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Things To Do In Austin Texas With Kids – Family Fun in Austin

Are you looking for family fun in Austin?  There are so many things to do in Austin Texas with kids?

If you are looking for family activities in Austin, this is the right place!

Austin is one of my favorite places to visit, basically because my sister and her family live there.  We have been many, many times!  There are so many things to do in Austin Texas with kids! 

Austin’s is known as the live music capital of the world but on top of all the live music, there is so much to see and do in Austin with kids.

Hopefully, this post will give you some ideas to help you plan your next trip to Austin Texas with kids!

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austin Texas Kid friendly

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Things to Do in Austin Texas with Kids – Texas State History Museum

Texas State History Museum

We made a stop at the Bullock Texas State History Museum!  It is one of the most fun family-friendly things to do in Austin Texas with kids!

Family Fun in Austin – Our Experience

One thing we really enjoyed was the interactive 4D theater because we were able to watch a film about Texas. In the film, we were blown by the wind and poked by a rattlesnake.  My kids loved it!   The exhibits are hands-on!  I would recommend checking it out!

Where to Park

There is a parking garage located off of 18th street.  There is a fee of $10 to park.

Museum Hours

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is open Wednesday – Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Special Family-Friendly Programs

The Bullock Texas State History Museum is a great place for family fun in Austin!  There are special events that happen throughout the year and hopefully, if you are traveling to the area you will be around on one of these days.

Family Fun in Austin

Little Texans (2-5 years) On the second Thursday of each month there is a hands-on program that incorporates movement and plays.

Storytime (2-5 years) On the fourth Thursday of each month stories and songs are used to teach young children all about Texas!

Science Thursdays- see demonstrations and experience hands-on activities from STEM experts from Central Texas Discover Engineering.

Living History Days – First Thursday every month meet Costumed volunteers representing Texas state history characters that will tell stories all about themselves.

Basically, if you are going to go to this museum Thursday is the most family-friendly day!

Texas State History Museum

Things to Do in Austin Texas with Kids – Zilker Park

 

Things to do in Austin Texas with Kids - Zilker Park

One of the first things you need to add to your “things to do in Austin Texas with kids” list is Zilker ParkThis park is gigantic! You could spend all day playing at the various playgrounds or enjoy the splash pad.

There is a train that takes you around the park.

Austin Nature and Science Center

Things to do in Austin Texas with kids - Austin Nature Center

The Austin Nature and Science Center is free fun for kids in Austin.

Hours of Operation

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This fabulous center is located on the northwest corner of Zilker Park.  Parking is located under the Mopac overpass.

Austin For Kids – Activities at Nature Center

Things to do in Austin Texas with kids - Austin Nature Center

The fun activities in Austin Nature Center include:

  • Visitor Center – Explore a Central Texas Cave
  • Dino Dig Exhibit – Sand Pit with replicas of dinosaur bones
  • Wildlife Exhibits – Enjoy foxes, raccoons, and other native animals that are not able to make it in the wild. These animals are cared for by the center.
  • Forest Trial -1/2 mile walking trail
  • Birds of Prey – Observe owls, roadrunners, and hawks along the Zilker Nature preserve trail.
  • Small Wonders – Listen for the bats that live under Congress Bridge
  • Human Sun Dial – A fun stop to use your shadow to tell time.

Barton Springs Pool

Family Fun in Austin - Barton Springs Pool

It is a great place to cool down.  It is a man-made reservoir fed from natural spring water making the temperature 68 degrees.  That is perfect for the hot temperatures Austin has in the summer.

This 3-acre pool is free from 5 am – 8 am and 9 pm-10 pm.  During the regular business hours of 8:00 a.m -9:00 p.m. entry gates charge a fee.

Admission

Adults $3

Junior (12-17) $2

Children and Seniors $1

Lifeguards are on duty during this time.

Botanical Garden

things to do in Austin Texas - Botanical Garden Zilker Park

There is also a botanical garden also known as the “the jewel in the heart of Austin” 26 Acres of beautiful themed gardens are located in Zilker Park.  The gardens are open from 9:00 a.m. -6:00 p.m. daily.

Admission

There is an entrance fee of $2-3 for adults and $1 for children and seniors.

Zilker Park Theatre

Zilker Park is a free family activity in Austin.

One of my favorite things to do in Austin Texas with kids is Zilker Park’s outdoor theater.  Every summer they feature a play.

Outdoor Theater – Austin Family Fun

I really wanted to go see The Little Mermaid a few years ago but it was really hot!  If you want a great seat you need to be there two hours before the show starts to place a blanket down on the hillside.  The show usually starts at sundown or around 8:15.  It is free to attend.

