Play, Tinker, Escape: The Best of Austin, Texas for Little Kids

Austin is known as a hip, music-oriented city where travelers can expect to find plenty of local art and culture among its diverse mix of citizens. There’s plenty to keep teens and adults occupied, but what about the kids? Austin has a number of museums, parks, and play facilities where little ones can have a blast too!

Keep every member of the family happy with these child-friendly attractions in your Austin vacation itinerary, and your kids will thank you!

Austin Nature and Science Center

Since its start back in 1960, the Austin Nature and Science Center has been committed to raising awareness about the natural world. The center arranges hands-on exhibits and recreational activities for kids and grown-ups alike, so get ready for some outdoor fun in the Texan wilderness.

If you have a whole day or more to spare, take advantage of family camp programs to learn facts about stars, become a junior wildlife keeper, or go night canoeing into local caves with the help of the center’s friendly and knowledgeable counselors.

Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary

The Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a place where animals in need of rescue or rehabilitation receive the care they deserve. Come learn about these majestic creatures and get a chance to see them up close. This non-profit organization offers free parking and complimentary strollers for parents who can arrive early and grab one before they’re all taken.

Have tired kids who are still recovering from the previous day’s adventures? Get some rest on the zoo’s train ride, which lasts for twenty minutes and takes visitors through the nearby hills where off-display animals can be spotted in the distance.

Mt. Playmore

Need a place to spend a rainy or super hot day during your Austin family vacation? Check out Mt. Playmore and let the kids run wild at its huge indoor playscape and arcade. The play structure was designed so that parents can make their way inside to play with their kids and join the fun.

The arcade features family-friendly games that are appropriate for all ages and offers tickets that can be redeemed for prizes. There is a Toddler Area with toys, games, and play features that are geared towards children ages 1 to 3.

The kids are sure to get hungry, but luckily, the facility has a restaurant that serves favorites like burgers, pizza, chicken tenders, and French fries.

Peter Pan Mini Golf

Peter Pan Mini Golf has been around since 1946, but don’t expect this place to be run down. Families will find a mix of classic features that have been beautifully restored, as well as new features that have been added to its two 18-hole courses.

Big kids will love putting their ball through a loop de loop and past a giant T-rex on the more difficult West Course. The East Course will please younger kids who can climb on some of the colorful characters that can be found among the holes.

The Thinkery - Austin Children’s Museum

The Thinkery evolved from the Austin Children’s Museum, which was founded in 1983 and first opened four years later. The mission of the museum is to create a family-oriented environment where kids can learn through hands-on experiences. Exhibits focus on subjects like art, math, science, and technology and encourage parents and children to problem-solve together.

The Our Backyard section of the museum is a favorite with its twisting climbing structure where kids can scale to the very top for an uninhibited view of their surroundings.

Zilker Park

Zilker Park has long stood as one of Austin’s premier outdoor parks. Families can go for a swim at the Barton Springs Pool, take a stroll through the Zilker Botanical Garden, catch a performance Zilker Hillside Theater, or learn about the natural world at the Austin Nature and Science Center. There are also opportunities for hiking, fishing, and boating at Lady Bird Lake.

Live music and other special events are held at the park throughout the year, so check before your trip to see what exciting activities will be going on.

Will you be heading out to Austin, Texas? What attractions are on your list for the little ones?

Cover image via Thinkery

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