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About Austin
Accommodation and Travel ¦ Dining ¦ Activities Nearby ¦ Extended Activities ¦ Bats

Donate to the Official WFC CharityFACT is delighted to host World Fantasy 2006 in Austin! Austin is located towards the south-center of the state, and sits along the Balcones Fault which demarcates the Coastal Plains from the Hill Country that defines Central Texas. Beneath us - limestone and karst that contain the Edwards Aquifer. As a result, Austinites are blessed with great weather, dramatic hills, fast flats, sparkling lakes, calm rivers, and aged caves. It's no surprise that many Austinites spend a lot of time outdoors.

Accommodation and Travel

The WFC Hotel is the Renaissance in the Arboretum, but there are plenty of other budget and junior business hotels around. Since Hwy 183 (also known as Research Blvd) began as a corridor for the tech industry, the Arboretum is a choice for many businesses to accommodate their corporate guests. AmeriSuites, Residence Inn, and an Embassy Suites are all within walking distance from the Renaissance in the Gateway Market area. A list of secondary hotel options will appear later in a Progress Report.

A Super Shuttle is available on the lower level of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that provides economical transportation to the convention hotel. To get more information and arrange transport, please visit their Website at http://www.supershuttle.com or call 1-800-258-3836.

American Airlines is the official airline of World Fantasy. When making your reservations, please use the code: A22H6AN. The code is good for 5% off the lowest fare. Please use the code online at http://www.aa.com, or you can call 1-800-433-1790. Please note that there is a service fee for calling and making reservations. International guests must call the local reservation desk number and refer to the same discount code.

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Dining

The Arboretum area has an abundance of food choices. Austinites love dining out, and the city has a variety of styles from which to choose. Immediately around the Arboreteum, there's Fresh Choice (salad/fresh foods), Texadelphia (local eatery, cheesesteaks and sandwiches); Macaroni Grill, PF Chang's, Manuel's (local Tex-Mex), Pok-E-Jo's (local eatery, Texas-style barbeque); Thundercloud Subs, TGIFriday's, Cozymel's (Tex-Mex), and The Cheesecake Factory. Take the sidewalk on Great Hills Trail beneath 183 to the Gateway area, and the food options double. Jason's Deli and Truluck's (upscale steak, seafood) are two local eateries that are great options, along with Manny Hattan's, Marie Callender, and Whole Foods Market. Finish off your meal with a walk to Amy's Ice Cream, another local favorite, at the heart of the Arboretum.

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Activities Nearby

In the rare moments you're not attending WFC events, there's a Dave and Buster's nearby for an arcade fix. Of course, there's shopping: from home decor to fashion to beauty to sports in the too-many-to-count stores in the Arboretum itself, or in the Great Hills and Gateway Markets nearby. Two movie theaters are available: The Arbor features art films and Gateway Cinema is your first-run blockbuster movie house.

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Extended Activties

If you're into breaking out of the Arboretum, there's plenty in Austin to keep you occupied. Try a quick trip downtown to the Warehouse District or Sixth Street, where you're sure to find a band playing somewhere. The Bob Bullock Texas History Museum has an IMAX theatre with rotating shows. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library often hosts an exhibit outside of the regular presidental exhibit, so it's always fun to see what's happening there. And since you're already on the University of Texas campus if you're at the LBJ Library, might as well explore one of the largest universities in the United States (my alma mater - Hook 'Em Horns!). If you require your regular exercise, and walking around the Arboretum's too slow, find the Hike and Bike Trail around Town Lake, or take a dip in Barton Springs, a large natural spring off Town Lake in Zilker Park. A free 'Dillo shuttle, picked up at many of these spots in the downtown area, will take you around a central circuit to all of the places I've mentioned. Did I mention that the 'Dillo is FREE, FREE, FREE?

Beyond the city confines, if you're lucky to spend most of the week in Austin for WFC 2006, then check out Longhorn Caverns, a marvelous sequence of caves near Marble Falls. There's antiquing (that's what we call the art of hitting the old Czech-German towns in Central Texas and buying antiques) in Fredericksburg, along with exploring our presidental past at the LBJ Ranch and Nimitz Museum out Hwy 290. You can always take the hour's drive south on I-35 to San Antonio, which has a great antiquities collection in the High Museum of Art, and a wonderful outdoor area near the Alamo called The Riverwalk.

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But What About The Bats?

The bats arrive at the Congress Avenue bridge in mid-March and return to Mexico in early November. While in residence, they astonish visitors with their spectacular emergence display at dusk. The time of year, weather conditions, and colony size all affect bat emergence times. Late July through mid-August is the best time to see impressive flights, as new born pups first begin to forage with their mothers. The bats generally emerge before dark, but may fly late if conditions are not favorable. For updates and approximate emergence times, please call the Austin American-Statesman/Bat Conservation International's Bat Hot Line: 512-416-5700 (Category 3636) for the latest flight times.

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