Growing Up Weird: Kid-approved Austin activities for August

Parents: You are under no legal obligation to take your kids to Chuck E. Cheese.

The abundance of kid-friendly options makes Austin a great place to raise a family. Yet the transition from couple to caretaker makes it seem like most of Austin is off-limits. Not true.

Austin embraces creativity, culture and exploration. Everywhere you go, you find music, technology, outdoor activities and the arts. These experiences bring value to your kids and you.

Exploring Austin will give your kids a bigger world view. Festivals, music, shows and dozens of other events take place every month. These are wonderful opportunities for kids to experience our community and discover things that Nickelodeon can’t teach them.

There’s enough “Austin” in them for mom and dad to feel at home, and your kids will walk away with an appreciation for the world, and their hometown.

With all that said, here are some great August happenings that are uniquely Austin and entirely family-friendly.

Your kids won’t have second thoughts about attending anything with the words “ice cream” in it. The 6th Annual Ice Cream Festival features local ice cream shops sampling their creamy creations, and the admission fee benefits local charities.

While the activities, live music and ice cream itself is enough of a reason to come out, the event’s contests and competitions will enlighten your kids about their favorite cool treat.

For your child that loves to help out in the kitchen, they’ll get a kick out of watching the Homemade Ice Cream Making Contest. For crafty kids, enter them in the Popsicle Stick Sculpture contest. While brain freeze may not be something to encourage, they’ll get a kick watching the Ice Cream Eating Contest.

Chances are that your kids have spent too much time in front of a screen this summer. Let them see the magic of a live performance unfold before their eyes.

The Hillside Theater is alive with the Sound of Music on select weekends. Zilker Theater Productions performs the classic Rogers and Hammerstein musical at the Zilker Hillside Theater, located right across from the Barton Springs Pool.

With a thankfully ‘cool’ summer on our hands, these 8:30 p.m. performances are a great way to introduce your kids to Sister Maria and the von Trapps.

They’re cute, they're cuddly and they usurp our Facebook walls. Sadly, not every ‘kitteh’ gets the care and attention they need. Pet-friendly parents and kids can help Austin Pets Alive! care for cats at their Kittenfest fundraiser.

Held at Weirdo’s Bar in North Austin, this event has plenty of kid-friendly activities like live music, dunking booths and carnival games.

Austin Pets Alive! is always looking for donations to provide for their pets. Have your kids pick out something to donate and bring it to Kittenfest. It’s never too early to teach them how to help others, no matter how many legs they have.

Today, Austin parents are bypassing the drive-thru of old for our local Airstream trailers. Tasty trailer food is everywhere, but getting to try them can be difficult with toddlers in tow.

Thankfully, the Long Center is bringing some of Austin’s hottest trailers to one family-friendly event. Trailer Food Tuesday is a great chance to have dinner out with the kids in a community setting (and no ball pit or play-structure in sight). It gives kids a chance to sample different flavors and cuisine that you normally wouldn’t find on the kids’ menu.

Our lives don’t stop when we have kids. We have the same need to explore, learn and grow. The worst thing you can do is to confine your lives to kid-specific activities.

And, best of all, the greatest family experiences in Austin aren’t found in strip malls.

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