Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hot Science - Cool Talks this Friday!

UT has a series called "Hot Science - Cool Talks", presented by the Environmental Science Institute (ESI). This nationally recognized Outreach Series provides a means for leading researchers from the University of Texas and other prominent universities to communicate their research to the public in general and the K-12 educational community in particular.


This month's talk is all about drones -- check it out!

Drones: Myths, Facts, Hacks, and The Future, with Dr. Todd Humphreys
Drones have been all over the media as well as our imaginations. What's real and what's possible for these remarkable flying machines? Todd Humphreys will consider the ways drones can be used in the future versus what is portrayed in the movies. He will also show us how his team was the first to successfully demonstrate that drones could be commandeered by GPS hacking.

UT Campus, Welch Hall (WEL) Auditorium 

Schedule: Friday, November 21, 2014

5:45-7:00 PM Interactive Fair

5:45-6:15 PM: Spanish Preview Presentation (Ciencias Calientes) 


7:00-8:15 PM Main Presentation

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Check out the Waller Creek Show tomorrow night!


There's an exciting "happening" occurring downtown this Thursday evening (11/13) at sunset between 5th & 7th Streets on Waller Creek:

"As the sun sets on Waller Creek, five site-specific light installations will be revealed. These installations, all created by Austin-based architects and landscape architects, will illuminate Waller Creek in new and exciting ways. See the designs, hear local music and learn more about the future of Waller Creek.  The mission of Creek Show is to surprise and delight the community while also creating awareness about the importance of Waller Creek's transformation for Austin's social, cultural and ecological future.

An outreach program of the Waller Creek Conservancy, Creek Show supports and celebrates outstanding design that in turn sparks conversation about the impending transformation of Waller Creek."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fun things to do in November

November may just be Austin's finest month, in my opinion.  The weather is just about as perfect as can be; a great month to get outside and try something new!

As always, if you know of anything not on the list, please email me at bloggeradmin@austintop50.com.    And a big thank you to Leah, who let me know about the Science under the Stars and ATX Laser!

● Fun Fun Fun Fest
November 7 - 9
In 2006, Fun Fun Fun Fest booked its first set of acts in downtown Austin and it didn't take long for it to become the darling of independent festivals for music lovers and music makers in the United States. Throughout the years, Fun Fun Fun Fest has become renowned for its musical lineup, as well as its collection of comedy, food, action sports, and poster art experiences.

Now in it's eighth year and recognized as one of the most relaxed, creative, and pioneering festivals in music today, Fun Fun Fun Fest is custom booked for the most passionate, underground, and progressive musicians, comedians and fans around the world.

● McKinney Roughs Sunset Float Trip
November 7 4-6:30 p.m
Wind down your day with a sunset float down the Colorado River, where you'll be surrounded by wildlife and vibrant vegetation along the river corridor. Take in the beauty of the sun setting on the Colorado and the cool comfort of the evening air as your raft is gently guided down a stretch of tranquil river. Participants must be able to swim. Preregistration is required.

● Wurstfest in New Braunfels
November 7 -16
A "unique annual celebration rich in German culture and full of Texas fun! Located near the headwaters of the beautiful Comal River in New Braunfels, Texas!

Here you’ll enjoy good food, music, dancing, exciting carnival rides and games, German, Texan and domestic beer, special events and the finest in Alpine and Bavarian Style Entertainment.

It all happens at Wurstfest! The best ten days in sausage history."

Admission: $10

● Enjoy some Paella at the 12th annual Paella Gathering
November 7 -16
 You just gotta love that there is an Austin-based group named Paella Lovers United.  I remember my first taste of paella, when I lived overseas.  Yum!!

Doors open at 1:00 PM. Competition starts around 2:00 and runs until … well, when we’re done.  During that time you will have opportunity to see and taste the many paellas being made by our competing teams and also enjoy a great selection of tapas (Spanish appetizers) while listening to and watching live Flamenco music and dance.

Tickets:  Adults: $45 Children: $17


● Check out "Jimmy" and meet the director

November 10th 

The Attic Film Festival invites you to attend its Soul Series film screening of "Jimmy" starring Ian Colletti (FOX’s Rake), Ted Levine (Monk) on
November 10th at the Alamo Drafthouse-Villiage cinema. 

Jimmy is a heartfelt drama based on the novel by Robert Whitlow. Jimmy Mitchell is a young man whose world is a place where a boy can be a man even if he is “special” Where angels hover, mostly unseen, Where danger can happen, and heart’s can falter-but love is never wasted.


