Geeky Interactive Map Fun

If I were given a map and dropped naked in the jungle, the results wouldn’t be pretty. Not because I couldn’t fashion rudimentary garments, craft tools and weapons, or utilize arcane bits of survival wisdom. No, it would be because I’d wander fruitlessly, killed by my lack of basic map skills.

Which makes it so surprising that I’m truly fascinated with Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s interactive map.

Start of Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail
There’s a start and an end to the official Barton Creek Greenbelt trail. Alexander Banach and Hendrix head toward the Zilker trailhead, the 0-mile marker for both the Violet Crown and Greenbelt trails.

I was researching a piece for The Austinot and stumbled onto the map’s creator, Allison Hardy. One of the best things about being a writer is getting to talk to people who are passionate about something, and Hardy is passionate about her map. It’s got to be rewarding for her, too, to hear someone like me exclaim over and over again, “Wow! This is amazing! Wow! It’s so cool!”

Read The Austinot piece, “Austin Trails and Parks Revealed with Indepth Interactive Map,” for all the details (feel free to share, please). And to encourage you to fully learn this wonderful resource and develop a useful habit, try this activity:

ATX Outdoor Spaces and Places Quiz

PARD Interactive Map with Sparky Pocket Park
You’ll need to use the search bar, pop-up info boxes, legend, and layering features to successfully answer these quiz questions.

Go to PARD’s website to answer the following questions about Austin’s parks and their amenities. No cheating  — use the interactive map feature, not Google, for answers. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Is there a permanent bathroom at the Shoal Creek BMX Skate Park?
  2. Give the title of Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk “Belting It Out” sculpture No. 6.
  3. How many scenic overlooks are located along the Blunn Creek Nature Preserve trail?
  4. If you want to play volleyball at Emma Long Metro Park, is there a sand court?
  5. How many public parking spaces are there at Murchison Pool?
  6. If you are a beginning rider, would the BMX Loop trail at Walnut Creek Park be a good choice? What’s it rated?
  7. Which of these things are NOT available at Walter E. Long Park?
    • Skeet Shooting
    • Model Airplane Building
    • Picnic Shelters
    • Travis County Expo Center
  8. What year was the Reed Neighborhood Pool built?
  9. Which one of these parks allows me to ride a horse on its trails?
    • Mary Moore Searight Metro Park
    • Slaughter Creek Trail
    • Shoal Creek Greenbelt
  10. That round, swirly fountain thing on Dawson Road, near the Long Center – can my kids play in that?


To check your answers, visit my blog’s Facebook page, Enjoying the Journey.

Patterson Park Skateboarder
It’s almost summer vacation, and what parent wouldn’t like to know convenient outdoor amenities, like the quarter pipe at Patterson Park? Joshua Boudreaux takes a midday skate break close to his house.



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Published by Leah Nyfeler

I'm a writer, editor, runner, and adventurer who is always looking for the next new story, exciting adventure, and good meal/book/movie. My focus is on helping people find their best, healthiest self through sharing what I know and how I've come to learn it. In addition to my blog "Enjoying the Journey: Observations on the Fit Life" at, my articles have appeared in a variety of print and online magazines. You can hear me as part of the 2015 Austin cast of Listen To Your Mother.

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