There are plenty of great little finds in the Austin area that are worth a quick trip to visit. In this episode of Discover Austin, we’ll visit three of them, the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge, Sparky Park, and Fairy Alley. If you’d prefer to read about these spots in Austin, the transcript can be found below the video.
Greetings, I’m Craig Smyser. Austin is full of neat little places that are great to spend a little bit of time exploring. We’re going to look at three of them on this episode of Discover Austin.
We’re at the corner of Sunset Lane and East Side Drive at the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge. The bridge has been covered with ceramic tiles to create a mosaic artwork in tribute to Larry Monroe. Larry was a popular radio broadcaster in Austin for more than 30 years and was a tireless promoter of not just Austin musicians, but those from across Texas. After he died in 2014, the music community looked for a way to memorialize him. The result is the Larry Monroe Forever Bridge with custom tiles made by more than 100 volunteers and paid for by more than 300 donors. For those who are fans of Larry, there are plenty of great references to him and his radio shows that you’ll recognize. For those who didn’t know Larry, just by reading the tiles you’ll get a good starter education on who he was. The bridge is in a nice setting near Little Stacy Park with a creek running underneath and walking paths nearby.
Welcome to Fairy Alley! Located adjacent to 1507 Treadwell Street just off of Lamar and not too far from Zilker Park, you’ll find this incredible, magic little area. In an effort to clean up the overgrown alley, Artist Suvi Aika created the colorful murals and tiny fairy houses, though if you ask her, she’ll simply tell you that one day the fairy’s showed up and created it on their own. There are many small details check out with the houses and other miniature displays that are set up. The ground of the alley is painted like a koi pond. It’s great to view at any time of year, but there are extra decorations at Halloween, Christmas, and Easter.
We’re now at Sparky Park located at 3701 Grooms Street. It’s a pocket park which means that it’s quite small and located just smack-dab in the middle of a neighborhood. This used to be an electrical substation but now has been turned into just a general use park. You’ll see nods to its electric heritage around the park – including, of course, the name. After a cell tower was constructed on the site, the city asked local artist to create something that would block the equipment and make the park more inviting. The result is the Grotto Wall. Neighbors pitched in by contributing items that were set into the wall such as marbles, shells, broken antique dishes, and more. One of things I really like is that people will leave little artifacts, notes, and assorted objects at the wall tucked in the nooks-and-crevices. It’s fun to see what people have left and you can certainly bring your own thing to leave as well. The building that housed the electrical equipment from the 1930s has been converted into a community room. There are a few benches around and it’s a great place to have a picnic.
There are hidden gems all across Central Texas. It’s nice to get off the beaten path so I invite you to visit places like the Forever Bridge, Fairy Alley, and Sparky Park. I’m Craig Smyser, thanks for joining me for this episode of Discover Austin.