Are you planning a family trip and wondering about the best “things to do with kids in Austin”? Look no further!
As a family that has spent a lot of time in Austin, we’ve put together a list of the most fun things to do in Austin. We also share pro tips for each activity.
Here are 31 things to do with kids in Austin, TX:
Table of Contents
For Toddlers and Preschoolers
1. The Thinkery
What it is: The Thinkery is Austin’s children museum where science and families play side by side. It is an evolution of the Austin Children’s Museum, and it’s designed to provide a creative and interactive learning environment.
Our family loves The Thinkery. I actually started writing this article while sipping on coffee outside of The Thinkery.
When you go, check out Thinkery Austin Children’s Museum Coupons and Discounts
Why you should visit: The Thinkery offers a range of exhibits perfect for spark curiosity in young minds. The Light Lab allows kids to explore colors, shadows, and light refraction.
The Currents section lets them experiment with water flow, with water tables, fountains, and vortexes to splash in.
Insider tip: Make sure you check out their calendar for special events and programs. Also, Wednesdays from 4-8 pm are Community Nights, where admission is pay-what-you-can.
2. Barton Springs Pool
What it is: Barton Springs Pool is a man-made recreational swimming pool located on the grounds of Zilker Park. Its main source of water is a natural spring.
Why you should visit: Maintaining an average temperature of around 68 degrees year-round, it’s an ideal place for a refreshing swim. The shallow end is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, while adults can enjoy a dip in the deeper areas.
Insider tip: Bring along swim shoes as the pool’s bottom can be rocky and slippery. It’s also advisable to arrive early, especially on hot summer days, as it tends to get crowded.
3. Austin Zoo
What it is: The Austin Zoo is a rescue zoo and animal sanctuary that is home to more than 300 animals across over 100 different species.
Why you should visit: This zoo provides a unique experience for kids to learn about animals from different parts of the world as well as the importance of conservation. You’ll find everything from lions and tigers to monkeys and birds here.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the daily feeding times, which can be a highlight for many kids. Also, consider bringing a picnic lunch as there are several shaded areas perfect for a family meal.
4. Altitude Trampoline Park
What it is: Altitude Trampoline Park is an indoor park filled with trampolines, foam pits, and other fun activities.
Why you should visit: It’s a great place for active toddlers and preschoolers to burn off energy. They can bounce on trampolines, dive into foam pits, climb on the rock wall, and even play a game of dodgeball.
Insider tip: Check their website for special toddler times, where the park is open exclusively for little ones.
5. Mayfield Park
What it is: Mayfield Park is a public park that is home to beautiful gardens, historic buildings, and a resident peacock flock.
Why you should visit: Kids will love watching the peacocks strut around. The park also has walking trails, ponds filled with koi fish, and stunning gardens that make it a peaceful spot for a family day out.
Insider tip: Be sure to bring a camera to capture pictures of your kids with the peacocks. Also, pack a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful gardens.
6. Austin Nature & Science Center
What it is: The Austin Nature & Science Center is a dedicated space for families to explore the natural world through a variety of exhibits and activities.
Why you should visit: The center offers a number of hands-on exhibits where kids can dig for dinosaur bones, meet local wildlife, and even explore the universe.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the Dino Pit, a sand pit filled with replica dinosaur bones that kids can dig up. It’s the perfect spot for budding paleontologists.
7. Toy Joy
What it is: Toy Joy is a long-standing Austin toy store known for its eclectic mix of toys and collectibles.
Why you should visit: With its wide range of toys, games, and collectibles, Toy Joy can keep your little ones engaged for hours. From classic toys to the latest trends, there’s something for every child here.
Insider tip: Don’t forget to check out Yummi Joy, the candy store located right next door. It’s packed with a wide range of candies, chocolates, and vegan ice cream.
For Elementary School Kids
8. Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail
What it is: The Lady Bird Lake Hike-and-Bike Trail is a 10-mile long, scenic trail that loops around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin.
Why you should visit: This trail offers stunning views of the lake and downtown Austin. It’s perfect for a family bike ride or a leisurely walk. You can also spot a variety of birds along the trail, making it a great place for young birdwatchers.
Insider tip: Consider renting bikes or bringing your own to cover more ground. There are several places near the trail where you can rent kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes for a fun water adventure.
What it is: Wonderspaces is an interactive art show that presents a new way to experience art. They collaborate with artists from around the world to create immersive, thought-provoking works of art.
Why you should visit: This unique experience features a rotating selection of extraordinary artwork from artists all over the world. Each piece is designed to be interactive, allowing visitors to become a part of the art.
Insider tip: Tickets can sell out, so it’s best to purchase them online in advance. Also, plan to spend at least 90 minutes exploring the various exhibits.
10. Inner Space Cavern
What it is: Inner Space Cavern is a karst cave located in Georgetown, Texas. Discovered in 1963, it is one of the best-preserved caves in Texas.
