While Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey may forever have Austin's hearts, plenty of other winners live in Austin's city limits, including seven Guinness World Record holders.
The books frequented at Scholastic Book Fairs feature past and current Austinites—from speedy burrito makers to ancient felines—that made their mark in their own niche categories.
Here's a look at those record-smashing feats:
World's longest legs (female): Maci Currin (4.4 ft)
Cedar Park teenager Maci Currin strutted into the 2021 World Record book with her record-setting legs. At nearly a meter and a half in length (her longest leg checks in at 53.255 inches,) the 6 ft 10 teenager is no stranger to standing out.
Currin, who said she's been bullied for her height in the past, hopes the recognition will inspire other tall girls to embrace their height as she hopes to move into the modeling industry.
Oldest married couple (2020): John and Charlotte Henderson
❤️🙏🏽 The UT and @LonghornVillage Retirement Community mourning the loss of a legend: John Henderson. You’ll remember, he & his wife, Charlotte, set the @GWR for the oldest married couple of aggregate age. The two of them met at UT. He was 107: https://t.co/gVtWrTixGLpic.twitter.com/2YgoptUyEX— John-Carlos Estrada (@Mr_JCE) October 19, 2020
Not-so-newly weds, UT alumni John and Charlotte Henderson tied the knot before the Guinness Book of World Records had even started collecting records.
Before Austin's skyline featured much more than the Capitol, the two were married in 1939—83 years ago—after meeting in a UT zoology class in 1934. The two were named the oldest living married couple, when adding the two's ages, in early 2020.
At 107, John Henderson was also the oldest living Longhorn football player before his death in October 2020.
Fastest Sandwich made with feet: Rob Williams (1 minute 57 seconds)
Austinite Rob Williams is the ultimate bread-winner.
Williams became the fastest person to make a sandwich with his feet when his nimble toes crafted a bologna, cheese and lettuce sandwich, complete with olives on cocktail sticks, in a minute and 57 seconds. An audience member named Sally was lucky (or unlucky) enough to take a bite out of the record-breaking sandwich after it was created by the Kamikaze Fireflies member at Austin's Zach Scott Theater in 2000.
Biggest dog hair ball: Texas Hearing and Service Dogs (201 pounds)
Texas Hearing and Service Dogs put together a hefty hairball when it gathered fur from over 8,000 dogs to create a 201-pound fur ball. The bundle of fur became the heaviest on record and weighed more than the average weight of even the world's largest dog breeds.
Oldest Cat: Creme Puff (38)
Speaking of hairballs: Creme Puff the cat probably coughed up her fair share in her 38-year life.
The record-setting feline was born in 1967 and lived with her owner, Jake Perry, in Austin until August 3, 2004, breaking the record as the oldest cat on record.
Her secret? Dry cat food, broccoli, eggs, turkey bacon, coffee, and even an eyedropper full of red wine every two days.
Perry, who also had a cat named Granpa Rex Allen live to age 34, kept his home fit for kitty royalty, complete with a movie theater in his garage that played nature documentaries for their entertainment.
Most contributions to a painting: Schlotzsky's (2,643)
Austin's original sandwich chain earned a spot on the list after a whopping 2,643 residents contributed to a paint-by-numbers mural at Schlotzsky's original location on its 46th birthday in 2017.
Sloke One, the “Mayor of Austin Graffiti Art,” crafted a colorful outline of a giant sandwich in front of an Austin skyline to commemorate the chain.
Most lanyards worn at once: Guillermo Rodriguez (300)
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel paid witness to a world record-smashing moment when the strong-necked Guillermo Rodriguez wore a whopping 300 lanyards at his Jimmy Kimmel Live! SXSW appearance in 2015.
In a performance that was more slow-paced than Rodriguez probably would have liked, Kimmel put on the 300th lanyard as Rodriguez was presented a plaque to commemorate the feat.
Most burritos made in three minutes: London Nichols (10)
After getting plenty of practice as an employee at Austin-based Freebirds World Burrito, London Nichols broke the burrito-wrapping record as she made 10 burritos in just three minutes at SXSW in 2017.
Smallest test tube: UT scientists (2009)
Though it may have been hard to see the accomplishment, scientists at UT made the world record book as they conducted an experiment with a test tube with a diameter equivalent to one-thousandth of human hair in 2009.
Most haircuts in an hour: Ivan Zoot (34)
Customers may have cried after their rapidly-executed cuts were revealed, but barber Ivan Foot still earned respect as he completed 34 haircuts at the Men's Grooming Center in Austin in 2008.
With soft sand, plenty of beach bars and the best ceviche, there's arguably only one beach worth going to in Texas—South Padre Island.
You might know this beach as a college student's spring break hotspot, but really, it's the Rio Grande Valley's most secret gem. From someone who has been going to "the island" every year since before I could walk, here's a guide to the best SPI has to offer.
First thing's first, don't underestimate how hot South Texas is. Be ready with plenty of sunscreen. If you thought Austin was hot, you're in for a treat as high humidity will make the Valley feel scorching. Luckily, the water offers some reprieve from the sun's rays—still, be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat.
Driving in: From Austin, you can expect almost a six hour drive. Your navigation will take you either around San Antonio (which is a plus for most people) or through San Antonio, funneling to U.S. 77 until you reach Valley grounds in Harlingen.
- From there, it might be smarter to take the toll roads, which border the Port of Brownsville and will save you going through small towns like Los Fresnos that can get backed up with traffic.
