Category Archives: The Great Outdoors

Texas Road Trips

Texas Beach (Corey Leopold CC 2.0)

Summer is just around the corner for most Austinites.  Many of us can’t wait to put on our swimsuit, take off of work, and get ready for a fabulous vacation.  Well this year some might not be able to afford a trip to a Florida beach or a Caribbean cruise.  Very often Texans overlook the great number of things we have to do in our own lone star state.  After all Texas is huge.  Rhode Island would fit into Texas over 212 times, so we must have something worth seeing here!

I have created a list of some of my favorite sites to see around Texas.  Find a good map and some good company and set out for a road trip across the state.  The drive in itself can be fun.

  • You don’t have to miss out on the beach vacation!  Texas beaches have a great coastal vibe and many places to stay.  Some of the most common destinations for Texas beachgoers are Galveston and Padre Island.  My personal favorite Texas beach is in Port Aransas.  It has a small town feel with a great beach.  My favorite resort in the area is the Port Royal. It has great beach access and three fabulous pools.
  • Big Bend National Park is a historic place to take your family this summer.  With the beautiful views and serene landscapes you can experience nature close to home.  The park borders both the US and Mexico so you can get a taste of both cultures in one trip.  More information on visiting Big Bend can be found here.  The Texas ghost town of Terlingua is a fun stop while you are in the area as well. Continue reading

Disc Golf…more free exercise!

Ok, I know the previous post discusses something similar to disc golf, but the two are different!  And they are both cheap ways to have fun while getting fit.  Therefore, it is important to highlight them both!

So what exactly is disc golf?

“Disc golf is a disc game in which individual players throw a flying disc into a basket or at a target.”

And, according to the Professional Disc Golf Association:

“The object of the game is to traverse a course from beginning to end in the fewest number of throws of the disc.”

The discs are super cheap (about $7) and if you just head over to Pease District Park (24th and Lamar area) you can play for free! That’s right!  I could not believe it either!  You get to play 18 holes of disc golf for absolutely nothing.  What an excellent way to spend these beautiful spring days with friends!

Post by Kristin White

Ultimate Frisbee

Step 1: Get  a Frisbee. Step 2: Play with Frisbee.

So from watching the boys in the courtyard play Ultimate every week, it has kinda made me realize all the different aspects of it. It isn’t just throwing a Frisbee, hoping someone on your team will catch it. There is a lot skill involved. The best part about it, is that it is a cheap way to have a good time with friends. Besides the courtyard in the Honors residence halls, I have seen people play on Main Mall/South Mall. There is even Intramural Ultimate Frisbee.

Here is  a look at what goes on in the courtyard, every Thursday night!

by Meera Rajagopalan

Horse Racing

How many of you have seen horse racing before?  It is not well known that you can catch a horse race in the Austin area.  Outside of the city limits in Manor, Texas there are races every Saturday and Sunday.  But hurry their racing season only runs until April 26th so there is just one weekend left.

The admission for these weekly races is also amazingly reasonable.  It costs just $2.00 for general admission.  Just $1.00 if you are a student or a senior citizen.  You can’t get much for just one dollar anymore!

The stadium opens at noon on the weekends.  Located just 10 miles east of Austin, it is an easy trip for a day full of fun.  The City of Manor is also an area of Central Texas that many people have not explored.  So instead of heading out to the Kentucky Derby in May take a drive to Manor for some local Texas horse racing.  The beauty of Central Texas makes the drive great on a sunny afternoon.

And although making bets is a frequent event at the horse track avoid betting money to save your cash.  Instead try making wagers among your friends.

Post by Sarah Lacy

Extreme Sports!-For Free

Come experience the excitement of extreme sports for free, in front of the UT Tower. No pre-registration or tickets are required.

The event includes: Four-Way Bungee

  • a four-way euro bungee- Four participants at a time get strapped into harnesses then jump up and down on the trampolines. Hydraulic motors attached to the bungee cords enable the participants to jump very high and do flips. Euro Bungee is popular with children and teen parties, carnivals and company picnics
  • 75-foot-long zip-line- According to Wikipedia,  a zip-line consists of a pulley suspended on a cable, mounted on an incline. They are designed to enable a user propelled by gravity to traverse from the top to the bottom of the inclined cable.
  • mechanical bull- a must-have at any Texas sized event. 
  • obstacle course
  •  pedestal joust, 
  • and other fun activities. 

  Time: 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Location: UT Main Mall (area in front of the Tower facing the Capitol)

For More information

Here is a taste of what the world fastest zip-line looks like

Seems like a great way to get your pre-week stress out of the way.

posted by Meera Rajagopalan

Bat Watching

Photo by pencrush, CC 2.0 Attribution

Photo by pencrush, CC 2.0 Attribution

One great way to spend a free evening in Austin during the summer months is bat watching.  We are lucky to have such a great natural phenomenon right in the middle of our town.  Thousands of bats emerge in the evening to hunt creating a beautiful wave against the sky.

You can pick a variety of ways to watch these bats.  But the best and cheapest is to simply park your car in the downtown area and take a stroll over to the Congress Avenue Bridge. Click here for a map.

On beautiful nights there can be up to 1,000 visitors observing the bats emerge from their home under the bridge.  It is an amazing sight to see that should not be missed by any Austinite.  Take advantage of this great nightly event.

You can catch the bats on any warm night but they are best observed in August and September when the new baby bats begin to fly.  Most emerge from the east side of the bridge so look there for the best view.

Word of warning: Don’t do a flickr or google image search for a bat.  You will be too scared to go see the Congress Avenue bats!

Post by Sarah Lacy



Austin Animal Shelter, courtesy of Austin Animal Shelter

Austin Animal Shelter, courtesy of Austin Animal Shelter

Everyone likes to feel loved, and the animals at the Austin Animal Shelter are no different. The shelter has many animals that are available for adoption, and the price tag is not that bad, considering what you get for it. 

Steps to adopting a pet:

  1. Come to the shelter during business hours
  2. Fill out a double-sided application form
  3. Meet with an Adoption Counselor to discuss your plans and expectations, review and sign our Pet Care Agreement, and have your application approved. You’ll need to provide:
    • A legal photo ID
    • Proof of home ownership or landlord contact information
    • Proof that any pets at home have a current rabies vaccination
  4. Spend time getting to know some of our homeless pets.
  5. Work with an Adoption Counselor to make sure your chosen pet is a good match for your lifestyle and preferences.
  6. Arrange for spay or neuter surgery and pick up.
  7. Pay for your new pet and take him or her safely home!


The fee to adopt your pet is $75, which is a little steep for the average college students budget, but this $75 includes:

    • Spay or neuter surgery if the animal is healthy and over 3 lbs.
    • All vaccinations the animal is old enough to receive, including a 1-year rabies vaccine
  • A HomeAgain microchip
  • A one-year Austin Pet Registration
  • An adjustable nylon collar

If you don’t want to adopt a pet, you can volunteer with the shelter and enjoy spending time with the animals. 

Regular volunteers are expected

  • provide a minimum number of hours of service each month. 
  • required to attend an Orientation at the shelter
  •  training sessions to prepare them to do their specific job.
Austin Animal Shelter, courtesy of Austin Animal Shelter

Austin Animal Shelter, courtesy of Austin Animal Shelter

For more information: