Maybe I’m partial to Mayfield Park because my hubby and I were married there, or maybe I just like it because it’s a sweet little park. Either way, I thought we were overdue for a visit, so my daughter and I recently spent the morning there (before it got too hot) and it didn’t disappoint.
The property and lovely cottage were purchased by Allison Mayfield ( Chairman of the Railroad Commission and former Texas Secretary of State) for his family in 1909. It stayed in the family until the passing of his daughter, Mary Mayfield Gutsch, in 1971, when she left it to the city.
The highlight of the park has to be the peafowl that are allowed to freely roam the property. You can hear their calls from the minute you enter the park. Every time one would cry out, my daughter would ask, “Hear that, mamma?! Hear that?!”
Seeing one in person is even better!
You don’t have to go searching for them. They’re everywhere. In fact, I wasn’t paying attention to where I was walking at one point and almost tripped over one that was crouched under a bush. That definitely woke me up! They seem friendly enough, and used to little kids running around, but I wouldn’t want to tangle with one.
“Is that the daddy Peacock?’
There were a few other families with young children strolling the grounds when we were there. We’ve visited the park many times and it’s NEVER been crowded.
Eat your heart out, Giverny!
Well, maybe not, but the ponds and gardens are lovely. We spotted lots of little fish, a few baby turtles, and countless dragonflies. I learned from a good friend of mine that you can adopt a garden there, and we noticed a few empty lots, just waiting for someone to tend to them. It seems like a great project to do with the family, though I think we need to get a little better at not killing plants at home before we start trying to maintain them in a public space.
Now off for a hike down to the water.
Taking our cue from the educational materials on the website, we went on a little nature walk. The guide is geared toward older kids, but I just tweaked it a bit and made the walk more into a conversation, pointing out different plants, rocks, etc, and calling attention to the many sounds around us. We even picked up a few dead leaves (with different shapes) to take home for leaf rubbings.
A ten minute walk down the Lake Trail and we were at the water.
At home doing the leaf rubbings.
MAYFIELD PARK-Open Daily (Closed 10pm-5am)
3505 W 35TH ST, AUSTIN TX 78703
- Fun for: All ages
- Parking and admission is free.
- Bring plenty of water to drink.
- Pack a lunch and have a picnic there.
- Wear comfortable shoes if you plan to walk the trails.
- Note of caution: There is a steep drop-off just past the wall that runs behind the gardens, so watch your little ones.
-Jennifer Rustgi, Kid Culture Austin