- But if you do decide to hightail it through Los Fresnos, be wary of how fast you are going and the speed limit. Cops are especially on the prowl in those areas, catching out of towners unfamiliar with the speed limit changes.
Still, no matter which route you take, you'll go through Port Isabel before crossing the 2-mile bridge to South Padre. During peak times, such as early afternoon, expect to sit in traffic. Better times to travel are in the early morning.
Flying in: For the people that read a six-hour drive with wide eyes, there is a nearby airport in Brownville, a 40-minute drive from SPI, as well as the Valley International Airport in Harlingen, a 1-hour drive away. Be ready to spend $250-$400 a person.
Sights and sounds
Getting to the RGV, you'll be welcomed with palm trees well before you've made it to the beach. And just before crossing the bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre, you'll see a sign that may be blinking, indicating to watch out for pelicans.
As you drive over that bridge, your passengers will want to get their phones out and take the classic video of the the water, boats and parasailers in the bay. It's the best way to let everyone know you're on vacation!
And don't forget to roll down your window to take in the salty smell of the gulf of Mexico.
Resorts: For beach access and the fun amenities that come with that, places like The Pearl, The Palm and The Saphire are where you'll get a resort-style feel.
Affordable: You can still find a Holiday Inn, Ramada and La Quinta along the beach bars.
Airbnb is always an option where you can rent out condos, but you'll want to make sure to book in advance as options may be limited in peak summer.
There are at least 25 access points to the beach, which is on the east edge of the island. Some you can only get to if you're a hotel guest. Here are the most popular ways to reach the sand.
Walking to the beach: Between the bars and hotels, you'll find free access points where you get to just park and walk right onto the beach. You're likely to still find umbrellas and chairs you can rent out.
Beach bar access: Some of the most popular places for beach entry are those that come with a nearby bar. But don't worry, all ages are welcome. You'll want to check these bars' social media pages in the evenings if you're looking for live music.
- Where you're almost certain to not struggle for parking is one of the hottest spots on the beach: Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill. At Clayton's, you're able to get your drink on, get a bite to eat and have access to the beach and volleyball courts.
- A smaller, but just as cool alternative is Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill. With the same amenities as Clayton's, you can't go to Wanna Wanna without trying a turbo, a pina colada with a rum floater—you can get these just about anywhere on the beach, but they just taste better beachside.
Driving on the beach: If you want to try your four-wheel drive on the sand, you can! Access points #5 and #6 allow you to pay a small fee to take your vehicle out there. Click here to see how you might prepare your vehicle for the sand. If you choose to go with this option, you'll want to make sure to pack appropriately as there are no rentals or bars nearby.
If you're trying to make the most of your South Padre getaway, we have you covered with things for the whole family as well as the nightlife scene.
- Watch the fireworks: Catch a fireworks display at the island all summer long. Catch them displayed on the bay in front of Louie's Backyard on Tuesdays and near Clayton Beach Bar on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Beach Park and Isla Grande: The former Schlitterbahn is now a beach park that opened in 2021. The 25-acre waterpark has water slides, a zipline and beach access. (Day passes are $38.99 for children and $10 more for adults)
- Sea Turtle, Inc.: Learn about sea turtles and sea life conservation at the largest state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital. You'll be able to get up close and personal with the turtles! ($4 for children, $10 for adults)
- Gravity Park: For the adrenaline junkies, this park has the tallest reverse bungee in the world ($25), a skycoaster ($25), go-karts ($15-$20), mini-golf ($8-10), a 60-foot ferris wheel ($8), and a climbing wall ($8).
- Sandcastle exhibit: Right next to Gravity Park is a small sandcastle exhibit that is free and about a 5-minute walk to see all the exhibits made entirely from sand by professionals. (Free w/ donations accepted)
- Get in on the water sports: A couple of rental places like Coconut Jacks SPI offer jet skis for rental as well as equipment for parasailing.
- Rent a pontoon boat: Tritoon Charters allows you to rent a pontoon boat for the day perfect for the whole family. The charter offers private snorkeling, shell hunting, up close dolphin and turtle encounters, tubing and sight seeing.
- Party like a local: Escape the beachside and head to the west edge of the island for live music and dancing. Tourists love to flood Louie's Backyard, but there are other bars along the bay worth going to such as Longboard, Laguna Bobs and Tequila Sunset.
You can't leave the island before eating ceviche and fried shrimp. And you can't go wrong by eating at the already mentioned beach bars and bay bars. But here are some other notable places to visit:
- Breakfast: Yummies Bistro and Grapevine Cafe are both places to get your breakfast tacos in the morning.
- Lunch: Cafe on the Beach are good midday options to catch a quick bite without sacrificing quality.
- Dinner: F&B is about as upscale as it gets if you can snag a reservation—Elon Musk has been spotted here. They also offer Sunday brunch.
The pilot of a small plane is now in the hospital after crashing into Lady Bird Lake Thursday afternoon.
The plane, which was being operated by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden, only had the pilot in it when it crashed just west of I-35 in the lake around 2 p.m. Nearby paddleboarders are seen taking the unidentified pilot to Austin-Travis County EMS in a video.
The pilot was then transported to Dell Seton Medical Center with potentially serious injuries.
UPDATE: #ATCEMSSPARTAN drone video showing the aircraft submerged just below the surface. pic.twitter.com/wexI9MqpQS
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) June 16, 2022
Texas Parks and Wildlife said the plane, a 2009 Cessna T206, was on a test flight after routine maintenance when the pilot reported mechanical issues and then crashed.
As of Thursday afternoon, it is not known when the plane will be removed from Lady Bird Lake.
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