Parent Visit: “Austin doesn’t have any real grown-ups. Maybe that’s why you like it.”

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My parents came to visit a couple weekends ago. This was their first visit to Austin and to see me in my new environs. I meant to take them to Barton Springs and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. Barton Springs had been drained for the season, the Umlauf Sculpture Garden was closed Mondays. Thankfully, the Zilker Botanical Garden was nearby, and I recalled my parents have a soft spot for plants. After I was no longer a regular feature at their house, they replaced me with a bunch of planters on the deck. (And when they had me, I served primarily to replace a beloved hamster, Hannibal. The circle of life.)

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The camera is leaning on a rock. Does that lily look overexposed? Nope. Radiating mystical energy. I’m an excellent photographer.

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My dad got tired and amused himself by intimidating dragonflies.

This botanical garden is home to several foot-long sandwich sized carp. There were stepping stones that led right into the middle of carp territory. I may appear confident in this photo; the reality of the situation is I screamed every step of the way. The fish were hungry, and seemed about frisky enough to leap from the water and gnaw on my ankles.

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My mom brought them closer using tortilla chips left over from lunch.

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Some strangers (kind of seen to the left) questioned if it was wise to feed the fish tortilla chips. My mother assured them she was an internationally recognized carp expert. Then she pushed both of them into the pond, where they were savagely swallowed whole by the carp. Then my mom and the carp shared a fist-bump. Moooom! You’re embarrassing me! 

Botanical gardens are peaceful places, where you feel comfortable to express your emotions.

IS THAT A TURTLE?!

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I love turtles. They are tiny, serene dinosaurs; their purpose in life is to level their steady gaze, blink once, and then resume basking. As if to say, “hm.” They play a big part in my interpretation of the universe.

One section of the garden was designed with a prehistoric theme.  My mom was overcome with the urge to pose. In this series, she hopes the sounds of crunching tortilla chips doesn’t give her away. Good thing we had those leftover chips. Note: The next time you visit a botanical garden, be sure to bring at least one prop.

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We had almost completed the full loop around the garden when Max spotted some voodoo in the trees, just off the path. This mysterious tree house was guarded by a Bratz Doll, seen below dangling at a creepy angle.

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I refused to go near it. Overall, I would give Zilker Botanical Garden a 7 for plants, a 10 for overfed fish, and a 0 for keeping out black magic.

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