Summer is here! If your kiddos are already going stir crazy, you’re not alone. Thankfully, Austin is packed full of exciting places that your kids will love. Whether you’ve got outdoorsy little ones or those who love to learn, there is a perfect destination for everyone. Enjoy basking in the sun, exploring exhibits at the local museum, or both!
There’s no limit to the adventures you can have in ATX. Gather up the family and get ready to have some amazing summer fun! Check out these 10 things to do in Austin with kids for ideas that will make this summer a blast.
Invite your little one to play and learn at Thinkery, a museum specially designed just for kids! This incredible Austin staple has been introducing kids of all ages to STEM and STEAM concepts since 1983. Featuring exhibits, experiments, and activities, it’s easy to spend hours with kids of any age. Check out Thinkery on community night and explore exhibits for FREE every Sunday from 3 pm- 5 pm.
Located at 1830 Simond Ave just off Mueller Blvd near Mueller Lake Park. Enjoy a short walk in the park or stop by Kerby Lane or Colleen’s Kitchen for a bite to eat. There is no shortage of fun when you visit Thinkery!
Barton Springs Pool serves Austinites and visitors alike. Featuring beautiful grassy areas to picnic and lounge on, crisp cool water, and plenty of sunshine, Barton Springs is a perfect summer destination. The Springs is more than just a local swimming hole though, it also acts as home to the endangered Barton Springs Salamander. A protected habitat, fun local hangout, and brimming with history, Barton Springs Pool is a great summer stop!
Located at 2201 William Barton Dr just off Barton Springs Rd. You can also check out the Violet Crown Trail and Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum while you’re in the area!
If you know Austin then you know Zilker Park. Home to Austin City Limits Music Festival, Zilker Park Kite Festival, and the famous Trail of Lights, Zilker has it all. Enjoy the vast green space and summer events like Blues on the Green or the Zilker Summer Musical. Just a short distance from Barton Springs, it’s easy to plan a full day in nature with your kiddos. Zilker Park is definitely a location your kids will ask to come back to throughout the summer and beyond.
Located at 2207 Lou Neff Rd off Barton Springs Rd. Enjoy Zilker Park Boat Rentals and finish the day off at Chuy’s for classic Austin Tex-Mex.
If air conditioning is more the vibe you’re going for, head over to The Bob Bullock Museum! With rotating exhibits, there is always something new to investigate. Don’t forget to visit the IMAX theater for the Summer Family Film Series. Check out the calendar for special events and programs throughout the summer! This museum has history, science, entertainment, and more. Open Wed-Sun 10 am – 5 pm.
Located at 1800 Congress Ave off of W Martin Luther King Jr Blvd. Check out the Blanton Art Museum or enjoy local Indian cuisine at the Clay Pit after your visit.
Known as a jewel in the heart of Austin, the Zilker Botanical Gardens offer scenes right out of a fairytale. Gorgeous flowers, streams, and ponds surrounded by lush greenery. Established in 1955 the gardens have flourished and people from all around come and gaze at their beauty. Open 9 am- 6 pm daily with late hours till 8 pm on Thursdays only.
Located at 2220 Barton Springs Rd off Mopac. Near the Colorado River and parks such as Rock island, fun in the sun is easy to come by.
The infamous Austin bats are in full swing during the summer. For a dose of spoopy fun in the cool evening air, head to the Congress Bridge downtown to watch the bats chitter and fly into the night. Bats make their grand exit from the bridge 30-60 minutes before sunset if you want to view them. For added fun, you can spring for a bat-watching tour through Capital Cruises on the bridge or even in a kayak!
Located at 100 S Congress Ave off 2nd St. Enjoy some Texas BBQ at Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que or check out the visitors center at Visit Austin downtown.
There’s nothing like Texas wildflowers in the summer. Visit LBJ Wildflower Center for beautiful views and tons of fun. The Wildflower Center offers guided tours, watercolor classes, storytime, and Nature Nights during the summer. Whether it’s exploring native plants, taking a pleasant walk, or enjoying a program with the kids, you’ll love LBJ Wildflower Center. Check out the calendar for the summer events schedule!
Located at 4801 La Crosse Ave just off Mopac. A short drive from Slaughter Ln which features Waterloo Ice House and Mangieri’s Pizza Cafe to cap off the adventure.
Just a visit to the Austin Public Library is a sight to behold. With towering staircases, a 3D printer, and a rooftop garden, there is much to see and do at the library. Sign your kiddos up for the Summer Reading Program and check out free events all summer long. Picnics, performers, and a citywide scavenger hunt are all part of a summer at the library. Don’t forget to check out the CookBook cafe on your way out!
Located at 710 W. César Chávez St. just a block from Torchy’s Tacos and the Shoal Creek Trail, a day at the library is a summer trip with taking!
Located within the western edge of Zilker Park, add hands-on nature exhibits to the summer fun list for the kids in your life that love animals. There are a plethora of programs for kids of all ages ranging from pre-school and up. Topics like butterflies or caving are just some of the exciting topics explored by the Center. For children that love to learn about local wildlife, this is a great place to visit again and again! (REOPENING JULY 2021)
Located at 2389 Stratford Dr off Mopac. For more nature visit Zilker Nature Preserve or the nearby Hartman Prehistoric Garden!
What kid doesn’t love toys? For an indoor escape from the heat, the Texas Toy Museum includes hands-on exhibits, historical toy collections, and free play on all arcade games included in the price of admission. Introduce your kids to the nostalgia of the 80s and 90s with familiar faces, games, and more! GI Joe, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Transformers are all on display like the treasures they are. Open Mon- Thurs 12pm – 9 pm, Fri – Sat 12 pm – Midnight, and Sun 12pm – 9pm.
Located at 314 1/2 Congress Ave off W 4th St. venture a few blocks down to Voodoo Doughnut on 6th St. or check out the Mexic-Arte Museum off 5th St. for 20th-century Mexican art, photos, and masks.