Things to Do in Austin With Kids
Kids Rule in Austin
From its children’s museums to its expansive parks and playgrounds, Austin welcomes kids with open arms.
Austin is a kid-friendly town, especially for the type of children who like to spend time with their active, fitness-minded and intellectually curious parents. Here are a few top Austin attractions and activities to consider adding to your Austin vacation that have been big hits in my family.
1. To the Museums
The Austin Children’s Museum, in the heart of downtown, features a rotating group of traveling and homegrown feature exhibits in the museum’s main space, as well as a core group of permanent exhibits that allow kids hands-on play at everything from construction to train engineering to hanging upside down like Austin’s famed bats. The museum’s latest exhibit, En Mi Familia, explores Mexican-American culture as envisioned by famed artist Carmen Lomas Garza.
201 Colorado St. Tel. 512-472-2499. Admission: $6.50 for adults and children over 2, $4.50 for toddlers 12 to 24 months, free for infants under 12 months. Hours: Tue. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 12 to 5 p.m. www.austinkids.org
Older kids interested in Texas history should visit the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, which colorfully explores Texas’s rich and complicated history. The Bullock also hosts the city’s lone IMAX Theater, which offers 2-D and 3-D shows and during the summer, hosts a series of free Friday night concerts.
1800 N. Congress Ave. Tel. 512-936-8746. Combination tickets prices (for exhibits and IMAX): $12 for adults 19 to 64, $7 for kids 5 to 18, $5 for children ages 3 to 4. Children age 15 and under must be accompanied by someone 16 or older. Hours: Mon. to Sat. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sun. 12 to 6 p.m. www.thestoryoftexas.com
The McKenna Children’s Museum, 45 minutes to the south in New Braunfels (but well worth the drive) allows kids interactive opportunities to explore space, banking, medicine and camping.
801 W. San Antonio, New Braunfels. Tel. 830-606-9525. Admission: Labor Day to Memorial Day, $5.50; Memorial Day to Labor Day, $7.50. Infants 12 months and under, free. Hours: Summer, Mon. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thu. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun. 12 to 5 p.m. Spring, Fall, Winter, Tue. to Sat. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sun. 12 to 5 p.m. www.nbchildren.org
2. A Different Sort of Zoo
The Austin Zoo is a little off the beaten path both in location and approach. Located about a half hour west of downtown, the Austin Zoo is primarily a sanctuary for exotic animals that were rescued from private owners. Though it started as a goat ranch, the zoo now features a diverse range of more than 300 animals representing more than 100 different species, including lions, tigers, jaguars, monkeys, iguanas and Galapagos tortoises.
10807 Rawhide Trail. Tel. 512-288-1490. Admission: $8 for adults, $5 for kids 2 to 12. Hours: daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed Thanksgiving and Christmas. www.austinzoo.org