I’m a list maker. Granted, after having kids, it becomes harder and harder to actually cross anything off any of my given lists, but when I do, it’s quite a feeling. That’s why I was intrigued by Catherine’s idea to come up with an Austin Bucket List for 2014. This wouldn’t be a list of all the things my kid needed to do before kindergarten, or all of the places to take your kids around the world before they grow up (yes, I own that book), but just a short list of things I want to get out and do this year. One or so per month. Set the bar low — isn’t that the hallmark of parenting?
Although the weather has been all kinds of crazy lately, the wildflowers have been spectacular this year. If I’m sitting in traffic on Mopac, at least I can enjoy the bluebonnets. As a native, there is something nostalgic about driving around town and marveling at these flowers which brighten our roadsides, yards and gardens. I even found a scanned slide of me in the bluebonnets, some 30 years ago!
When my kid was little, I’d do the annual search for the best patch to plop him down in for a photo. It didn’t take long for him to tire of the camera. For a while, he would make a face. Mostly, he would just avoid looking at the camera. Then, it was hard to get him to sit still. So, I kind of gave up on bluebonnet photos for the last….five years.
Then, a few weeks ago my husband sent me a photo of a gorgeous bluebonnet patch behind his office. Grandparents were in town visiting, so we met him at work on day and I was shocked when my not-so-little kid hopped into my lap for a photo. No, it wasn’t a full family photo, we weren’t coordinating in our outfits and I didn’t have any makeup on, but both of us were in a field of bluebonnets, so I count it. Yes, he picked a bluebonnet for the photo (oops!), but I think I was too busy smiling to notice.
Have you taken bluebonnet photos of your kids yet? Of course, the challenge is to find a spot that’s not too close to the roadside for prone-to-running-into-the-street children. Sarah Siller of Sarah Siller Photography posted 11 spots she’d found to take photos on Free Fun in Austin. I haven’t been to all of the places she suggests, but from what I’ve observed and heard, here are the places I’d try:
Brushy Creek Park – This was in Sarah’s list, but it also bears repeating that there is a field in between the parking lot and playgrounds and the lake which is full of flowers. Word has gotten out, so there are definitely lots of families taking advantage of this picturesque spot.
Balcones District Park – Thanks, Lynda!
Behind TXDOT property on 45th and Bull Creek – This is where I took my son’s photo when he was wee. At the back of the property, there is a parking lot and you can walk down a path where you’ll usually see neighbors walking dogs to see the bluebonnets.
Behind Indeed.com – This is where we took our photo, which is behind Indeed.com’s office at 7501 N. Capital of Texas Hwy. Go to the back of the parking lot at Indeed.com and walk up an incline to see a few hillsides covered with bluebonnets. Kids must be able to go across a cement path which slopes down on either side to reach the bluebonnets.
Near Steck and Shoal Creek – There are probably small patches of bluebonnets in every neighborhood, but one that I’ve driven by a few times is on the southbound side of Steck, just west of Shoal Creek Boulevard. There is a field, back from the road a bit and between Shoal Creek (the creek, not the street) and KVUE. I had thought it would be a great place to snap some photos and sure enough I noticed a few moms with babies doing just that the other day.
Lost Creek – There is a great hill to take photos off of 360, if you turn towards Valley View Elementary School. Thanks for the heads up, Kristin!
City School – Flowers start near the church buildings and go down to the street. Thanks for the tip, Skye!
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Also mentioned in Sarah’s list but worth repeating, the Wildflower Center has lots of bluebonnets. The nice part is that you don’t have to worry about your kid trampling on any because there are a few spots at the Center tailor made for kids posing next to bluebonnets.
Park Hills Baptist Church – You can park in their lot while you are snapping some pics.
McKinney Falls State Park – Although the visitor center, one trail and the walk-in campsites are still closed because of damage sustained during the Halloween floods, there are some beautiful wildflowers to be seen at the Park.
Do you have a favorite spot to take bluebonnet photos? What do you think of our Bucket Lists? Anything we’ve gotta add to them?