Things To Do in Austin With Kids: 7 Family-Friendly Activities

Things To Do in Austin With Kids: 7 Family-Friendly Activities

Not ready for that world-famous Austin City Nightlife? Be a part of the day crew with you and your little ones with this list of fun stops!

Plenty of places in Austin have scenes geared for the adults in the group -- but what about the younger generations? This list will help you get a head start on where to take the tots for the best time touring Austin, live music capital of the world!

Austin Zoo

Photo courtesy of austin zoo facebook page

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! This zoo isn't the biggest with only 360 animals or so, but each animal has its own rescue story in this nonprofit organization. All-in-all, covering around 45 acres, it's possible to get through this area in two hours, so wear comfy clothes!! Visitors are encouraged to bring their food and water, but for those who forget, a cash eatery is available on premises. Encourage their imaginations at the end of your trip with a ride on the choo-choo, a train ride going through the Hill Country of Austin for 20 minutes.

Mt. Playmore

Image courtesy of

Mt. Playmore is where children can . . . well, play more! 3,000 feet of energetic fun is enclosed inside this playscape located off interstate 35. Mt. Playmore features rough and tumble slopes, eateries, arcades, and more. While there is a fee to enter, you are free to return during that day via a hand stamp. Birthday parties are sure to be an ultimate success here, so bring the friends along too!

The Thinkery

Image courtesy of

Exciting for all ages, but especially special for those in their formative years, the Thinkery encourages your child's instinct to explore everything within reach - literally! "Hands on" exhibits use lasers, magnetic water, light displays, and more to cultivate your child's imagination. The Thinker also encourages problem-solving skills with different "Laboratories" for your children to find less-than-obvious solutions to fun puzzles. Also a same-day admission business, the Thinkery will encourage you to wear disposable clothes with different messy attractions, bring your own snacks and drink if you wish (although you must consume it in the food area) and wear comfy shoes. Depending on how enthralled your little one is, visits last between one and three hours.

The Thinkery is located at the Meredith Learning Laboratory, 1830 Simond Avunue, Austin Tx

Barton Springs Pool

Photo courtesy of springs

Spring-fed pools keep at a cold 68 degrees during the hottest Texas day! Cool off your little ones with a refreshing dip at Barton Springs, near the ever-child-friendly Zilker park. A river float is also available, but geared towards the older members of the group. Barton Springs is about three acres in total area, and next to it is the exhibit Splash! where interested visitors can learn the history of the springs and what day-to-day care of the area entails.

The pool does sink to a water foot level of 18 at its deepest end, but there are plenty of shallow areas to splash in as well. Barton Springs was voted "Best Swimming Hole in Texas" with near 800,000 visitors recently.

Trail of Lights

While only appearing during the holy holidays, the trail of lights is well worth a stop! These amazing displays began back in 2012, and have only gotten better since. A nonprofit organization, the trail of lights sees more people every year, causing an expansion in the area covered. Food and drinks are available for purchase, but alcoholic beverages are restricted to one spot. The trail is $5 per adult and $3 per child.

Austin Bat Bridge

Credit to Will Koz

No, really! Maybe not for the faint of heart, the "Bat Bridge of Austin" aka the AWR Congressional Bridge. If you use the little hillock below the bridge as a viewing platform, feel free to spread a blanket and eat a bite of food -- provided you don't mind the guano!

June is the best season to view our bat friends, and with a bit of foresight, feel free to rent a canoe hourly to enjoy their mass flight from the water. Swarming out at sundown, an approximate 750,000 pregnant female bats go on their nightly hunt for food, consuming an estimated 20,000 pounds of bugs. After they give birth to their pups, in August, the number is closer to two million.

Austin was quite leery of their nightly friends at first, with multiple attempts to dislodge the bat colonies, but thankfully, more eco-minded individuals prevailed . . . so Austin has come to accept and love their winged friends.

Austin Park and Pizza

Laser tag . . . . bumper boats . . . arcade . . . rock wall . . . mini golf . . . batting cages . . . bowling . . .

The list goes on and on!

No matter how much energy your tiny tots have got, they will find ways to spend it all in this all-inclusive play area. With fun for adults and for children, meet in the middle with Austin Park and Pizza.

A full buffet and bar is included as well, so feel free to drop the kids with Grandma and head back for a little special time with your significant other!

Hopefully this list gave you some ideas on how to get the most out of the capital for the whole family. Austin is known to be full of fun off the beaten track as well, so be sure to plan plenty of extra time to explore the side streets and walk the parks.

Happy travels!

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