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  #21  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 6:50 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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Originally Posted by freerover View Post
The problem is Austin’s lack of Fortune 500 HQs. Those are the companies and rich dudes that invest millions in the arts and leisure buildings in other cities. Sattalietr offices who employ contractors don’t generate the same kind of giving. Basically, it’s not enough rich people who view austin as their primary residence and that aren’t already retired.
Generally speaking cultural amenities like great museums, zoos, or natural history facilities are endowed by very wealthy benefactors (and their charitable foundations) that may or may not include corporate entities. Sometimes it is relatively new money like Michael Dell or (up in Dallas) Ross Perot who step up with major funding. More often it is the second and third generation wealthy who form the backbone of most cultural institutions. Austin has produced massive wealth in the past 30 or so years, but most of the local major donors, aside from the Dell family and the Dellionaire Topfer family, are older money families. Other Texas cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston simply have more old money supporting major cultural amenities. Austin will come into its own sooner rather than later. A truly great large art museum is going to be a huge challenge. Hopefully there are local collectors who will bequeath significant art to the Blanton or the Austin museum, but acquisition of a first rate collection is probably never going to be affordable to a new or up and coming museum due to the insane cost of purchasing fine art in today's art market.

Last edited by austlar1; Jun 18, 2019 at 8:55 PM.
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  #22  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 7:12 PM
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I would love a planetarium and an aquarium. I'm less enthusiastic about art museums, but wouldn't mind more of them. Those are nice, but they really aren't something that families get a lot of use of since kids aren't really into them too much. Having something like an aquarium though would be amazing.
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  #23  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 7:16 PM
antny12 antny12 is offline
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Austin claims to be a family oriented metro however I somewhat disagree. We have no real aquarium (Scottsdale has an aquarium that makes ours even more pathetic then it seems), Waco has a zoo that is light years better then ours, we don’t have anything unique like butterfly gardens/theme parks and such. I can only hope that one day we start getting some real amenities that serve the entire community.
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  #24  
Old Posted Jun 18, 2019, 7:37 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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I think Austin is doing a pretty good job for such a young "Big City". We have the best parks and trails system in the state, especially in the center of the city. There are projects underway or planned to make our park system even more appealing. We have several first rate performing arts venues. The Blanton is nice and can probably emerge long-term as a first rate boutique art museum. The Ransom Center is world class and well known to an obscure but prestigious audience worldwide. The Texas History Museum is disappointing, but it could be a much more dynamic place with the right focus, leadership, and funding. I think Austin would benefit greatly from a first rate natural history facility that includes a planetarium and possibly an aquarium. I am fascinated by the success (and visitor satisfaction scores) of the WW2 Museum in New Orleans. There was no real reason for this museum to happen in New Orleans, but it did just the same. Not sure what Austin might come up with that might have a similar appeal, but now that we compete so directly with New Orleans and other cities for the tourist dollar, we might want to explore the development of some kind of niche category museum that will appeal to a broad general public.
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  #25  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 2:40 PM
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Just twenty five years ago the whole five county metro area had a population of 850,000 people; 25 years ago. Today 2,100,000 people. We were a place of come as your are at any function, the 15 minute rule of getting anywhere, brownish lawns come summer heat, with parts of Austin still having the sense of Old Austin with the Slacker Life being OK. We can always do better, however, we have done a lot right to create Interesting Places.

Requiring first floor retail was a huge step forward; just at the right time. Just imagine development with blank walls at street level. The city requirement has given life to streets that otherwise would have been blank walls in most cities. The space is expensive and we are loosing character, however we require private companies to put a public face on our public streets that would otherwise be private, internally functioning dead zones on the street.

The city also created the "Great Streets" Program which has improved walk ability DT. Trees are being planted, connections created and standard widths where non existed. 2nd Street as we know it did not exist. Congress is better and going to get a face lift. We now have bike paths on street. Interesting? This is helping with the most basic element; our streets.

The trail around Town Lake was at most ten feet wide and one crossed on the Lamar Street Bridge. Auditorium Shores has improved dramatically. Butler Park is a great addition that with time will get even better. We now have the Long Center for the Performing Arts and an Events Center. We now have The Blanton, the Texas State History Museum, Central Library that functions and a repurposed Seaholm Power. . Our Convention Center is huge compared to 25 years ago and looking to expand and create better street connection and pedestrian / city interaction than has been accomplished in the past.

