Pease Park has a rich and storied history and is one of Texas’ first public parks. Its 42 acres offers miles of trails, a playscape, splashpad, two basketball courts, three volleyball courts, and numerous picnic tables. There is also a great off-leash area for dog owners.
What everyone knows
Pease Park has a couple of Claim-to-Fames. It is home to Austin’s oldest hike-and-bike trail, and was the home of Austin’s oldest disc golf course. After twenty years of disc golfing, the city of Austin decided to close the course due to flooding concerns from worn down vegetation and compacted soil.
What they don't tell you
Eeyore’s birthday party wasn’t originally celebrated at Pease District Park. In 1963, the classic story of the sad Winnie-the-Pooh character sparked an idea. Lloyd W. Birdwell Jr. and other UT Austin students from the English Department organized a spring party and picnic in the name of Eeyore. The picnic included lemonade, beer, honey, a flower-draped donkey and a maypole and took place in Eastwood’s Park. As Austin’s hippie community took to the event, it grew and moved to Pease District Park in 1974.
Do it like a local
If you are an outdoor enthusiast like me, you should hike or bike the entire Pease Park trail from north to south, and continue your trek as it connects to the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. As you journey around Lady Bird Lake, continue to Zilker Park and if you still have energy jump on the Barton Creek Greenbelt Trail and explore many more miles of trails!
For the History Buffs
This centrally located park is a favorite for all ages. It has hosted countless birthday parties, field trips, family barbecues, volleyball games, hikers and bikers, and more. The park parallels a part of the nine-mile intermittent Shoal Creek which is fed by natural underground springs and carries rainwater as it drains into Lady Bird Lake. (A shoal is a place in any body of water where the water is especially shallow). Shoal Creek was named by Austin’s first mayor, Edwin Waller. It was the city’s original western boundary when it was established in 1839 when the city was known as Waterloo.
One of my favorite annual festivals in Austin is held at Pease Park. Each April, a fete thrown by locals celebrates a fictitious character from A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories. The perpetually-sad donkey, Eeyore. If you recall, Eeyore is a gloomy, pessimistic and depressed character. In one story, he thinks everyone has forgotten his birthday, only to find out they have planned a surprise party for him. Fortunately for Eeyore, thanks to the dozens of festivals the city of Austin hosts each calendar year, Austinites know how to throw a party!
“Eeyore’s Birthday” has been celebrated at Pease Park since 1974. I thoroughly enjoy the large mix of Austin sub cultures who attend the all day event. An eclectic mix of original Austin hippie culture celebrates alongside the new Austin hipster culture. Also, expect to see original party attendees from the sixties and seventies now taking part in the family oriented games and contests with their grandchildren! The party at Pease Park features live music, face painting, henna & temporary tattoo stations, games, food, drinks and not-so-impromptu drum circles & dancing. Keeping with the 56-year tradition, there will be a maypole and a live donkey named Eeyore, of course! As you walk through the park you will also see hundreds of people taking it all in from the comfort of their hammoks nestled throughout the park. The good news is that there is a costume contest renowned for its creativity, for that inner child inside all of us. Best of all, not only is Eeyore’s Birthday free, it also helps raise money for local non-profits.
Recent history reveals the land once belonged to the 5th & 13th Governor of Texas. Elisah Pease and his wife acquired it in 1857. It is here where they raised a family, and used the land to grow crops.
The Peases donated the land to the city in 1875.
However, its history goes back a lot further. Eleven milleniums, actually!
Archaeologists discovered arrowheads and other artifacts in this area indicating Native American occupation dating back over 11,000 years!
The future of Pease Park will be just as exciting as its past. There are current plans to extend its trail nine miles to the north so it can connect to Walnut Creek Park’s trail system and The Domain - an upscale shopping center with retail stores, restaurants, residences and high-end boutiques located in the high-tech corridor of north Austin. more deets here
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