Why you should visit: A guided tour of this cavern takes you through stunning stalactites, stalagmites, and other unique formations. It’s a fascinating journey into the underground world that will pique your child’s interest in geology.
Insider tip: Wear comfortable shoes as you’ll be walking on uneven terrain. Also, bring a light jacket as the temperature inside the cavern is usually around 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. Science Mill
What it is: The Science Mill is a family destination located in the heart of the Texas Hill Country. It offers a fun, interactive learning environment for all ages.
Why you should visit: This museum makes learning about science, technology, engineering, and math exciting and fun. With over 50 interactive exhibits, a 3D theater, and an outdoor science park, there’s something to engage every young scientist.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the BioLab where kids can engage in hands-on biology-based activities.
12. Austin Aquarium
What it is: The Austin Aquarium provides children and families access to a variety of species from the rainforests and oceans of the world.
Why you should visit: Kids can feed koi, touch stingrays, and even have a bird perch on their shoulder. It’s a great place to learn about marine life and conservation.
Insider tip: Check out their website for feeding times and special events. Check out our site for: Austin Aquarium Coupons and Discounts + Free Tickets
13. Zilker Botanical Garden
What it is: The Zilker Botanical Garden, often called “the jewel in the heart of Austin”, is a beautiful 26-acre garden set within Zilker Park.
Why you should visit: The garden features a variety of themed gardens, including a Japanese garden, rose garden, and dinosaur garden. It’s a great place for kids to learn about different types of plants, and it offers plenty of beautiful spots for a picnic.
Insider tip: Bring a camera for some great photo ops. Also, wear comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking involved.
14. Dinosaur Park
What it is: The Dinosaur Park is an outdoor museum filled with life-sized dinosaur replicas. It’s located in Cedar Creek, just a short drive from Austin.
Why you should visit: Kids can learn about different types of dinosaurs as they explore the park. There’s also a fossil-dig area where kids can unearth replica fossils.
Insider tip: Pack a lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables. Also, bring bug spray and sunscreen, especially in the summer.
For Middle School Kids
15. Bullock Texas State History Museum
What it is: The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a dynamic educational institution that engages visitors in the exciting Story of Texas through a variety of exhibits, films, and programs.
Why you should visit: The museum offers three floors of interactive exhibits that present Texas history from prehistoric times to the present. It’s a great way for kids to learn about the state’s rich history in a fun and engaging way.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the Texas Spirit Theater, which offers multi-sensory films that truly bring Texas history to life.
16. Austin Rock Gym
What it is: Austin Rock Gym offers indoor climbing instruction for all ages and abilities.
Why you should visit: Climbing is a great way for kids to build strength, improve problem-solving skills, and gain confidence. The gym offers various climbing routes, catering to both beginners and experienced climbers.
Insider tip: Be sure to wear comfortable clothes that allow for a full range of motion. All necessary climbing equipment can be rented at the gym.
17. Blanton Museum of Art
What it is: The Blanton Museum of Art, part of the University of Texas at Austin, is one of the foremost university art museums in the country and holds the largest public collection in Central Texas.
Why you should visit: The museum offers a wide array of art, from ancient Greek pottery to contemporary works. It’s a great way to introduce kids to different styles and periods of art.
Insider tip: Admission is free on Thursdays, and every third Thursday the museum stays open until 9 pm.
18. McKinney Falls State Park
What it is: McKinney Falls State Park is a state park located at the southeastern edge of Austin, Texas, around the confluence of Onion Creek and Williamson Creek.
Why you should visit: The park offers hiking, camping, fishing, mountain biking, and more. Kids can learn about local flora and fauna, explore the falls, and even search for fossils.
Insider tip: Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit and towels. The Lower Falls swimming area is perfect for cooling off on a hot day.
19. Austin Panic Room
What it is: Austin Panic Room offers live escape games where participants are locked in a room and have to use elements within the room to solve a series of puzzles and escape within a set time limit.
Why you should visit: Escape rooms are a fun way to encourage teamwork, problem-solving, and critical thinking. It’s also a unique and exciting activity that kids will love.
Insider tip: Be sure to book your escape room experience in advance as they often sell out.
20. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
What it is: Lake Travis Zipline Adventures offers a chance to zip across incredible canyons and inlets of Lake Travis.
Why you should visit: For thrill-seeking kids, ziplining over Lake Travis is an unforgettable experience. It’s not only fun but also offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding areas.
Insider tip: Wear closed-toe shoes and bring a change of clothes as you might get wet during the adventure.
21. The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria
What it is: The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria is a unique art museum that features rotating contemporary art exhibitions, as well as an outdoor sculpture park.
Why you should visit: Kids can explore the grounds, discover new art, and even participate in hands-on art activities. The beautiful setting on the shores of Lake Austin also makes it a peaceful place for a family outing.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the Art Lab, where families can create their own art inspired by the works on display.