My long point....It takes time. Our metro was the fastest growing American metro for over a decade. Our past leaders have done a great job otherwise we would not have most of the basics in place. As stated, more is needed, and other cities our size have more, but we are bursting at the seams young for our size. How cities got their "Interesting Places" in bygone eras and under different circumstances probably will not help us today. A single person or group with a clear vision and motivation might just pop up out of the blue and help accomplish something great. Us having a public wish list / need list might help. This thread helps with that Golden List.

Thanks for the topic.

Last edited by AusTex; Jun 20, 2019 at 3:26 PM.
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  #26  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 6:34 PM
zrx299 zrx299 is offline
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Generally speaking cultural amenities like great museums, zoos, or natural history facilities are endowed by very wealthy benefactors (and their charitable foundations) that may or may not include corporate entities. Sometimes it is relatively new money like Michael Dell or (up in Dallas) Ross Perot who step up with major funding. More often it is the second and third generation wealthy who form the backbone of most cultural institutions. Austin has produced massive wealth in the past 30 or so years, but most of the local major donors, aside from the Dell family and the Dellionaire Topfer family, are older money families. Other Texas cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston simply have more old money supporting major cultural amenities. Austin will come into its own sooner rather than later. A truly great large art museum is going to be a huge challenge. Hopefully there are local collectors who will bequeath significant art to the Blanton or the Austin museum, but acquisition of a first rate collection is probably never going to be affordable to a new or up and coming museum due to the insane cost of purchasing fine art in today's art market.
2nd and 3rd generation wealth heirs have a lot more time on their hands since they don't have to work, and can focus on other things. Seems logical that they would be the ones most likely to support such endeavors.
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  #27  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 9:20 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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I was at today's City Council meeting around noon or a little after. The entire Second St. area was thronged with a lunchtime crowd of office workers, visitors, and local high rise residents. I was just amazed at the transition. There was no one posting on this site more doubtful that the development of Second Street would ever be a street level success. Boy was I wrong! It felt like a real "Big City" neighborhood, bustling even on this miserably hot afternoon. I felt sorry for the poor dogs being walked on the hot concrete pavement, but that's another topic altogether. Oh, the City Hall garage was full, so I had to pay a mere $14 to park for 1 1/2 hours at the Violet Crown garage. I should have taken in a movie and gotten free parking!
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  #28  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 9:51 PM
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Originally Posted by austlar1 View Post
I was at today's City Council meeting around noon or a little after. The entire Second St. area was thronged with a lunchtime crowd of office workers, visitors, and local high rise residents. I was just amazed at the transition. There was no one posting on this site more doubtful that the development of Second Street would ever be a street level success. Boy was I wrong! It felt like a real "Big City" neighborhood, bustling even on this miserably hot afternoon. I felt sorry for the poor dogs being walked on the hot concrete pavement, but that's another topic altogether. Oh, the City Hall garage was full, so I had to pay a mere $14 to park for 1 1/2 hours at the Violet Crown garage. I should have taken in a movie and gotten free parking!
Fighting the new homeless shelter?
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  #29  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 10:25 PM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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Fighting the new homeless shelter?
No, I was part of a group advocating for an investigation into the recent high kill rates at Austin Animal Center of dogs who were euthanized (killed) even though qualified animal rescue organizations were prepared to place these "problem" dogs in other settings. Austin Animal Center is in a state of crisis and needs real oversight from the city council. Just today they revealed that four dogs have gone missing in the past month, presumably stolen by people who plan to use them as bait dogs for dog fighting. They were all pit mixes, and they just "disappeared" from their kennels. Guess staff there is too busy killing dogs and intimidating volunteers who complain to keep track of their inventory.
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  #30  
Old Posted Jun 20, 2019, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by antny12 View Post
Austin claims to be a family oriented metro however I somewhat disagree. We have no real aquarium (Scottsdale has an aquarium that makes ours even more pathetic then it seems), Waco has a zoo that is light years better then ours, we don’t have anything unique like butterfly gardens/theme parks and such. I can only hope that one day we start getting some real amenities that serve the entire community.
Based on your post, I took the trek up to Waco and agree 100% about the Zoo. Its really nice. Surprisingly nice. The aquariums, the reptile enclosures, the whole park although smaller than San Antonio, Dallas, and the Bronx Zoos, is really high quality. I loved the padded floors and A/C in the fish and reptile houses. If you haven't been there, its easily the best $10 you will spend. I can't think of anywhere in Austin something this nice could be built. The Dr. Pepper Museum is another story. Within the first 3 minutes there I came up with 1000 better ways to spend the $10 entry fee. They actually have a Kuerig coffee maker and some K-cups on display. Basically 3 floors of who gives a shit. Then they give you a coupon for a free cup of Dr. Pepper you have to walk across the street to redeem. Its a tiny cup with a few sips of soda in it, but the goal is to get you to buy something while you are visiting the gift shop. AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP!! My point is, my never ending hope for museums, aquariums, zoos and such for Austin has to be all in if we get anything or don't bother. After visiting the Waco Zoo, I will never go back to the Austin Zoo again.
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  #31  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 2:21 AM
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Originally Posted by the Genral View Post
Based on your post, I took the trek up to Waco and agree 100% about the Zoo. Its really nice. Surprisingly nice. The aquariums, the reptile enclosures, the whole park although smaller than San Antonio, Dallas, and the Bronx Zoos, is really high quality. I loved the padded floors and A/C in the fish and reptile houses. If you haven't been there, its easily the best $10 you will spend. I can't think of anywhere in Austin something this nice could be built. The Dr. Pepper Museum is another story. Within the first 3 minutes there I came up with 1000 better ways to spend the $10 entry fee. They actually have a Kuerig coffee maker and some K-cups on display. Basically 3 floors of who gives a shit. Then they give you a coupon for a free cup of Dr. Pepper you have to walk across the street to redeem. Its a tiny cup with a few sips of soda in it, but the goal is to get you to buy something while you are visiting the gift shop. AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP!! My point is, my never ending hope for museums, aquariums, zoos and such for Austin has to be all in if we get anything or don't bother. After visiting the Waco Zoo, I will never go back to the Austin Zoo again.
Yeah Cameron Park Zoo in Waco is simply amazing. Even though we live here, we still prefer that zoo over Austin "Zoo". When you 1st walk in, you hear the monkeys. My oldest daughter loves it there. Then all that bamboo they have & tall shade. It's a nice place.
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  #32  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 3:55 AM
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NYC2ATX NYC2ATX is offline
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Truthfully, part of Austin's allure to me now and always has been walking the streets as they move more into the domain of the pedestrian. Austin has been really strong in the entire time I've paid any attention to producing sidewalk environments as part of new development. Second Street was one of those places that always captured me, but so has the streetscapes in new ground up developments like the Domain or Mueller.

