Austin, Texas has plenty to see and do, with top attractions catering to both adults and children. With a number of kid-friendly attractions and events, parents will have no trouble finding fun, educational and budget-friendly things to do in this eclectic city. There is fun to be had both indoors and outdoors in Texas’ capital city. Have a great time with the whole family by trying these top things to do in Austin with kids.
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Both kids and grownups will have a great time exploring Thinkery, a children’s museum that has plenty of fun and interactive exhibits. Thinkery exposes young minds to STEM-based topics, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, in a fun and approachable way. With exhibits perfect for children of all ages, from babies to teens, everyone is sure to leave Thinkery with new knowledge.
South Congress Bridge Bats
Austin is home to the largest bat colony in North America. Therefore children will love learning about the natural world by watching the bats fly out from under the South Congress Bridge. From March to November, nearly 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats live under this Austin bridge. They take flight at night to feast on bugs, therefore dusk is the best time to see droves of them in the sky. Watch on the bridge, near the shore of Lady Bird Lake or even from a boat or kayak.
Active kids will love hiking up to the top of Mt. Bonnell also known as the highest point in Austin. Count the stair steps it takes to reach the top, which is 190 feet in elevation gain. Once you reach the very top step, view a picturesque landscape of downtown and Lake Austin.
Zilker Park is one of the most popular attractions in Austin. Not only an expansive park, but this 300-acre area is also home to live music concerts, various festivals and even a botanical garden. However if you’re just looking for a great picnic spot and a place the kiddos can burn some energy, Zilker Park is the perfect place.
Austin Nature & Science Center
Little minds will have a fun and educational time at Austin Nature & Science Center. Kids will love the hands-on exhibits while parents will truly appreciate the free admission. Children will learn about the natural world through the dinosaur fossils exhibit and the wildlife rehabilitation facility onsite. Located on the western part of Zilker Park, Austin Nature & Science Center even offers day camps for kids during the summer months.
View animals from all over the world at Austin Zoo. Now, this zoo isn’t a typical zoo; all the animals in the Austin Zoo are rescue animals. This zoo sanctuary has over 100 different species of animals and approximately 300 animals in total. Kids will enjoy interacting with the animals at the petting zoo, where there is food for sale to feed some of the zoo’s residents.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum will teach you and your kids all you need to know about the history of Texas. There are three floors of exhibits, some of which are interactive. The museum isn’t the only thing drawing families to the Bullock Texas State History Museum. There is an onsite IMAX theater that plays the latest flicks.
Barton Creek Greenbelt
Go on a hike, bike ride or even a swim along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. The Twin Falls trailhead is a well-liked spot to explore, however, there are plenty of access points along the Green Belt that can be found throughout the city. Beat the summer heat with a swim in Barton Creek or explore the eight miles of hiking trails here that are perfect for active kids.
Head to one of Austin’s greatest bookstores for a fun storytime or to simply browse the well-stocked kids’ section. This independent bookstore not only offers books but also games and toys too, making it a great place for kids to explore. Also multiple times a week, BookPeople holds storytimes and other kid-friendly events.
Barton Springs Pool
One of the most popular summer spots in Austin is the Barton Springs Pool. This spring-fed pool always stays at a cool 68 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it’s the best place to beat the summer heat. The 3-acre pool is great for kids, since it has a shallow end. Parents won’t break the bank getting into this pool either, as admission is only a few dollars for children and fees are less during off hours.
Jumpoline Park is a great place to visit during a rainy or cold day in Austin, Texas. This indoor complex features bounce houses, huge slides, obstacle courses and of course trampolines. Both young and old children will have a great time at Jumpoline Park. Take advantage of Teen Nights or book your kid’s next birthday party at this trampoline fun park.
Peter Pan Mini Golf
Mini golf is a fun activity for the whole family, and Peter Pan Mini Golf has been providing families with fun since 1946. This mini-golf park has two 18-hole golf courses with fun and wacky themes. Peter Pan has also become a popular spot for birthday parties in the South Austin area.
Zilker Zephyr Miniature Train
Enjoy Zilker Park from a mini-train called the Zilker Zephyr. This miniature train takes travelers on a 25-minute ride through Zilker Park. The train typically runs every day and leaves every hour on the weekdays and every 30 minutes on the weekends. Since the train departs near Barton Springs Pool, it’s a convenient spot to hop on the train after enjoying a dip in the pool.
Amy’s Ice Creams
Enjoy a sweet treat at Amy’s Ice Creams. This ice cream shop has multiple locations in the city, so there is bound to be an Amy’s near you. Enjoy the popular Mexican vanilla flavor or plenty of other classic and unique flavors at this Austin-based ice cream parlor.