7 fun Austin things to do before school starts
1. Celebrate Austin’s weird and wild. See 15,000 rubber duckies floating down the river at Austin Duck Derby to benefit Austin Boys & Girls Clubs Foundation. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 5. Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge. austinduckderby.com
Maggie Barnett, 3, and her sister Brooke, 1, have fun with a giant duck on hand for the Austin Duck Derby in 2016. RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
2. Be blinded (not really) by science. Girlstart puts on Back to School STEM Saturday, 9:30 a.m.-noon Aug. 5. It’s free and you don’t have to be a girl to enjoy. Girlstart, 1400 W. Anderson Lane. girlstart.org.
Carver Museum offers its Super Science Saturdays. 1 p.m. Aug. 12. George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St. Texas Museum of Science & Technology tells you all about the sun (right before the eclipse) during Science Saturday, Noon-4 p.m. Aug. 19. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org The museum also hosts Star Parties every Friday at 9 p.m. and Wee-Searchers for children 5 and younger, 9 a.m. Aug. 9 and 23.
Hill Country Science Mill is opening its exhibit the Incredible Ball Machine. Step inside a large ball track that you can control with levers and pulleys. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 16. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org
Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas is teaming up with the Thinkery for Community Night Aug. 9.Bring your favorite stuffed animal and take him through different interactive stations. Free, but it’s first-come-first-served beginning at 4 p.m. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
At the library, make a pinhole projector during Solar Eclipse Afternoon, noon Aug. 21 at Howson Branch, tweens explore STEAM with LittleBits Theme Park, 3 p.m. Aug. 2, Spicewood Springs Branch.
If you love dinosaurs, you can see “Jurassic Park” and see fossils and other science materials from UT Dino Museum. 7 p.m. Aug. 19 and Aug. 26. $25 a car, plus admission for more than 2 people. Blue Starlight Mini Urban Drive-in. 12419 Lowden Lane. bluestarlitedrivein.com
3. Celebrate animals. The Austin Humane Society hosts events including story time, 2 p.m. Aug. 8, Humane Hero Hour with cats, 2 p.m. Aug. 1, the Austin Wildlife Rescue, 1 p.m. Aug. 5 and Teddy Bear Surgery, 1 p.m. Aug. 12. You have to register at austinhumanesociety.org. Humane Society, 124 W. Anderson Lane.
See all kinds of different animals at the Austin Pet Expo. It’s free and you can bringbring your pet. Palmer Event Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 20. austinpetexpo.com
Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble at Contemporary Austin’s Families Create program. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015
4. Make art. This month at the Thinkery, the Kitchen Lab and Space 8 lab are all about art. Make Suminagashi Fabrics 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 5-6, Aug. 19-20. $8. Learn Printmaking Galore 11:15 a.m., 1:15 a.m. or 3:15 a.m. Aug. 12-13, Aug. 26-27, $8. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org
At Mexic-Arte Museum, learn how to make cardboard relief prints like Ashley Mireles does during its free Family Day.Free. 1-4 p.m. Aug. 6. Mexic-Arte Museum, 419 Congress Ave.
The library also offers events for making art. This month, enjoy Crafternoon 3:30 p.m. Aug. 15 at Howson Branch; Family Craft Night, 6 p.m. Aug. 16 at Howson Branch; learn to sew at Sew Happy, 5 p.m. Aug. 1 at Manchaca Road Branch.
5. Enjoy theater. If you haven’t seen the Zilker Summer Musical yet, what are you waiting for? This year it’s “The Wizard of Oz” 8:15 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays through Aug. 12. Free, but donations welcome. Zilker Hillside Theatre, 2206 William Barton Drive. zilker.org.
Summer Stock Austin is bring a new musical based on “The Elves and the Shoemaker” from Allen Robertson and Damon Brown. “A Shoe Story: A Brand New Musical” shows 11 a.m. Aug. 3-4, Aug. 8; 10 a.m. July 29, Aug. 5, Aug. 11-12; 2 p.m. July 30. Tickets $17 and up. Summer Stock Austin also has one-day camps that include a performance Aug. 3, 4 and 8. $50. The Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. thelongcenter.org.
Austin Summer Musical for Children is presenting the “Jungle Book” 9:15 a.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m. 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 12, 19 and 26, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 13, 20 and 27. It’s free. Boyd Vance Theater at George Washington Carver Museum. 1165 Angelina St.
Literature Live! Presents: “The Fifolet” Louisiana pirate adventure, specifically for ages 8-12, 4 p.m. Aug. 1 at University Hills Branch; 6 p.m. Aug. 3 at Manchaca Road Branch; 3 p.m Aug. 4 at Little Walnut Creek Branch; 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at Faulk Central Library; 2 p.m. Aug. 7 at Windsor Park Branch; 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Recycled Reads Bookstore.
6. See a movie for free or very little. The Alamo Drafthouse continues its Kids Club. In August, see “Speed Racer.” 10 a.m. Aug. 1, Aug. 3, Lakeline; “Jumanji,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Lakeline, 10 a.m. Aug. 11, Village; “The Secret Life of Pets,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Mueller, 9:50 a.m. Aug. 4, 10 a.m. Aug. 5-10, Slaughter Lane, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Lakeline; “Song of the Sea,” 10 a.m. Aug. 1-3, Village, 10 a.m. Aug. 4-10, Mueller, 10 a.m. Aug. 11-17, Slaughter Lane; “Speed Racer,” 10 a.m. Aug. 11-Aug. 17, Mueller. The movies are for a $1-$3 donation. drafthouse.com. You also can see PBS Kids at the Alamo. “Ready Jet Go! The Moon and More,” 11 a.m. Aug. 20, Lakeline.
Head to Sunday School with the Austin Film Society’s children’s program. See the Lily Tomlin classic, “The Incredible Shrinking Woman, ” 1 p.m. July 30 and 6 p.m. Aug. 1; and Francois Truffaut’s tale of raucous children, “Small Change,” 11 a.m. Aug. 27 and 7 p.m. Aug. 30. $9. Austin Film Society Cinema, 6406 N. Interstate 35, Suite 3100. austinfilmsociety.org
At the Paramount Theatre, see “E.T.,” 1 p.m. Aug. 5; “Back to the Future,” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and 4:10 Aug. 6; and the original “The Parent Trap,” 1 p.m. Aug. 13; prices vary. Paramount Theater, 713 Congress Ave. austintheatre.org
Deep Eddy Splash Party Movie Night is showing “Moana,” 8 p.m. Aug. 5. Deep Eddy Pool. 401 Deep Eddy Ave. Pool admission applies.
And the library is a great place to see movies for free. In August, see “Beauty and the Beast” (2017), 2 p.m. Aug. 5 at Windsor Park Branch, 4 p.m. Aug. 16, Cepeda Branch; “Sing,” 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8 at Twin Oaks Branch; “Wizard of Oz.” 3:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Old Quarry Branch; “Secret Life of Pets,” 2 p.m. Aug. 10 at Old Quarry Branch.
Kyle Scarbrough makes the sound of a firefighter using a firehose as he and his son Alden, 3, and Maggie McCreery, 7, play on the fire truck in the Zilker Playground. (TAMIR KALIFA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
7. Go outside. We know it’s hot. We get that. Head out in the early morning or at dusk for the least heat-exhaustion inducing experience. Explore new-to-you pools or water parks, try out a new playground from our list of top 25, plus some other great ones; go dinosaur digging at the Austin Nature & Science Center; check out the Wildflower Center and its Sprouts preschool program, 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, and Nature Play Hour in the Family Garden, 11 a.m. Saturdays. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org