryl K Royal Memorial Stadium, or maybe it’s because you never have to wait for a machine. Regardless of the reason, this hidden gem is the reason that I stopped working out in the Rec Sports Center.

Photo: Caribb

Anna Hiss: Known mostly for it’s dodge ball tournaments and to anyone who’s taken Ballroom Dancing, this small, hidden, wonder can easily elude you for 4 years. Built in 1931, it has a small basketball area and some exercise rooms (limited weights if any) to utilize. But the thing that caught my eye when researching was the archery range. Should’ve spent more time there!

Whitaker Fields: Where Intramural legends are born, this site contains 18 soccer or football fields (or 12 softball diamonds depending on season). It is equipped with lights and open until 10 p.m. M-F. The fields are also utilized heavily for Club team practice and games. It is a few miles from campus, but has plenty of parking and it’s own shuttle bus.

OTHERS:

Clark Field – Located just behind San Jacinto Residence Hall, this field is frequently used for pickup football games

Jamail Texas Swimming Center – Not DKR, but the swimming center houses Texas’ most feared and most successful program. Just might run into gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale here too.

Whitaker Tennis Courts – 40 lighted tennis courts located just behind Whitaker Fields.

Penick-Allison Tennis Center – 12 tournament quality competition courts and home to the UT Tennis teams.

Where do you like to do your excercising?