The film begins at 7pm. Tickets are $8 online or $10 at the door and is followed by a special Q&A with Director Mark Frieburger -- how cool is that??

● Austin Veteran's Day Parade 

November 11 at 9:30pm
The annual Veterans Day Parade along Congress Avenue in Austin will be Nov. 11 

The parade starts at 9 a.m. at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and travels north to the State Capitol.  A memorial ceremony at the Capitol, beginning with a flyover by the Commemorative Air Force from San Marcos, begins at 11 a.m.

A wonderful chance to cheer on all those who have given their service to our country.  A truly wonderful event.  Don't forget to pack a flag or two to wave along.

"On Veteran's Day, put out your flags, cheer the marchers at parades and got to tributes. But when you wake up the next day, November 12, remember that it's still Veterans Day for our Veterans - and it will be every day of their lives.  So thank them.  Talk to them"  General Col L. Powell


● Dirty Dancing at Bass Concert Hall

DIRTY DANCING – THE CLASSIC STORY ON STAGE is a record-breaking live theatre sensation, exploding with heartpounding music, passionate romance and sensational dancing. London’s Sunday Express says, “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!” Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life.” You’ll have the time of your life!

● Science Under the Stars - Hunting slime! 

November 13 at 7:30pm
Do you know what diatoms are? Do you know where they live, how they live, what they do? Have you seen one? Have you seen one alive? Does it surprise you that I know that you have? Does it surprise you that your very breath depends on them?

Join Science Under the Stars this November and let yourself be convinced of the beauty, utility, diversity and mystery of diatoms by a slime hunter a.k.a. a diatomist.

Science Under the Stars is a free public outreach lecture series in Austin, Texas. Events start at 7:30pm outdoors at Brackenridge Field Laboratory, 2907 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, Texas 78703. 

Arrive early for refreshments and fun activities for kids of all ages! Guided tours of the field lab start at 7pm (wear sturdy shoes and bring water)!

● Austin Duck Derby

Saturday, November 15 at 10am
Seriously, what can be more fun than seeing 10,000 yellow rubber ducks lowered into Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake)?

How about knowing that your $5 purchase of a duck will benefit the Austin Boys and Girls club!

The Austin Duck Derby will feature 10,000 yellow adopted rubber ducks launched into the Lady Bird Lake which will race to the finish line winning prizes for their adopters. 

● Texas Outdoor Adventure Day at McKinney Roughs
Saturday, November 15 9 a.m-2 p.m.

Like the first explorers of Texas, travel down the Colorado River, navigate through the woods and climb to great heights. Meet at McKinney Roughs for a day of excitement and adventure with a focus on land and water stewardship. The day begins at the challenge course, where you will get vertical on the rock-climbing wall and zip line. Top it off with a splash –​ a raft trip down the Colorado River where getting wet is guaranteed. Bring a bag lunch. Preregistration is required.

● East Austin Studio Tour
November 15 - 16 and 22 - 23
EAST is a free, annual, self-guided art event occurring over two weekends in November, providing the public with an opportunity to meet the makers: the local artists and artisans who leave a lasting imprint on Austin’s vibrant, dynamic culture. Tour-goers are invited to discover new artistic talent, see working studios, learn about artists’ tools, techniques, and inspirations, and explore unique exhibition spaces and local businesses.

● ATX Laser:  Leonardo Art Science Evening
November 18, 7pm

ATX LASER (Austin- Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) is a salon series celebrating the intersection of art and science. Each bi-monthly session will explore a different theme within this wide scope, and will include engaging multimedia presentations, innovative speakers, and an inclusive discussion that encourages attendee participation.


Inspired by a noticeable trend of growing interest in the convergence of art, science and technology, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum (UMLAUF) in partnership with Leonardo/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences, and Technology will host its fourth ATX LASER (Austin –Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous) event November 18.



● Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving Day - November 27
9:30am

An awesome Austin tradition!  Join with a gaggle of other Austinites in this 5 mile run.  Nothing quite makes Thanksgiving dinner taste better than a nice run in the morning.

Whether you are a marathoner, or a mom with young children, this race is perfect for everyone.  Walk or run, it is always fun!  And that late start time (as compared a traditional start of 7am) makes this race perfect for first timers! 

● Elf: The Musical at the Long Center 
November 28 - 30

What a great way to kick off the holiday season -- by watching Elf: the Musical at the Long Center

ELF is the hilarious tale of Buddy, a young orphan child who mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported back to the North Pole. Unaware that he is actually human, Buddy’s enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. 

