Today Terri and I took my mother to see Zilker Park. She has fond memories of taking me for rides on a small train when I was younger, so she really wanted to go on the Zilker Zephyr.

We also walked through some of the gardens inside Zilker Park. We all have fond memories of the Japanese garden in Fort Worth, so the major influence for this trip was to see another one. This one was also very nice. Another bonus: I happened to spot a pretty butterfly on our way back to our car.

We completed our day by going to the Congress Street bridge to watch the bats fly out for the night. This is one of those quirky things Austin prides itself on. The bats came out much latter than our previous visits, which makes them a bit harder to spot. We still were able to watch them for about fifteen minutes. There are over a million bats living under the bridge during early fall. They had already begun to migrate back to Mexico, so their numbers were a little smaller tonight.

Terri and I took mom to The Oasis restaurant for lunch. The food has not been very impressive in the past, but they seem to have improved the menu since our last visit. This is a popular location for dinner due to it’s magnificent views of the sun setting over Lake Travis. We decided to have lunch to avoid the large crowds. Besides, the view during the day is still quite nice.

My mother is in town visiting Terri and I. Today we decided to do one of the typical mother/son bonding experiences: we attended a lecture by Burt Rutan.

The main focus of his talk was the recent success of SpaceShip One winning the X-Prize. I was very interested to hear about his experiences with this project, but I have been following his work for as long as I can remember. He has built so many amazing airplanes in the past. On our way out of the auditorium, my mother stole one of the posters hanging on the wall. Shh, don’t tell anyone.

Unfortunately I left my new camera/cell phone in our car last night. I was able to find someone else’s pictures on their web site. You can view them here. They are all pictures of Wil Wheaton answering questions and signing copies of his book. Our friend participated in the pie eating contest before the movie, but I have not seen any pictures of that contest yet. He let the only woman in the contest take credit for some of his pies so she could win a kiss from Wil Wheaton. She gave him the free copy of his book and other prizes afterword.