Tarka Indian Kitchen Sunset Valley

Healthy and fast Indian food options, kids menu, and vegan options!

5207 Brodie Ln, Austin, TX 78745



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Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

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The food

We found Tarka Sunset Valley to be a solid option when we’re feeling like eating Indian food (obviously!), eating vegetarian or vegan, and wanting something fast but still relatively healthy with good ingredients. It should be noted that Tarka offers many dishes with meat like Indian food staple tikka masala (we love it with chicken) but our family happens to be shifting toward more of a vegan diet.

Our favorite vegan dishes at Tarka are the coconut curry with vegetables and the Tarka daal. Both are flavorful and filling with rice or naan.

Kids’ Menu

The kids’ menu is small at Tarka, with only four dishes offered along with the choice of apple juice, mango lemonade, or a fountain drink. We found the chicken pakoras to be similar to chicken tenders and our kiddo liked them, but we noted a particular saltiness. Overall, there are many better restaurant options if kid-friendly dishes are your main priority, but we like that other options on the menu could be decent for kiddos as well, such as kabobs.

Bottom Line: Is Tarka Indian Kitchen Sunset Valley a Good Place to Take the Kids?

Tarka Indian Kitchen probably isn’t going to be a great fit for all families but our two and a half-year-old enjoyed rice, naan, chicken pakoras, and mango lemonade. We think that if you’re looking for healthy Indian food options and/or vegetarian and vegan options, Tarka is a good and fast restaurant to try. Their Tarka Rewards program, similar to rewards programs at many other restaurants, is also helpful.

Dick Nichols District Park and Pool

Explore the vast amenities at this SW Austin park with a pool and playground.

8011 Beckett Rd, Austin, TX 78749

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Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

Summary

We visited Dick Nichol’s playground on a warm Saturday morning in January when the pool was closed but the playground was hopping. The park’s many rows or parking were nearly at capacity on this beautiful day and all the park’s amenities aside from the pool were being used.

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Playground at Dick Nichols Park

Our 2 and a half-year-old had a blast swinging, sliding and climbing at the playground. The majority of the playground is pretty toddler-friendly with several baby swings, a fairly low-to-the-ground playscape, and a mix of slide heights.

A few things that stood out to us for the younger kiddos:

•There is one baby swing that is attached to a flat seat that a parent can sit on and swing with their little one. Our youngster loved this but it wasn’t all that comfortable for me (sitting was nice instead of standing tho) so we switched to one of the regular baby swings.

•There are quite a few interactive elements to the playscape including plastic drums to bang on, things that made noise when spun, cranked, turned, or rotated and a pretty neat interactive music board. Touch a button to change instrument sound from keyboard to guitar to trumpet, or animal sounds and there were buttons to play about 10 different notes.

Older kids seemed to be having a blast on a spinning seat, bigger swings and just generally climbing on the playscape.

The Pools

The pools were not open when we visited in January but the facilities look awesome from the outside looking in. There are several lifeguard chairs, lane markers, a deep pool, a medium depth pool, and a wading pool.

Other things to do

There’s definitely a lot to do at Dick Nichol’s Park. We were impressed when we saw the sand volleyball courts along with a paved volleyball court. In addition, there is a basketball court, several tennis courts, and plenty of open space to run and play. We happened to get to see a pretty serious Quidditch game being played when we went!

Pavilion / Reservable Space

The pavilion is large, covered, has plenty of trash cans and is very convenient to the playground and some of the other fields like for volleyball (both sand and court) and tennis courts.

We thought it was great to see another section of picnic tables in a different section of the park, closer to the parking lot, that indicated it was also reservable. This section does not have a structure covering it but it appears to be shaded most of the day due to all the nearby trees.

Parking 

The parking lot is pretty huge with some shaded spots. While those with small cars may appreciate the several rows of compact only spots, we found them slightly annoying as the majority of spots large enough for family vehicles were occupied. Overall, though, there are a lot of parking spots.

Restrooms

The restrooms were clean and bright. While there was toilet paper, there was no soap and no changing table in either restroom.

Other Tips for the Playing at Dick Nichols District Park

Nature Trail:

There are several gravel trails around the park but the main attraction that many people were taking advantage of was the paved trail going around the park. We saw everything from strollers and walkers to bikes and rollerbladers taking advantage of the wide and often shaded trail.

