Austin, Texas is one of the hottest destinations in the south. The capital of the Lonestar State and the "live music capital of the world," this vibrant city has international tourists flocking to experience its unique culture. It may be known for the famed South by Southwest Music Festival or Sixth Street bars teaming with college students, but don't worry, Austin is filled with family friendly attractions that kids of any age will love!
What to do With Kids in Austin: The 11 Top Kid Friendly Attraction in Austin
1. Bat Colony Under the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
Congress Avenue Bridge houses the largest urban bat colony in North America. The bats arrive in mid-March and return to Mexico in early November. Every night, up to 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed bats fly out near dusk to eat 10-30,000 pounds of insect. People often set up blankets and picnics on the Austin American Statesman's back lawn for the nightly viewing. Kids and adults will undoubtedly be entertained by this unusual spectacle!
Location: 100 S. Congress Avenue, Austin TX
2. Tour Austin on a Segway
When those young ones’ little legs get tired of walking, hop on a Segway! What better way to see Austin than gliding along on a Segway, taking in the city’s sights and fresh air at the same time? SegCity Segway tours runs year-round, and there are several departures daily. Choose from different tours like the Ultimate City Tour, Street Art Cruise, Cultural Campus Tour, or The Haunted Legends Tour.
Location: 1718 Lavaca, Austin, TX
Tel: (512) 499 0331
3. Zilker Metropolitan Park & Zilker Zephyr
The Zilker Metropolitan park spans 350 acres in the heart of South Austin. It serves as a hub for many recreational activities with hiking and bike trails surrounding Lady Bird Lake where visitors may rent kayaks and canoes or play Frisbee golf. In the summer, there are often free concerts and plays, which attract locals and visitors for a fun outdoor performance. For the cherry on top, kids will love taking a ride on Zilker Zephyr, park’s miniature train that circles the grounds.
Train hours: 10am-6pm, Tuesday-Sunday
Train price: $2 for children and $3 for adults. Children one and younger are free. Cash only!
Location: 2100 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX
Tel: (512) 478-8286
4. Barton Springs Pool
After a long, hot day in the park, be sure to bring swimsuits for a dip in the natural springs Barton Springs pool. Barton Springs is a set of four natural water springs located on the grounds of Zilker Park. The pool itself measures three acres and is known to attract people from all walks of life. Rumor has it that Robert Redford learned to swim at the pool when he was five years old while visiting family in Austin. Adults pay $8, seniors and juniors pay $4, and children ages one to 11 pay $3.
Hours: 5am-10pm Daily
Price: $3 - $8, depending on age.
Location: 2201 Barton Springs Rd, Zilker Park, Austin, TX 78704
Tel: (512) 867-3080
5. Austin Nature and Science Center
Located on the western edge of the Zilker Park, the Austin Nature and Science Center not only provides hands-on educational exhibits and recreational activities, but also has a great little zoo area with local animals. Kids will love the Dino Pit with plenty of shovels and brushes to "dig" for dinosaur bones.
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sunday, Noon - 5 p.m.
Location: 2389 Stratford Dr., Austin 78746
Tel: (512) 974-3888
6. Austin Zoo
If the animals at the Nature and Science Center aren't enough, check out the Austin Zoo! The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary isn't your average zoo, it's a nonprofit rescue zoo located west of Austin. The mission of Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. It also has a petting zoo for your little ones to get up close and personal with their favorite animals.
Hours: The Austin Zoo is open daily from 9:30am – 6:00pm (February 1 – October 31)
and 9:30am – 5:30pm during the winter months. It’s closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Price: Kids and member guests pay $6.00, adults pay $9.00, and students, seniors, and military people pay $8.
Location: 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78736
Tel: (512) 288-1490
7. Mount Bonnell
Bring your comfy shoes and prepare to climb! Mount Bonnell, also known as Covert Park, is the highest point in the city. At 785 feet tall, or 106 steps, it's the perfect place to get some exercise and also view the city, Lake Austin and the surrounding hills.
Hours: 5am-10pm Monday-Friday
Location: 3800 Mt Bonnell Dr, Austin, TX 78731
Tel: (512) 974-6797
8. The Austin Steam Train
The Austin Steam Train Association provides tours of Hill Country and the Austin area aboard historic diesel-electric locomotives. The Hill Country Flyer is a 66 mile round trip through Texas Hill Country with a two hour stop in Burnet where you can have lunch, stroll around the historic town square or view the Wild West Gunfight. During the holidays, you can enjoy the North Pole Flyer featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, storytelling, hot cocoa and Christmas cookies.
Hours: 9am-4pm Monday-Friday, Check website for departure times
Price: Varies by train and class between $15 for children's standard coach to $85 for adult first class murder mystery tickets
Location: 401 E Whitestone Blvd C-100, Cedar Park, TX
Tel: (512) 477-8468
9. Kiddie Acres
Kiddie Acres has been making kids smile since 1979. An ideal amusement park for kids ten and under with rides, miniature golf, and food, it's also perfect for groups and birthday parties. Plus, some say they have the best hot dogs in Austin.
Hours: The hours vary by day but are typically 12pm – 6pm.
Price: Rides range from 1 to 3 tickets each. A single ticket costs $2.25.
Location: 4800 W Howard Ln, Austin, TX 78728
10. State Capitol
What's a trip to Austin without visiting the Texas state capitol? The capitol building was completed in 1888 and contains the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature and the Office of the Governor. Not only is it full of history and educational opportunities, but also the building itself is beautiful and fun to explore. Self-guided tours are available anytime during business hours.
Hours: 7am-10pm Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm Sundays and Saturdays
Location: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701
Tel: (512) 463-8586
11. Lake Travis
If you love the outdoors, Lake Travis is the destination for you. The lake is a reservoir on the Colorado River formed in 1942 by the construction of Mansfield Dam on the western edge of Austin. It's the perfect spot for fishing, boating, swimming, scuba diving, picnicking and camping. There are also plenty of restaurants, vineyards, spas and shopping if you'd rather relax.
Price: Varies by lodging
Location: 1415 Ranch Road 620 South, Suite 202, Austin, TX 78734
Tel: (512) 263.5833
This article was written by Lauren Gaw.