22. Austin Bat Bridge
What it is: The Congress Avenue Bridge, also known as the Austin Bat Bridge, houses the largest urban bat colony in North America. Every evening from spring to fall, visitors can watch as 1.5 million bats fly out from under the bridge at dusk.
Why you should visit: It’s a truly unique and memorable experience to see such a large number of bats take flight at once. It’s also a great opportunity for kids to learn more about these fascinating creatures.
Insider tip: Be sure to arrive early to get a good viewing spot. Also, consider bringing a blanket to sit on and some bug spray.
For High School Kids
23. Texas State Capitol
What it is: The Texas State Capitol, located in Downtown Austin, is the fourth building to serve as the seat of Texas government. It houses the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor.
Why you should visit: A guided tour of the Capitol offers a look into Texas history and the legislative process. The architecture and the grounds are also impressive.
Insider tip: Guided tours are free and depart from the South Foyer, but you can also explore the building on your own.
24. Graffiti Park at Castle Hill
What it is: Also known as HOPE Outdoor Gallery, this community paint park is one of the largest outdoor galleries in Texas. It’s dedicated to positive, educational messages and collaborations that reflect the spirit of the community.
Why you should visit: This park provides a canvas for local artists and is a unique place to experience Austin’s vibrant art scene. It’s also a great spot for some interesting photo ops.
Insider tip: Wear sturdy shoes as the area can be a bit rough. Keep in mind that the artwork here changes regularly, so there’s always something new to see.
25. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
What it is: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema is a movie theater chain known for its strict policy of requiring its audiences to maintain proper cinema-going etiquette. They serve dinner and drinks directly to your seat, and they strictly enforce a zero-talking policy.
Why you should visit: It’s not just a movie theater – it’s an experience. With a mix of latest releases, independent films, and classic retrospectives, Alamo offers something for every film fan.
Insider tip: Arrive early to enjoy their unique pre-show clips tailored to each film. Don’t forget to try their bottomless popcorn.
26. Mount Bonnell
What it is: Mount Bonnell, also known as Covert Park, is a prominent point alongside Lake Austin portion of the Colorado River in Austin, Texas. It has been a popular tourist destination since the 1850s.
Why you should visit: The peak offers spectacular views of the city of Austin, Lake Austin, and the surrounding hills. It’s a great spot for a picnic or a sunset view. It’s one of our favorite spots, which is why we included it on our list of top views in Austin.
Insider tip: It’s a bit of a climb to the top (over 100 stairs), so wear comfortable shoes and bring some water.
27. Austin Food Truck Parks
What it is: Austin is famous for its food truck culture, with several parks dedicated to these mobile restaurants throughout the city.
Why you should visit: From gourmet donuts to savory BBQ, Austin’s food trucks offer a wide variety of delicious options. It’s a fun way to explore the city’s diverse culinary scene.
Insider tip: Some popular food truck parks include Rainey Street, South Congress, and The Picnic. Be sure to check the operating hours as they can vary.
28. Circuit of The Americas
What it is: The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is a world-class destination for performance, education, and business. It is the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the U.S.
Why you should visit: COTA offers a variety of motorsport events throughout the year, including the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. It’s also home to the largest outdoor amphitheater in Central Texas.
Insider tip: Check their calendar for upcoming events and races. If there’s no event when you visit, consider taking a tour of the facility.
29. Barton Creek Greenbelt
What it is: The Barton Creek Greenbelt contains 12.68 miles of gorgeous trails, with the main trail spanning about 7 miles. This particular greenbelt is considered one of the best hiking trails in Texas.
Why you should visit: From hiking and biking to rock climbing and swimming, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast here. It’s also a great place to escape the city without actually leaving Austin.
Insider tip: Be sure to bring plenty of water, especially in the summer months. Also, check the water level if you plan on swimming – the creek can dry up depending on the rainfall.
30. Austin Public Library – Central Library
What it is: The Austin Central Library is a six-story marvel with a rooftop garden, technology petting zoo, cooking demonstration area, and a variety of reading spaces.
Why you should visit: Besides its impressive collection of books, the library offers stunning architecture and a beautiful view of Lady Bird Lake from the rooftop butterfly garden.
Insider tip: Don’t miss the Cookbook Bar & Café on the first floor, where recipes come straight from the cookbooks on the library’s shelves.
31. LBJ Presidential Library
What it is: The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum is one of 14 presidential libraries administered by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Why you should visit: The library offers a chance to learn about America’s 36th President, Lyndon B. Johnson, his colorful life, and significant impact on our nation.
Insider tip: Be sure to check out the 7/8th scale replica of the Oval Office as it was during Johnson’s presidency.
Have Fun In Austin!
Austin is a city brimming with opportunities for exploration and adventure for kids of all ages.
Its rich history, vibrant arts scene, diverse culinary offerings, and thrilling outdoor activities make it a dynamic and exciting destination.