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Austin Insider’s Guide

Austin Outdoors

Tribeza Talk: An insider’s guide to Austin’s hidden gems


by Nicole Beckley

OUT OF THE BOX

PopUpPlay

On a rainy day, a kid’s best friend can be a cardboard box that is quickly transformed into a house or a castle. Taking this idea into the digital era, Bryan Thomas and Amelia Cosgrove created PopUp Play, an Austin-based company that produces 4-by-4.5-foot fiberboard playhouses, which can be customized through an iPad app and easily assembled at home. For more information visit popupplaytoy.com.

Nature Sounds

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When Austin musician Dana Falconberry begins to write a new song, it’s often an image of nature that springs to mind. “Usually it’s some sort of beautiful scene that I’ve come across on the road or while traveling,” Falconberry says. “Those are the things that strike me and stay with me and end up coming out in a song.” That’s certainly true on From The Forest Came The Fire, her new record with band Medicine Bow. Embracing the natural themes, Falconberry and band are setting off on a National Parks tour beginning June 19 in the Guadalupe Mountains and playin g shows at White Sands, Yosemite, Muir Woods and others. While the settings and situations will vary (the weather always lends an element of surprise), Falconberry says, “Whatever happens it’ll be fun.” For more information visit danafalconberry.com.

Natural Wonders

If there’s any drawback to the great outdoors, it is certainly tiny pests like mosquitoes and ticks. With an aim to produce pest control products without toxic chemicals, Austin-based Wondercide has created a slew of natural repellents for pets, lawns and more. For more information, visit wondercide.com

Purse-suit of Adventure

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“I grew up on the East Coast, but I’ve been hiking and backpacking forever and that kind of was what brought me into photography in the first place,” explains Anna Donlan. An Austin-based designer and photographer, Donlan’s images of sprawling Texas landscapes sparked an idea in Kelly Appleton. The artist began printing the images on fabric. This past August, Donlan and Appleton launched Eleven Twenty One, a brand of handbags and pillows featuring Donlan’s photos. “There’s something about that landscape that resonates with people,” Donlan says. “ They have kind of a universal feel to them, but they’re also very unique.” Sourced, printed and crafted in the United States, Eleven Twenty One’s products are printed using eco-friendly methods and made by hand in Appleton’s Chicago studio. The company also commits a portion of their profits to the Big Bend Conservation Alliance. For more information visit eleventwentyone.org

Want to Soar Above Your Siblings?
Give the ultimate Mother’s Day Gift

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Austin Biplane offers a bird’s-eye view of Austin. Accommodating two passengers, the open cockpit plane, piloted by a former Air Force F-16 pilot, takes passengers over downtown and the Texas Hill Country for a memorable mini-adventure. (Bring your own long silk scarf). For more information, visit austinbiplane.com.

HELO Austin offers chopper tours (not the two-wheel kind, but the two-blade kind) of Central Texas. In a 2015 Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter, three passengers can take a custom tour of our city — check out the wildflowers from above or do a special flyover for Austin City Limits and Formula One. For more information, visit heloaustin.com.

Next Action Hero

Action Hero Adventure

Escape from a burning van, land a three-story leap and cascade down a zipline when you spend an afternoon at Stunt Ranch. “ The idea was to create a series of experiences so that when someone goes through them, they build their confidence and their competence and their knowledge and their optimism and their overall physical health,” says Founder Steve Wolf. After a career doing stunts for films, Wolf opened Stunt Ranch in 2005. A decade later, he regularly hosts professionals seeking team-building exercises and school groups. For more information visit stuntranch.com.


Read more from the Outdoors Issue | May 2016


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