Educational opportunities abound in Austin! Along with our friends at Alt Ed Austin, we’ve put together a new series that highlights some of the amazing DIY educational adventures to be found for families here. Join us this week as we Visit, Learn, and Do a fun activity at the Texas State Capitol building.
Free Fun In Austin continues to highlight Austin area locations and activities that may not be available at this time. We encourage you to take all safety measures to keep yourself and your neighbors safe. It is our hope that the stories and features on this site will help inform your plans in the future.
Visit: The Texas Capitol
The Texas Capitol is an iconic Austin building. It first opened to the public on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 1888. Both beautiful and functional, it is located on one of Austin’s highest points and anchors the northern and southern parts of downtown while offering sweeping views down Congress towards the Colorado River.
Visiting the Texas Capitol offers a chance to learn about Texas history and to watch Texas politics in action. Whether exploring the building, the annex, the Visitors Center, or admiring any of the 20 monuments located on the 22 acre grounds, the Texas Capitol offers a variety of learning opportunities for families in Austin.
Admission: Free to both the Capitol and the Capitol Visitors Center. Free 30 minute guided tours featuring the Capitol, Texas history, and the Texas Legislature are available Monday – Friday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; Saturday, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm; Sunday, Noon – 3:30 pm.
Parking: The Capitol Visitors Parking Garage at 1201 San Jacinto offers free parking for the first two hours.
Learn: The Lone Star State
Texas is known as the Lone Star State. The Lone Star is associated with the spirit of independence found in Texas. In 2004, at the official Texas quarter unveiling, Governor Rick Perry explained, “The Lone Star is one of the most identifiable symbols of Texas. . . . Its continued presence today reminds people that Texans are a different breed, set apart by their fierce individualism and their unyielding desire for freedom.”
While exploring the Capitol building and grounds, let’s look for the answers to these questions:
How many flags have flown over Texas?
What nations has Texas belonged to? (Hint: look at the floor of the rotunda to see the seals of each nation)
Which building is taller: the Texas Capitol or the National Capitol?
Why is the Capitol pink? What is it made of?
Do: Let’s Go on a Lone Star Search!
Since the star is such an important symbol to Texas, there are stars all over the capitol building and grounds. Let’s go on a star search and see how many stars we can find at the Capitol. Print a fun Lone Star Search page here.
The Capitol Visitors Center offers a number of educational resources for teachers and homeschool parents. Visit their Educators page to find a selection of lesson plans and information about student tours at the State Capitol and Capitol Visitors Center.
You may know that the state flower is the bluebonnet, but did you know that Texas also has an official state bread, epic poem, and snack? While learning about Texas history, make sure to check out these fun facts about the state of Texas provided by the Texas State Historical Association: Texas State Symbols.
Have fun exploring the Texas Capitol and learning about the Lone Star State!
This post was sponsored by Alt Ed Austin:
Since 2011, Teri Sperry of Alt Ed Austin has been helping families explore the many diverse schooling options that Austin has to offer. Because no one school or approach is right for every kid, Teri offers affordable private consultations and group workshops to guide you through the process of choosing a school where your unique child will truly thrive. Check out Alt Ed Austin’s free online resources and sign up for the monthly newsletter at AltEdAustin.com.