|It was the 50th anniversary this year! So cool|
|Attempted selfie... ya, not much luck. We tried.|
|There were people standing around to take help you take photos, but all the lights made photos turn out a little wonky colored.|
|They have Winnie the Pooh! Em was in love.|
|Best view around on top of daddy's shoulders|
|You know you're in Texas when... (Armadillos in sombreros with maracas)|
|HEB had a little booth giving out free books. Nothing my kid loves more than a book. They gave her a Thumbelina book that she didn't put down for a week.|
|Totally enthralled by this tiny town!|
|Another of her favorites - Where the Wild Things Are! This photo was so blurry, but I LOVE Em's face in it.|
|Love this sweet, sweet girl and making all these fun memories with her.|
- Pay for parking. It's worth it. If you want parking through Zilker, you must buy it in advance ($15) and it does sell out. We did not get Zilker parking, so we parked on the North side of the river, at Austin High. Parking was $10. It's a bit of a hike, but not a bad walk and we enjoyed it. In previous years we have parked clear down Mopac near the mall and walked (and I was 7 months pregnant). That was stupid. Never tried the shuttles, but haven't heard great things.
- Buy tickets online. As of this year, Mon. through Thurs. you can go for free, but the weekends are a small fee (I think it was $3 each for me and Hans and Em was free). We only had one night available to go and it was a Saturday, so we went for it. It was jam-packed. At some points it was hard to move! I heard from other friends who went on weekdays and they said the crowds were a lot more manageable. In any event! If you are going on the weekend, make sure to buy your ticket online ahead of time. It's just one less line you have to stand in.
- Don't bring a stroller. Seriously. As I mentioned above, it is SO crowded. A stroller is really hard to navigate with that many people. And then on top of that, when they are in the strollers, the kiddos can't see anything. So you end up carrying them anyway. There ended up being a bunch of parents pushing empty strollers and not looking where they were pushing because they were pre-occupied watching their toddlers (who they can't chase because they have a stroller!) We took our Ergo carrier and I was so glad we did. She was snug and happy for the hike from and back to the car, and then we just pulled her out for the walk through the trail. And we were un-encumbered to enjoy the walk with her.
- Go as early as possible. It takes a while to get through! It took us an hour and fifteen minutes and we didn't even stop and wait in line for Santa or the toy workshop or anything. If you didn't know, it's more than a mile long - so wear good walking shoes! Get there right as it opens to give yourself plenty of time (and be prepared for bedtime to be a little later than usual...). Also! There are several food trucks available. We ate dinner beforehand, but will probably enjoy the trailers next year. They smelled so yummy!
Bookmark this page now and plan to go next year - it's a great part of being in Austin for the holidays.