In addition, the mid-rise corridors along South Lamar and in East Austin for example, are remaking existing places into new, more exciting urban spaces. That for me always made up for whatever it lacked in cultural amenities, and if that's what future Austin resembles as development continues, it could really emerge as a highly walkable city among those in the south, and topping the list of places where those walks are pleasant and/or scenic.

Essentially, when I think of Austin building interesting places, my mind goes right to the "Great Streets" and stays there. It's making a fabulous town.
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  #33  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 4:27 AM
austlar1 austlar1 is offline
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Based on your post, I took the trek up to Waco and agree 100% about the Zoo. Its really nice. Surprisingly nice. The aquariums, the reptile enclosures, the whole park although smaller than San Antonio, Dallas, and the Bronx Zoos, is really high quality. I loved the padded floors and A/C in the fish and reptile houses. If you haven't been there, its easily the best $10 you will spend. I can't think of anywhere in Austin something this nice could be built. The Dr. Pepper Museum is another story. Within the first 3 minutes there I came up with 1000 better ways to spend the $10 entry fee. They actually have a Kuerig coffee maker and some K-cups on display. Basically 3 floors of who gives a shit. Then they give you a coupon for a free cup of Dr. Pepper you have to walk across the street to redeem. Its a tiny cup with a few sips of soda in it, but the goal is to get you to buy something while you are visiting the gift shop. AVOID THIS TOURIST TRAP!! My point is, my never ending hope for museums, aquariums, zoos and such for Austin has to be all in if we get anything or don't bother. After visiting the Waco Zoo, I will never go back to the Austin Zoo again.
Genral, If you like zoos, you should go to the Fort Worth Zoo. It is arguably the best in the state. Bass Family has really promoted fundraising and endowments for this zoo over the past 20 years. https://www.fortworthzoo.org/
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  #34  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 4:47 AM
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Genral, If you like zoos, you should go to the Fort Worth Zoo. It is arguably the best in the state. Bass Family has really promoted fundraising and endowments for this zoo over the past 20 years. https://www.fortworthzoo.org/
I do and I just put this in my bucket list. Thx!
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  #35  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 2:40 PM
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Assuming that it's still planned to be going in there, I suppose you could call the Goodnight on 6th St. an interesting place? At the very least, it has a bowling alley.

Not that I'd be a regular there, or at a place like Punch Bowl Social (also going in on 6th & Congress) or Spin (on 4th...I think), but I appreciate the fact that more and more places are getting built or going in to give downtown residents something to do other than drink...
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  #36  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 2:46 PM
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Assuming that it's still planned to be going in there, I suppose you could call the Goodnight on 6th St. an interesting place? At the very least, it has a bowling alley.