Bottom Line: Is Dick Nichols Park and Pool a Good Place to Take the family?

We thought this was a great park for the wide variety that it offered, plentiful parking and great trails. We can’t wait to go back in the summer to check out the deep pool (8′), shallow pool (wading up to 3′), and the splash pad.

With something for pretty much everyone, this is a great park for all ages.

Garrison Park & Municipal Pool

A popular park due to it’s swimming pool that’s not Barton Springs, not cold and (usually) not crowded.

6001 Manchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78745

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our-review

Review

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Park Features


Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

Summary

Garrison Park is an excellent choice for families looking to stay cool during the summer due to the large lap pool, toddler pool, lifeguard, and tons of shade. The gravel trails, large parking lot, and young-kid-friendly playground are a great bonus and help make this a park worth visiting year-round, especially if you have toddlers.

Older kids will love the pool during the summer but if the pool is closed due to seasonality (it’s only open during the warm months), they may get bored pretty quickly unless they happen to enjoy playing basketball or running/riding around on the fairly short trails.

There is a reservable pavilion that is great for hosting get-togethers and there are water fountains, benches and some BBQ grills throughout.

While we visited, we did notice several dogs off-leash but the park was big enough and the owners were attentive enough that we never felt like there could be a run-in with our babies.

Overall, we had a lot of fun at the park and think most families with young kiddos will experience the same.

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Cost

There is a charge to use the pool. At the time of this review, the price to use the pool was as follows and does not appear to change often but please check the park’s pool website before you go to make sure it is open and to check current pricing.

Resident cost:

free (11 months and younger)

$1 (ages 1-11, seniors)

$2 (ages 12-17), $3 (18 and older);

Nonresident cost:

free (11 months and younger)

$2 (ages 1-11, seniors)

$3 (age 12-17)

$4 (18 and older).

Bottom Line: Is the playground and pool at Garrison Park & Municipal Pool a Good Place to Take the Kids?

garrison-park-toddler-playscape

Yes! Garrison District Park and Municipal Pool is a great place to visit with the family. With a large pool and fields and courts for games along with the fact that the park is often less crowded than the better known Barton Springs Pool and Deep Eddy, this is a great destination to go with the family.

Mandola’s Italian Market – William Cannon

Kid-friendly Italian food, free kid’s gelato, playscape, and more!

4301 West William Cannon Drive, Dr E-1, Austin, TX 78749



Photos

Features

our-review

Review

Directions

Website

Photos

Features

Family-Friendly Features


Playground Features


Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

Map

The Food

The menu was fairly large and included options for various diet restrictions, including gluten-free noodles and options for the kiddos including spaghetti (including an option with butter instead of sauce), fettuccine alfredo, pizza, and even chicken fingers. There are also family style dishes and desserts which can serve large groups.

Our oldest kiddo has always been happy about ending his meal with a free scoop of gelato that comes with his children’s plate. We’ve been three times and each time have sampled different flavors and chosen different scoops – all were finished by the little guy. The setup for the gelato is like a little gelato stand with quite a few options.

There is also a nice assortment of desserts to eat there or take home.

The Playground 

Another great feature of dining at this particular location is access to a nice playground. Access to this playground appears to be shared by several restaurants and businesses in the area but at the time we visited (early lunch), it was not crowded and all five of the kids in our group had a blast running around and playing. Overall, the playset was relatively simple, with a couple of slides and tunnels and a kid’s sized picnic table.

Restrooms at Mandola’s Italian William Canon

Restrooms at restaurants aren’t typically noteworthy but we have to give a little love to Mandola’s for their baby changing station. We got a little chuckle out of the Italian themed artwork paired with the comfortable changing table, diaper genie, and a supply of diapers and wipes(!). It had everything to make changing a diaper a little less…poopy.

Extras 

We brought our baby into the restaurant in a car seat since she was asleep and we were happy when an employee brought an infant carseat carrier out so we could set the carseat on a sturdy holder rather than turning a high chair over and risking instability.

Bottom Line: Is Mandola’s Italian at William Cannon a Good Place to Take the Kids?

We had a great time and would emphatically say, “yes!” The restaurant accommodated our large family and friends, comments about the food were positive, the kids ate their food and loved the gelato (kid’s plates come with a free scoop!), and we had a great time at the playground. We appreciated the family-friendly atmosphere and will definitely visit again in the future.