Among the citywide eccentric murals and musical tributes that define Austin’s quirky character, perhaps one of the most beloved icons is a gigantic Peter Pan peering over the treetops on Barton Springs Road.
The smiling structure oversees an Austin institution: Peter Pan Mini-Golf.
The family-owned venue has been a cherished staple for 71 years, and has no plans of slowing down the fun. Opened in 1948 by Glenn Dismukes and his brothers - it was called Varsity Links at the time - Peter Pan is known for the funky, old-school character statues peppering its two courses; many of which were built by Glenn himself and, later reimagined and updated by local artist Cheryl Latimer, who sparked a relationship with the family in 2011. Today, players can chip in to a whale’s mouth, sink the hole under the watch of the course’s iconic T-Rex, and marvel at the newer “Texas Totem Pole” statue replete with the Texas star, an armadillo, cowboy boots, and a horse.
Glenn’s daughter Margaret Dismukes Massad stresses the importance of maintaining a “thoroughly Austin family-owned business,” sharing that the four remaining owners - all of whom are in the Dismukes family - continue to work diligently to make sure they “keep the magic and special Austin vibe of Peter Pan” alive.
These days Margaret’s husband, Julio Massad, oversees day-to-day operations and cheerfully credits the venue’s longstanding popularity to its reputation for “just plain old, laid-back fun - which is part of what makes Austin such a wonderful place.” Indeed, Peter Pan is the quintessential Austin experience.
Peter Pan is open Monday - Sunday.