UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum, Austin
With indoor galleries, meeting space and a beautifully landscaped outdoor setting, including a terrace, UMLAUF Sculpture Garden & Museum is a hidden gem in the heart of Austin. In 1985, sculpture artist Charles Umlauf gifted his house, studio and 168 of his works to the city of Austin. In 1991, the city acquired and opened the space down the hill from the Umlauf property, where about 60 works of the collection are exhibited.
The property is home to 4 acres of bronze and stone sculptures, various winding pathways, serene ponds and even a babbling brook. The Garden is intimate and picturesque and can be customized to accommodate 20 to 250 guests for a seated dinner, or up to 600 for a reception. Private event rentals include exclusive use of the Terrace, Arbor, Garden and catering kitchen for easy prep and service. Also included is use of the Crenshaw Room, a windowed indoor meeting space with views of the gallery and into the garden, which can seat up to 40 for a pre-event meeting or teambuilding activity
According to Ally Boyd Hinojosa, venue and event manager for the UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum, corporate clients appreciate that the UMLAUF is a protective environment where guests can truly get away and be surrounded by art and nature, which she says encourages openness, communication, brainstorming and team-building.
She adds, “The UMLAUF adds instant culture to every event and creates a beautiful setting for an evening under the stars, in the heart of Austin. I think that corporate clients appreciate attending an intimate occasion surrounded by a piece of Austin history.”
Located about 20 minutes from Austin in the Hill Country, the Ruby Ranch Lodge was originally 4,000 acres and was called the Onion Creek Lodge, owned by Cecil Ruby, who was a close friend of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Ruby Ranch Lodge is surrounded by the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. Formerly a hunting and barbecue destination, the original lodge was replaced by the current main lodge in 1986 with updates including a large commercial kitchen, more lodging and a large outdoor event space. Set up a tent adjacent to the lodge or host your event under the towering trees and stars, and dine and mingle on lush grass.
“Formal and informal, Ruby Ranch Lodge offers a relaxed, serene atmosphere for your corporate conference,” says co-owner Madelyn Uresti. “Having more than adequate space and seating, you are welcome to throw your company picnics, holiday parties, retirement parties, and any other gathering that requires a celebration facility. Ruby Ranch Lodge and Celebration facility can accommodate up to 28 people overnight.”
Rockin’ Star Ranch, Brenham
Venture to the end of a country road on the outskirts of Brenham (halfway between Austin and Houston) and you’ll find the Rockin’ Star Ranch (RSR) on 140 sprawling acres. And while this venue has the vibe of a luxury estate, the RSR is a true working ranch with managed herds of elk, whitetail deer, oryx, Black Angus cattle and quarter horses. The ranch can accommodate up to 30 guests in the on-site cabins, some designed as larger, apartment-style cottages.
The great outdoors beckons guests with sprawling outdoor space and abundant wildlife, along with a large pool patio and patios adjacent to the 7,000-square-foot ballroom. The Rockin’ Star Ballroom features huge vaulted ceilings, a fully outfitted commercial kitchen, living area, two patios for indoor-outdoor events and a big granite-topped bar. Fire pits outside make for great gathering/mingling and the pool patio is also ideal for outdoor cocktails. Finally, for a truly unique outdoor event, the 25,000-square-foot horse arena offers additional indoor-outdoor event space.
Elaine Dillard, director of operations for the Rockin’ Star Ranch, highlights the large pool and its commercial outdoor kitchen as great resources for meeting planners. She adds that there are stone casitas surrounding the pool for overnight guests, too.
“Rockin Star Ranch was the ideal location when it was time to host our biannual work retreat,” says Magen Pastor, marketing manager for the JW Marriott Houston Downtown. “With the event space and amenities of the ranch we were able to provide a space of relaxation, team-building and reflectiveness for our company members. The food was great, the atmosphere was conducive to all of our needs and we foresee using this space for other future events.”
On Oct. 15, the ranch will host the annual Butcher’s Ball, which Dillard says is a great event for meeting planners to come and experience the ranch and the sustainable cuisine offered by local purveyors. In addition to food and drinks, the ball includes musical acts, art displays and live demonstrations.
Tapatio Springs—nestled in the heart of Hill Country on 220 acres just 35 minutes northwest of San Antonio and 5 minutes from the center of the historic town of Boerne—is a boutique resort with 111 guest rooms and more than 12,000 square feet of flexible meeting space as well as a vast amount of outdoor space. Tapatio S prings Resort offers the ideal setting for relaxation, respite and reconnection, freeing up guests to focus on what matters most, says Jonathan Falloon, director of sales for Tapatio Springs Resort.
“Groups that have attendees coming from all parts of the country and especially internationally are thrilled when they come to Tapatio Springs and Boerne, Texas, where they get a chance to experience what most non-Texas believe Texas to be,” says Falloon. “From the vast ranches, the roaming wildlife, the music and the blended culture of cowboys and Hispanic heritage, our visitors get a real taste of Texas in its full glory and charm.”
Tapatio Springs boasts several unique outdoor areas, complete with fire pits or stone fireplaces perfectly suitable for a Texas-style cookout or Hill Country barbecue under the stars, complete with live music, s’mores roasting and yard games, he adds.
The Oaks Pavilion venue is perched on a hill overlooking the resort and golf course featuring a thatched pergola with patio-style lighting and a wood-burning, stone fireplace. There is also a lush green space, The Bluffs Lawn, which features strings of twinkling lights between giant oak trees and a fire pit with Adirondack chairs. Horseshoe Park offers two horseshoe pits, garden-style lighting and another fire pit. Finally, the Double L Pool Bar is open seasonally for poolside events.
“After our amazing week at Tapatio, I wanted to follow up with a note of thanks,” says Tapatio meetings client Amy McKinney, business consultant, cargo and charters marketing for Southwest Airlines. “You have a rock star team with awesome personalities and should be recognized for the excellent service we received. It was such a perfect fit for our group! I felt the strong leadership and passion for excellence that you set for your team. You understand the importance of service and building your team up for success.”