With over 260,000 square miles, Texas is filled with opportunities to have fun. As Labor Day approaches, it's a great time to plan a day out for the family or even just the grown-ups. Here are some ideas to make this Labor Day terrific!
Families with Small Children
Spending the day with children means you need to take part in activities that are kid-friendly. Fortunately, the Lone Star State is chock full of options.
Cathedral of Junk (Austin)
Architect Vince Hannemann started building the Cathedral of Junk in 1988--and hasn't stopped adding to it since. Made up on scrap parts, pipes, old wheels, and more, the Cathedral has winding stair, altars, and a tower. Call to schedule a visit. It's free, but donations are appreciated!
Inner Space Cavern (Georgetown)
In 1963, a core drilling team from the Texas Highway Department discovered what would become Inner Space Cavern while testing the ground for a highway overpass. The site had been hidden for over 10,000 years. Tour the cavern and check out the mining area. Kids will love the playground.
Pioneer Farms (Austin)
Visit Pioneer Farms and tour two homestead cabins built in the 1880's. Learn how families lived in the late 19th century. Children have the opportunity to perform the same chores as Pioneer children in a log activity cabin (churning cream, carding wool, grinding grains, etc.). Rules and punishments for students and teachers hang in a replica Ohop Lutheran schoolhouse.
Junk food, entertainment, and shopping--who doesn’t love a good festival? Check out these festivals taking place over Labor Day weekend:
LEGO KidsFest (Austin)
LEGO builders won't want to miss this entertainment-packed event, coming to Austin for Labor Day weekend. In addition to construction zones and group building activities, LEGO Master Builders will be making appearances. Stop by concession stands for meals and snacks.
Bedford Blue & BBQ Festival (Dallas/Fort Worth)
The ultimate backyard festival includes a full lineup of entertainment and mouthwatering BBQ from the best cooks around the nation in a three-day cook-off battle. Musical artists include Buddy Guy and Ruthie Foster. Artisans from all over Texas will offer their arts, jewelry, pottery, and crafts for sale.
Head into a major Texan city and soak in a little culture. These city attractions are great options for Labor Day--or any weekend throughout the year.
The fourth largest city in Texas attracts over 22 million annual visitors. Five sports teams call the city home--including the Dallas Cowboys (NFL), Dallas Mavericks (NBA), Texas Rangers (MLB), Dallas Stars (NHL), and FC Dallas (MLS). What better place to hang out over a three-day weekend? Here are some awesome places to visit when in Dallas:
- JFK Museum
- Dealey Plaza
- Dallas World Aquarium
- Dallas Zoo
- Reunion Tower
- Dallas Museum of Art
Fort Worth is an exciting city filled with premier museums, a walkable downtown, and plenty of places to eat. Grab your 10-gallon hat and check out these highlights:
- Fort Worth Zoo
- Billy Bob's Texas
- National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame
- Fort Worth Botanical Gardens
San Antonio is second most populated city in Texas--and a hot spot of music, art, food, and entertainment. Some can't miss sights include:
- San Antonio Museum of Modern Art
- 12-mile Mission Trail
- Japanese Tea Garden
Not only is Austin the state capital, but it's also the home of the University of Texas and Formula 1's Circuit of the Americas raceway. Heading to Austin? Don't miss the following:
- Governor's Mansion
- Sixth Street
- Austin Nature and Science Center
- Zilker Botanical Gardens
- Amusement Parks
There is no shortage of amusement parks in Texas. If roller coasters are your thing, there are currently two Six Flags parks in the Lone Star State- one in San Antonio (Six Flags Fiesta Texas) and one in Arlington (Six Flags Over Texas). Grand Texas is planned to open in 2015, replacing the now closed Six Flags AstroWorld. Other great parks include Wonderland Park in Amarillo and Kemah Boardwalk on the Gulf Coast.
The Great Outdoors
People all over the country look forward to spending time outdoors during the Labor Day weekend, and Texans are no different. But remember it gets hot! Love horses? Why not go horseback riding? There are also tons of rodeos and livestock shows across the state. For a unique experience, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Somervell County offers tours of their sanctuary for endangered species. If you'd rather sit back and relax outdoors, check out Lake Texoma or the coastal beaches on South Padre Island or Galveston.
Throw a Labor Day Bash
Of course, you don't have to leave your own backyard to have a great Labor Day weekend. Throw a cookout, BBQ, or pool party and celebrate the end of summer with friends and family. For a party to remember, consider the following tips:
- Invites. Create a list of guests. Then send trendy invitations or simple email reminders to claim the date before someone else has the same idea.
- Theme. Pick a theme. Why not design a trendy white party; Red, White, and Blue celebration, Back to School Bash, or even a Hawaiian Luau!
- Menu. Plan a menu. No matter which theme you choose, this recipe will come in handy:
Apple Pie Lollipops
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 tbsps. cold butter, chopped
1 tbsp. white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup shortening, butter flavor
1/4 cup cold water
2 large apples, diced
1 stick butter, melted
2 tbsps. brown sugar
2 tbsps, white sugar
1 tbsp. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg white
*1 cup cinnamon sugar mix to sprinkle over the top after baking
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Whisk together all-purpose flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl, cutting in butter and shortening.
- Pour cold water into bowl and stir to form dough.
- Roll dough and cover. Put in refrigerator for one hour.
- Stir together diced apples, white sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in medium bowl. Set to the side.
- Flour counter and press out chilled dough to a 1/8-inch thickness.
- Cut out circles with small cookie cutter or jar lid.
- Lay circles on lined baking pan.
- Insert lollipop stick to the center of each circle.
- Place spoonful of apple mixture to center of each circle.
- Place a second dough circle over the top of each circle, slightly overlapping.
- Create a ribbed edge with a fork as you seal the apple pie lollipop.
- Brush each lollipop with a light coating of egg white and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Create four vent holes in top crust and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove and brush with butter.
- Decorations. Be creative as you decorate your yard. Hang lights, garland, or streamers. Don't forget to include plenty of seating areas. Red, white, and blue platters are an excellent way to add style.
- Entertainment. Rent a karaoke machine, show a back-to-school classic movie, or simply set up your iPod to play tunes through your speaker system. Consider a group trivia game with questions for guests of all ages, or a game of flashlight tag to bring back memories of summers gone by.
We hope you have a great Labor Day weekend! What are your plans?