Things to Do in Austin Texas with Kids – Thinkery Children’s Museum

Austin's Children Museum Thinkery

My little kids love children’s museums!  We have a pass to our local children’s museum which will allow us to get free admission when we travel.  Check out my post on the ASTC Program and learn how you can get free admission to museums and gardens throughout the United States.

Austin Thinkery Children's Museum

The Thinkery is located in an upscale area just northeast of the city called the Mueller District.  It is a very safe area with many restaurants and a movie theater.  The museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Family Fun in Austin

Austin's Children Museum The Thinkery

My little kids had a blast at the Thinkery!  This museum is designed for younger kids, I would say if you are over eight it would not be a good fit.

Austins Children's Museum The Thinkery

Austin's Children Museum The Thinkery

Fun Family-Friendly Austin Activities – The Mueller District Mueller Market District Austin

After playing at the Austin Children’s Museum, you can catch a movie or eat dinner at one of the many restaurants around.  This area provides great family entertainment in Austin!

Muller Lake Park

We decided to walk across the street from the museum and look at Muller Lake Park.  I am so glad we did because it is full of turtles!  There must be hundreds in the lake.  We easily spotted 7-8 without having to look very hard.

Mueller Lake Park

There is also a playground that is located in this area.  One thing I really liked about it is, it was very shaded!  When it is 105 degrees outside this is really important!  Most of the shade comes from trees. This is a great Austin kid activity.

Mueller Lake Park Austin Texas

Family Fun in Austin – Austin Murals Austin Mural

The Austin Murals consist of several paintings around downtown that you can take pictures in front of.  This is super popular right now!  We wanted to go around town and capture lots of fun images but there was a parade going on.  Plus, children can only do so much especially when it is so hot outside.

We were able to stop at the most famous mural and take a few shots!

Best Things to Do in Austin with Kids- Hiking

Mt Bonnel Austin Texas - Austin kid activity

If hiking is your thing, Mt Bonnell is a really fun hike!  It may be one of the most beautiful places in Austin.  The hike was not hard, kids would enjoy this little adventure!  Mt. Bonnell is the highest point in Austin at 775 ft.  The overlook is worth the climb!

We were able to hike this and I would suggest doing this in the winter when the temperatures are much cooler than in summer.

Nearby is Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve which is known for having peacocks roam around!

Things to Do in Austin Texas with Kids – Austin Texas State Capital Building

Texas Capital Building

The Texas State Capital Building is beautiful.  If you can get a tour of it go for it.  Capital tours are available 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday -Friday. On Saturday the times are 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Free fun in Austin

These tours are free and last about 30 minutes.  There are specialty tours offered at certain times during the week such as Women in Texas History and Heroes of the Texas Revolution. Each month there may be more offered you can check by going to the Texas State Website.

Driving by and seeing it from your car may be all your little kids can handle and I think that is just fine as well! It still qualifies for the best things to do in Austin with kids list!

Things to Do with Kids in Austin – Congress Bridge and Lady Bird Lake

congress bridge and lady bird lake

Lady Bird Lake is just south of downtown.  It is a great place for recreational activities such as kayaking.  If your kids are older this would be a really fun family activity in Austin.  There are also bike rentals all along the lake and paths to ride them on.

Congress Bat Bridge

A really cool place to visit at sunset is Congress Bat Bridge.  Hundreds of Mexican Free-Tailed bats fly around!  The best time to see these bats are from early March until early fall.   Be sure to face east as that is where the bats fly out from under the bridge.  This is one of the best things to do in Austin with kids! 

Time for the Show

As the sunsets and the bats begin to fly out from under the bridge it really seems like they are putting on a show.  Usually, this begins right at sunset and can even last until 9:45 p.m.   The duration of the show can be up to 45 minutes. Just a word of advice, be sure to arrive early to get a parking spot.  It can get very crowded!

Some people even like to rent kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, or water bikes to watch the show.  There is also the option to view the bats from a riverboat cruise, the price is very reasonable.  It is an experience worth having!  The sunsets are beautiful and the show is fantastic!

Free Things to Do in Austin with Kids

Free Family fun in Austin - Nature center

Visiting Austin with kids is fun. But one thing that I think makes Austin such a great family-friendly destination is that so many things to do in Austin are free. I wanted to make a quick list of free things to do in Austin with kids.  Most of these activities are located in Downtown Austin. 

