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Saturday, August 9, 2008

We took a ride on the Zilker Park Zephyr

This past weekend Jan, the boys and I rode the Zilker Zephyr train in Zilker Park in central Austin TX. The boys love anything having to do with trains, so we braved the 100 degree plus heat and had an adventure.

Near the train ride is Barton Springs Pool, a natural spring-fed swimming area that has been a fixture and a legend in and around Austin for decades. Governors, singers, and local celebrities of all sorts have swum in the pool, as well as locals young and old. The water temperature is constant within a degree or two all year round, making the pool feel cool in summer and warm in whatever winters we have in Austin. It is also home to the Barton Springs salamander, an endangered species.

As we waited for the train, this group of young train enthusiasts chugged past us, playing train. It was fun to hear them as they passed. I thought it was interesting that the smallest guy was the "engine." Maybe it was just me...

We're ready to go! Where's the conductor?

As we rolled along the tracks, we caught glimpses of some folks participating in what makes Austin a great place to live. The boaters look like they're having fun, and in the middle photo the rope hanging just to the left of the boaters (might be hard to see unless you view the photo full size) is a "swinging rope" that swimmers use to swing into the lake. The Austin skyline shows in the background above the trees.

We caught up with two "frisbee guys" as we passed the open air amphitheatre in the park. They were expertly tossing the frisbee back and forth. They had a gallon jug of water to keep hydrated as they practiced. Good thing! the temperature was scorching.

The photo above is my favorite of the trip. The youngster was having the best time looking out of the train, and I couldn't resist taking the shot. Although he was breaking the rule about keeping body parts inside the train (so was I!), it didn't seem to do any harm.

The train route took us under a street bridge across Town Lake, now known as Lady Bird Lake. These geese were under the bridge, either staying cool or waiting for a handout from the passing train, I couldn't tell which.

The end of the line. We made the full circle and are back in the station area. What a great ride for the kids. As we got off the train, Sentry and Roland Thomas were already asking when we were going to come back and ride again. If I have any say-so, it will be soon! For more photos of the train and park, go to my Flickr page Zilker Park Zephyr and see more of the frisbee guys, and the great tree and playscape we passed under.

More later,
Mike Z

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