The 10 Best Places to Go With Kids in the Austin Area

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    Fun for the Family

    Barton Springs Pool, Austin, Texas
    ••• Kylie McLaughlin/Getty Images

    When you're running out of ideas but the kids aren't anywhere near running out of energy, check the list of fun activities below. Several of these spots around Austin combine education and physical activity, but if you just want to tire them out, proceed directly to number 9.

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  • 02 of 11

    Barton Springs Pool

    Barton Springs Pool, Austin, Texas
    ••• Kylie McLaughlin/Getty Images

    In July and August, Barton Springs is the most popular daytime hangout for all ages in Austin. The 68-degree water provides welcome relief from the scorching temperatures. For kiddos, the 3-acre pool has a huge shallow end and a designated area for floats.

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  • 03 of 11

    Peter Pan Mini Golf

    ••• NabeWise/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    It’s hard to miss the giant green Peter Pan statue as you drive by. A south Austin institution since 1946, the facility has two 18-hole courses full of dinosaurs, pirates, whales and other whimsical characters. There’s also a picnic area that can be rented for birthday parties.

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  • 04 of 11

    Zilker Zephyr Miniature Train

    Zilker Zephyr miniature train at Zilker Park.
    ••• Stephen Saks/Getty Images

    Starting at Barton Springs, the half-hour ride meanders through scenic Zilker Park and along Lady Bird Lake in an open-air mini-train. There’s plenty to see along the way, including joggers, kayakers, dogs and ducks.

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  • 05 of 11

    The Thinkery - Austin Children's Museum

    ••• The Thinkery

    With the goal of challenging children’s brains while keeping them amused, The Thinkery is a children’s museum on steroids. Kids can learn about fluid dynamics (and get wet) in the Currents exhibit while tinkering with water walls and fountains. The Inventor’s Workshop invites kids to create by offering hands-on workstations for everything from woodworking to electronics.

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  • 06 of 11

    Butler District Park

    Austin Kite Festival
    ••• The Austin Kite Festival in Butler District Park. Peter Tsai Photography /Getty Images

    The main attraction is the hilltop splash pad at the center of the park. Ideal for kids under 8, the water-spewing area is just big enough for a quick run-through, which most little ones do while screaming joyously. The hill offers a great view of downtown and the ponds at the base of the hill. Plus, there are several acres of green space between the park and the Long Center. This space tends to be less crowded than Auditorium Shores or Zilker Park. And if you get hungry, the Barton Springs restaurant row is nearby.

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  • 07 of 11

    Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary

    ••• The Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary

    As educational as it is entertaining, the Austin Zoo houses only animals that have been rescued from private homes and other settings that were not suitable for wildlife. The zoo is also small enough to explore thoroughly in about an hour. The black panther and Galapagos tortoise are must-sees. In the petting zoo, kids can feed some extremely friendly goats.

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  • 08 of 11

    Barton Creek Greenbelt

    Barton Creek Greenbelt, Violet Crown Hiking Trail large rock in the middle of the creek with blue sky and a water reflection. Trees in background and foreground
    ••• jennifer m. ramos/Getty Images

    For the little hikers in the family, the Barton Creek Greenbelt offers miles and miles of unstructured fun. Make sure the little ones wear shoes with good traction because portions of the trail meander over big boulders that are slippery after a rainstorm. Portions of the trail are shaded, but most of it isn't. So bring plenty of water, hats and sunscreen. The entrance to the trail is in the parking lot of Barton Springs.

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  • 09 of 11

    Jumpoline Park

    ••• Jumpoline Park

    If your kids have way too much energy for their own good, this is the perfect place to allow them to exercise their way back to serenity. Featuring several rooms with wall-to-wall trampolines, the indoor park has a dodgeball area, a bouncy basketball court and a freestyle section for the acrobats in the family.

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  • 10 of 11

    Austin Nature & Science Center

    ••• Amy Gizienski/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Kids love the Dino Pit, where they can dig up reproductions of actual dinosaur fossils found in central Texas. The center also runs a wildlife rehabilitation facility that houses recuperating wildlife, such as bobcats, hawks and owls. Nature-oriented day camps are available throughout the summer.

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  • 11 of 11

    Mueller Lake Park

    Lake Park sits in the Mueller neighborhood.
    ••• Mueller Lake Park. © Ana Cantú

    This park in the heart of the Mueller neighborhood consists of 30 acres surrounding a 6-acre lake. The kids will have plenty of open space to roam as well as five miles of gravel and concrete paths that wind through the park. While swimming in the lake is prohibited, catch-and-release fishing and duck feeding are allowed. Be careful around aggressive geese, though. The fenced-in playground area features standard swings and slides in addition to jungle gyms and whimsical sculptures.