● Chuys  Christmas Parade
November 29 11am

Another awesome Austin tradition!  The Chuy's Children Giving to Children has always been a favorite in our family!  It is a great way to start off the Christmas season with your children thinking about giving a gift, instead of getting a gift.  It really puts the whole season in perspective.  The balloons and floats are really fun, but the highlight for my kids is being able to drop a gift onto the floats, knowing they will benefit a child in need!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Check out the Soul Series Film Screening: "Jimmy"


Seen Any Good Films Lately? On November 10th, grab a friend and head to the movies! 

The Attic Film Festival invites you to attend its Soul Series film screening of "Jimmy" starring Ian Colletti (FOX’s Rake), Ted Levine (Monk) on
November 10th at the Alamo Drafthouse-Villiage cinema. 

Jimmy is a heartfelt drama based on the novel by Robert Whitlow. Jimmy Mitchell is a young man whose world is a place where a boy can be a man even if he is “special” Where angels hover, mostly unseen, Where danger can happen, and heart’s can falter-but love is never wasted.

The film begins at 7pm. Tickets are $8 online or $10 at the door and is followed by a special Q&A with Director Mark Frieburger -- how cool is that??

To learn more about the selected films in this series and to purchase tickets visit http://atticfilmfest.org/  


Alamo Drafthouse - Village cinema 
2700 W Anderson ln
Austin, TX 78757


Monday, August 18, 2014

Austin Rock Gym


Looking for a fun way to beat the heat, try something new and get a little exercise?  Austin Rock Gym has two locations, one in North Austin and one in South Austin.


My youngest son was finishing up his Boy Scout climbing merit badge, so we all went along to enjoy the rock gym with him.  

For first time visitors, Austin Rock Gym offers a day pass for $15,  plus an additional $5 for shoes, if you want them.  This will get you (or your child) in for bouldering.  You can climb on the walls without any ropes or harnesses - up to the star painted on each wall.  My oldest son and I spent most of our time doing this and had a great time.

If you want to go higher, there has to be someone in the party 14 years or up who is belay certified.  If you are new to the gym, you can get your belay certification for $30.  This includes a day pass, rental shoes and a harness - so the actual cost of the certification is only an additional $10.  The staff will take around 30 minutes to teach you how to belay and then you are on your own to enjoy the gym.

The gym does ask that you call a couple of hours ahead to schedule the belay certification - so this requires a bit of pre-planning.  Though the gym did belay certify a couple of our teen boys without any pre-registration on the day we were there - they don't always have the staff if you don't call ahead.


Tips and Thoughts
* For parents, this is a more hands-on activity - as you will probably want to get belay certified.  If nothing else, you'll be actively watching your kiddos while they climb around. So where comfortable clothing and be prepared to join in the fun!

* There is a water fountain near the restrooms, but no additional drinks for sale, so bring along a drink if you want one!

*For scouts, the Rock Gym has a great program where they will teach the entire merit badge for $70 or just the climbing and knot portion for $35.  The class looked like a lot of fun!



Win four free passes to the Austin Zoo!

This contest has ended.  Congratulations to Tiana M.  this week's winner!

For the last and final week of the Austin Top 50: Summer of Giveaways, we will be giving away four free passes to the Austin Zoo.

This Austin gem has been a favorite for families since 1990.  And right now, you can check out the baby bears!

Enter Monday, August 18th through midnight on Thursday August 21st.


Contest Details


·       Giveaway ends August 21st at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.  Winner will be selected by random.org and be notified by email. Winner has 24 hours to respond with a mailing address before a new winner is selected. Please note that Austin Top 50 is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. Guest passes will be mailed to you directly and I cannot be responsible for undelivered mail.  I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.  The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.  By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone.  I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.  Must be 18 years old and a U.S. resident to enter. Austin Top 50 is not liable in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner.  Void where prohibited by law.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Win 4 one hour passes to Jumpstreet Indoor Trampoline Park!!

This week's contest has been completed.  Congratulations to Faith M, the winner of this week's contest!


Contest Details


·       Giveaway ends August 7th at 11:59 PM EST. Open to Residents of the US only.  Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes.  Winner will be selected by random.org and be notified by email. Winner has 24 hours to respond with a mailing address before a new winner is selected. Please note that Austin Top 50 is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes.  I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. Guest passes will be mailed to you directly and I cannot be responsible for undelivered mail.  I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you.  The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.  Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway.  By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone.  I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.  Must be 18 years old and a U.S. resident to enter. Austin Top 50 is not liable in the event that the prize or sweepstakes in some way negatively impacts the winner.  Void where prohibited by law.
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