PARKners innovate, bring us into parks, and create activities for us

Visitors walk into The Creek Keeper, a walk-through art installation resembling an aquatic creature.

Photo Courtesy of Roger Ho for Waterloo Greenway

Waterloo Greenway has hosted Creek Show along Waller Creek since 2014. Austin-based artists, architects, designers, and landscape architects create weird, wondrous light-based art specific to each site. Everyone is welcome to this free, uniquely Austin experience.

This blog series explores Austin Parks and Recreation's partnerships, or PARKnerships, through the Community PARKnerships Program. We started with the question, "How do PARKners help Austin’s parks?" Our last post was "PARKners improve physical park spaces and the environment."

Today we'll focus on three more ways that PARKners serve Austin.

PARKners innovate

Has a park feature ever surprised and delighted you? Has a piece of art inspired a sense of wonder? Has an event ever made you do something you never would have expected?

In cooperation with the City, PARKners…

  • Pitch projects the City could not do on its own
  • Bring world experts into Austin parks
  • Try things no park has tried before
  • Push the limits of what a park can offer
A vendor at The People's Market sells tumblers, stickers, and keychains.

Photo courtesy of Downtown Austin Alliance

Downtown Austin Alliance (DAA) partners with Frida Friday ATX to bring The People’s Market to Republic Square. This market features local vendors who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), queer, and new on the scene. DAA also hosts events with the nonprofit Black Makers Market to spotlight local Black business owners. Music, art, and activities make these markets lively community events.

PARKners help more people get to green spaces

One of the citywide strategies in Austin Parks and Recreation’s long-range plan is to expand and improve park access for all. Our goal is for every Austinite to have a park within walking distance.

In cooperation with the City, PARKners…

  • Advocate for all Austinites to have nearby parks
  • Make parks safer with active use
  • Build paths and bridges to make parks more connected and walkable
  • Bring youth with limited access to nature into parks
Students from Graham Elementary School listen to an instructor on a Peasecology School Field Trip in Pease Park.

Photo Courtesy of Pease Park Conservancy

Students from Graham Elementary School explore Pease Park on a Peasecology School Field Trip. In the 2022-2023 school year, Pease Park Conservancy brought over 300 Austin kids into the outdoor classroom of Pease Park. In the 2023-2024 school year, PPC plans to host 500 students from 10 schools identified by AISD’s Outdoor Learning Specialist. PPC pays for transportation and lunch for all AISD Title 1 school groups.

PARKners teach us, entertain us, and bring us together

Nature walks, concerts, birdwatching, salsa dancing, farmers’ markets, yoga classes, film screenings—PARKners host hundreds of free activities in our parks each year. Austinites of all ages and interests can join their community for outdoor fun. Keep an eye on Austin Parks and Recreation's Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) @AustinCityParks for upcoming events!

In cooperation with the City, PARKners…

  • Celebrate Austin’s live music legacy with concerts in parks
  • Create murals, sculptures, and other physical art to explore outdoors
  • Teach Austinites about nature, history, and culture
  • Spotlight local makers with farmers’ markets and art fairs
  • Inspire Austin to get fit with exercise classes
  • Bring favorite activities like movies outdoors
Children in bike helmets pose with a bike.

Photo Courtesy of Kids on Bikes in Parks

Kids on Bikes in Parks sets Austin children up with bicycles and safety gear for a day of outdoor riding. This October 21 celebration on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail came together with the cooperation of The Trail Conservancy, Trek Ride Club Austin, Violet Crown Cycling Club, and other sponsors. The Trail Conservancy alone organizes over 50 community events per year! 

 Stay tuned for more blog posts, exploring what our partners, or PARKners, do for Austin.