We’re well into summer, and if you’re looking for something different to do with the kids but the wallet hasn’t recovered from that Disney vacation you’re in luck.
This week Children’s Day Art Park returns to Symphony Square Amphitheater after a couple weeks off. It runs most Wednesday mornings in the summer from 9:30 to 11:30am. Each week there’s a different theme with unique performers on stage — everything from puppet shows, musicians, local artists and even a Teddy Bear picnic.
The gates open at 9:00am, and — get this — the cost is 50¢ per child, while adults get in free with paid child admission. I love that reversal. Let your kids treat you for once! The amount is just right. Fifty cents isn’t going to break the bank, but it’s enough for a child handing over two quarters from her piggy bank to appreciate the fact that she paid to see a live performance.
The atmosphere before the show is fun and festive. Volunteers hand out balloons, clowns entertain, symphony members interact with the crowd and everyone seems genuinely happy to be there. There are several major corporations that graciously sponsor the Children’s Day Art Park, but it still maintains an intimate, family friendly feel.
One highlight of the event is the Instrument Petting Zoo. Before the performance the children are encouraged to see, touch and even try out several different symphony instruments. What a great opportunity for kids to interact with Austin Symphony members and see firsthand how the instruments work!
After the show the crowd makes its way down a block to a large canopy tent for free face painting and arts and crafts.
If you’ve never been to Symphony Square it’s a really cool place. One thing to keep in mind — because of the crowd and the layout no strollers are permitted (stroller parking is available on the north side of Serrano’s). It’s also smart to bring water and sunscreen — even though it’s a morning activity it gets hot quickly. But it’s worth the drive and braving the heat for the chance to have an (almost) free, fun, educational experience.
There are four more chances to catch Children’s Day Art Park this summer:
July 9 – The Hey Lollies
July 16 – Darren Peterson’s Circus Chicken Dog
July 23 – Beto y Los Fairlanes
July 30 – Cowgirl Sue
Symphony Square – 1101 Red River St. (corner of 11th St. and Red River) (map)