Not that I'd be a regular there, or at a place like Punch Bowl Social (also going in on 6th & Congress) or Spin (on 4th...I think), but I appreciate the fact that more and more places are getting built or going in to give downtown residents something to do other than drink...
I guess you could also count the new arcade / cider bar going into the old Joe's Crab Shack. It's kid friendly until 8pm and then stays open late. I had a great time at the one in Dallas.
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  #37  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 4:02 PM
ATXboom ATXboom is offline
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Truthfully, part of Austin's allure to me now and always has been walking the streets as they move more into the domain of the pedestrian. Austin has been really strong in the entire time I've paid any attention to producing sidewalk environments as part of new development. Second Street was one of those places that always captured me, but so has the streetscapes in new ground up developments like the Domain or Mueller.

In addition, the mid-rise corridors along South Lamar and in East Austin for example, are remaking existing places into new, more exciting urban spaces. That for me always made up for whatever it lacked in cultural amenities, and if that's what future Austin resembles as development continues, it could really emerge as a highly walkable city among those in the south, and topping the list of places where those walks are pleasant and/or scenic.

Essentially, when I think of Austin building interesting places, my mind goes right to the "Great Streets" and stays there. It's making a fabulous town.

This resonates with me. I wish the city would extend great streets more broadly throughout the city. Small nodes like E 11th, Manor, Northloop, south congress (further south), etc would all benefit greatly.
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  #38  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 5:10 PM
StoOgE StoOgE is offline
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Originally Posted by Geckos_Rule View Post
Assuming that it's still planned to be going in there, I suppose you could call the Goodnight on 6th St. an interesting place? At the very least, it has a bowling alley.

Not that I'd be a regular there, or at a place like Punch Bowl Social (also going in on 6th & Congress) or Spin (on 4th...I think), but I appreciate the fact that more and more places are getting built or going in to give downtown residents something to do other than drink...
The problem with most of these places is they are just bars with a gimmick and most of them are national chains. During the week the gimmick works. During a weekend when most people go out, the gimmick is ignored. The number of times I would go to Kung Fu Saloon to play games and drink and find all of the games being used as tables was through the roof. The further away from the entertainment district these sorts of places are the better the space gets used properly.

I've walked past Spin multiple times and have seen maybe one table playing ping pong.

I think that Pinballz is an interesting place because it is BYOB and focuses mostly on actually playing games.

I will say, Austin has lots of "cool" places to go. I think we all overlook how awesome something like Peter Pan's putt putt golf is.

I wish Yard Bar hadn't taken out the old Putt Putt on Burnett as it could have been a really nice "adult" putt putt golf spot. But I guess we have a dog park?
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  #39  
Old Posted Jun 21, 2019, 7:05 PM
zrx299 zrx299 is offline
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I wish Yard Bar hadn't taken out the old Putt Putt on Burnett as it could have been a really nice "adult" putt putt golf spot. But I guess we have a dog park?
Butler Pitch & Putt fills that void rather nicely.

But it would be nice if there were more adults-only type places. Not everyone wants to be around loud shrieking kids all the time.
Culinary Dropout at the Domain is a perfect example. It's always overrun by stroller moms and people that turn their kids loose and treat it like a Chuck E Cheese, instead of a fun bar with activities.
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  #40  
Old Posted Jun 23, 2019, 2:15 PM
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General, glad you enjoyed the zoo as we did. Wasn’t overcrowd, had just about everything i could think of but maybe a zebra, tons of shade, exhibits where well thought out, cheap, and everything there was great. A true gem. We felt the exact same way about the dr. Pepper museum. I think my wife and myself figured out that either this was really lame, or we just aren’t museum people. We also did the magnolia silos of course and ate at magnolia table. We will be back to the zoo no doubt as it’s light years better then whatever you call Austin’s zoo, and much better then the Dallas zoo. We have our Texas Stars hockey at the heb center, and when my son gets to 3 he’ll be slapping on skates as well.. just in time for the new sports complex in cedar parks opening potentially.

I hope the metro finds a way to not leave behind us families throughout the area... I was also blown away by Scottsdale’s aquarium if you’re ever Arizona it’s worth the look as well as their butterfly garden. We tried the Dallas Aquarium a few months back and while it’s located in a strip mall like the Austin aquarium is, it was still really disappointing. The sports complex in cedar park, the kalahari resort in round rock are a few that we are excited for as of right now.
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