Free Things to Do in Austin with Kids

  • Zilker Park
  • Austin Nature and Science Center
  • Outdoor Theater
  • Congress Bat Bridge
  • Austin Murals
  • Texas State Capitol Building
  • Mt. Bonnell 
  • Parks including Muller Lake Park

Things to Do in Austin Texas with Kids – Let’s Go!

Austin Mural

I hope this helps you plan your Austin with kids trip!  As you can see there are many things to do in Austin Texas with kids!

If you are looking for a little weekend getaway from Austin there are so many fun areas nearby! We love visiting small towns like Buda and neighboring cities like Waco and San Antonio when we visit.  

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72 Comments

  1. I haven’t been to Austin yet but would love to visit. This is a great post full of fun things I could do with the kids too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Love Austin, but it’s been way too long…hoping to make it there in October with my friends. Love the pics…especially the street art.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I love learning about new cities. It looks like you had fun and it was only made better by seeing family!

  4. I love checking out different children’s museums. Each one is so unique. If we’re ever in Austin, we’ll have to check this one out.

  5. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Austin, and this post makes me want to go back! I remember seeing the bats come out from Congress Bridge. So cool. I’d really like to visit the Texas State History Museum. That looks like my kind of place. I should plan a trip soon!

  6. Never been to Austin but it’s on our short list.
    Thank you for sharing great information!

  7. I haven’t been to Austin yet. It looks really cool. It’s strange because I have been some other Texas cities and they all have the same mural! I have a photo of me in front of the one in marfa!

  8. I haven’t been, yet! Looks like there’s a lot of family sun things to do in Austin. We are excited to visit soon.

  9. My kids love children’s museums as well. And like you, we’ve used ours while traveling. In fact, the Vancouver Children’s museum is quite expensive but because I showed our pass, we got in for free. It was awesome. We will need to check out the Tinkery as well, that looks so great.

  10. Texas is my other favorite state starting with “T” LOL. I lived in San Antonio a few years back and only made it to Austin to fly out. I missed seeing so much. Thank you for sharing this amazing amount of wealth on things to do. We are planning trips for next year and Austin just made the list. Can’t wait to visit Lady Bird Lake and see the Murals!

    1. My sister has lived in the area for 17 years, so we have been many times and done a lot of fun things over the years!

  11. So many great things to do – you need a week! I love the daily schedules you have here – taco tour – yes please!

  12. I’ve only been to Austin once, but it looks like I missed all the good spots! Thanks for sharing the details. I would love to visit again!

  13. I’ve yet to travel to Austin, but I’ll refer to this post before I do. So many details, and bravo on the table of contents. Great idea! Just like a Wikipedia page.

  14. Looks like Austin has so many fun things to do for the whole family! I have to make a trip down there someday soon! As always, great post with so many helpful tips!

  15. We went to Austin a few years ago but only got to spend about half a day there. We really need to go back after seeing all the great things to do!

  16. What a comprehensive guide Lisa! It really covered the main points of interests for people with varied interests and for families as well. I love the view of Mt Bonnell. I can imagine hiking there before sunrise, the view must be epic!

  17. Thanks for all these great suggestions for traveling here! I will definitely reference this post before visiting! Thanks for sharing.

  18. I’ve never been to Austin and had no idea it had a botanical garden. Will have to put it on my places to visit!

  19. I am tentatively planning a trip to Austin. My daughters go to school in Waco, and I would love to visit Austin while I’m there. I think that’s the only city in TX that I would really enjoy, being from MN. A friend of mine went to the Austin City Limits Music Festival and said it was amazing!

    1. Waco is really fun with Magnolia silos and bakery! Austin has some great adult vibes, it is more known for 6th street and nightlife.

  20. I love Austin! So many things to see and do there. I’ve not visited the botanical garden yet and I’d love to!

  21. Fantastic family tips! One more to add, we love Amy’s Ice Cream whenever we visit Austin! The Mexican Vanilla flavor is incredible. We haven’t hit the museums or Barton Springs Pool yet, so we’ll have to check those out next time!

    1. Oh yes, Amy’s Ice Cream is amazing! I didn’t list too much food on this post but that is my favorite thing to do in Austin, EAT!

  22. Awesome! Something for everyone! I love that Children’s Museum, and the Botanic Gardens sounds amazing and super affordable!

    1. That is how I feel anytime I am reading new blog post from different people! I always want to go and see awesome places I have never been before!

  23. This looks like so much fun! I think the Barton Springs Pool looks like it would be so refreshing! And the children’s activity museum. I would definitely love to take my grandkids there.

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