Driving between Austin and San Antonio we needed something to break up the day a little and chose to do a hike in the afternoon. Government Canyon looked interesting and the family was up for a small stop. For some reason no matter what our plan is hiking always takes us longer in Texas. This was no exception….
Government Canyon has over 40 miles of hiking trails according to their website, this place is huge! They offer camping and we would like to try staying there in the future. Camp sites are only $18. Over the Christmas holiday the park is open more days than the usual weekends. We hiked on a Tuesday and still encountered a dozen people over our trek. The cost to use the park is $6 an adult. Kids under 12 are free.
IF it has been raining the trails will be closed. I would not want to be stuck out hiking in a heavy rain event, you could visibly see where deep flooding has occurred. So please check the Facebook page before heading out. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Government-Canyon-State-Natural-Area-Texas-Parks-and-Wildlife/305329736542
We parked and paid at the nature center with ample bathrooms. Those are the only bathrooms we saw so I would recommend you use them before setting out on your hike. Going in I knew it was 3 miles one way to our destination. No big deal!
But this was much more hiking than walking. The trail is very uneven and rock covered in several areas. I was too busy looking at my footing to take many pictures.
There were cute little signs like IF you do not have water at this point turn back. And part mile markers either direction to remind you how far you really did not walk the last fifteen minutes.
The rattlesnake sign was at the almost halfway point.
Our family enjoys visiting zoos in other states, you never know what you are going to find. In Florida most zoos offer a water feature type playground. In the Midwest its the standard child’s petting farm that we see. In Austin the highlight was the animal feedings.
I purchased a Groupon for admission for two to the zoo and assumed we would pay for Daughter once we arrived. Someone had a Groupon for more than their party and it was shared with us. Very nice and appreciated!
Austin Zoo is a rescue zoo and many of the animal plaques tell you not only about the animal but where they were before coming to the Austin zoo. While it might not have all the normal zoo animals it offers a great variety! Lots of monkeys and less reptiles, works for me!
We visited on a Monday morning. The zoo was about half an hours drive from our hotel in Austin and its a very easy drive!
When we travel around Christmas I try to find holiday events to keep us in the Christmas spirit. This year we attended Austin’s Trail of Lights.
We purchased our tickets off Groupon for $3 a person a couple of weeks before our trip. Now there was no discount, it was the same price as buying them from the lights website but I did earn 4 Southwest points per dollar spent. So 48 Southwest points towards our next trip, it all adds up!
Traffic getting to the park was horrendous so the taxi dropped us off about two blocks out and we walked the rest of the way. We could see the lights as we approached. And also the horrendous line that stretched across the field to enter the lights. Oy!
Luckily the huge line moved fast as we only had to turn our vouchers to enter. Maybe we were in line for fifteen minutes max? I had chosen Sunday night to visit thinking the lines would be shorter but I must have been off in that reasoning!
The lights were amazing. It did not disappoint!
If you have followed us for a little bit you can see we like to try things off the beaten path. The same can be said for food! When I heard about Russian House I knew I could get the family to give it a try!
We arrived early in the evening Sunday because of the time difference and we did not have reservations. I really wanted to see if we could eat here! There were a couple of people at the bar when the hostess said she could seat us.
You walk through the bar into the dining room that looks very much like a Grand Mother’s house. There were two other tables filled when we arrived, it was much busier when we left!
The menu is pretty large and it takes a bit to choose because I had to read all the item descriptions!
Back when Club Carlson was ending the second night free option we settled on a few travel plans and dates. One of those was to visit Austin over our Christmas trip. We were able to book Sunday on points and stay free on Monday night with the card perk.
We found the hotel easily and checked in a little after 3pm on Sunday. The hotel was not especially busy during our Christmas time stay and we received a great upgrade to the 11th floor overlooking the Congress Ave bridge.
The gold member gift left in the room was some holiday chocolate candies that Daughter quickly sorted out equally between the three of us.
The rooms seemed to be recently refurbished. I liked the sleek headboards behind the two select comfort beds.
The bathroom has the blue marble that I have seen in several Radisson hotels. I love that color! The coffee maker and another mirror is located between the bathroom and the entry door. I like the coffee maker a bit away from the sleeping area so I do not hear it if Husband gets up earlier.
This is our view of the famous Congress Ave bridge where the bats fly out from at dusk. We did actually see several hundred bats leave one night at sunset even though it was December.
The pool is very interesting. We spent one evening down there relaxing in the warm water. There is no hot tub but lots of shallow area for kids to play. There is also a Starbucks in the lobby.
We had an excellent stay! Everyone was very friendly that we encountered on our stay. The rate is 44,000 points a night or $179 a night for a city side view room.
We took our annual Christmas vacation last week. I guess its annual now that we were discussing where we were going next year on Christmas night. This years destination was middle Texas. Husband wanted seafood and beach. I wanted BBQ and the kid is along for the trip.
We flew in Saturday afternoon to Austin. I had two night reserved in Austin starting Sunday that could not be adjusted since they were booked in April under the second night free policy. I really needed a place to sleep and did not want to use many points for it.
I used the hotel reward mapper site and found a Residence Inn in Round Rock that is only 15,000 points a night for a one bedroom. A little leg work on Tripadvisor showed me there was enough to do in the area for 24 hours before moving onto Austin.