3 Places to Take the Family in Austin, Texas

August 15th, 2018

As a big city, Austin, Texas, is filled with family-friendly activities. Whether you want to go to a museum, park, movie, or play or you have something else in mind, you can find plenty to see and do with your family. Options are spread throughout the city from the 2nd Street District to East Austin to South Lamar District to Westlake Hills. No matter what part of the city you are in, you will be able to find something nearby. Get away from your home organization for a day or stop stressing out about that upcoming moving adventure and check out one of these Austin spots.

Zilker Park Train

Image Credit: Larry D. Moore/Wikimedia Commons

1. Zilker Park Train

If you happen to be by Barton Hills, then be sure to stop by Zilker Park to ride the Zilker Zephyr, the park’s train. This miniature train is fun for kids and parents, particularly if you want to get a chance to see most of Zilker Park without having to walk throughout the entire space. The train ride lasts between 20 and 25 minutes and will show you all of the major attractions of the park at a leisurely pace. You will pass by Barton Creek as well as Lady Bird Lake.

The train costs $2 for children and $3 for adults, with kids under 1 year old getting on for free. It starts right across from Barton Springs Pool and runs hourly on weekdays (on the hour) and every 30 to 40 minutes on weekends. Bring some sunscreen and a hat since the train is not covered.

2. The Thinkery

Consider taking your family to the Thinkery, located in the Cherrywood neighborhood of Austin. This children’s museum will get your kids’ minds flowing while they have fun, and it is also plenty of fun for adults. There are exhibits for all interests, including Let’s Grow; Kitchen Lab; Innovator’s Workshop; Currents; Our Backyard; Light Lab; Spark Shop; and Ready, Set, Roll. All exhibits have hands-on educational experiences that are fun for all involved and combine learning with play.

The Thinkery also regularly hosts special events and programs, including those designated for specific age groups. Admission is $12, or you can become a member and never pay for admission. Children 23 months and younger get in for free.

3. Austin Nature And Science Center

Also by Barton Hills, the Austin Nature and Science Center was established back in 1960 with the goal of providing hands-on educational exhibits and recreational activities that improve the appreciation and awareness of nature. It is in the Zilker Nature Preserve on the western portion of Zilker Park and includes both indoor and outdoor exhibits.

There is no admission fee. You also can choose to bring your kids to one of the day camps in the summer. While there, be sure to visit the Dino Pit to dig up some reproductions of the fossils found in this area of Texas or check out the wildlife rehabilitation facility.