Traveling as a family can be challenging. If you’re driving, you’re going to have to prepare for some choruses of, “Are we nearly there yet?” from the back seat as well of plenty of bathroom breaks. Still, there’s nothing as fun as taking a vacation with the whole family. Vacations with kids open a whole world of opportunities and help you discover tons of new and exciting activities. If your next family trip is to Austin, you’re in for a treat. There are so many things to do in Austin with kids that you can have fun doing too.
A family vacation is never a family vacation until you’ve done one of two things: Go to a theme park or play mini golf. Austin’s Peter Pan Mini Golf has been around since 1948 and families have been attending it since its opening. The facility itself has two different 18-hole courses, one of which is a little simpler than the other and involves easier shots. Taking the kids here will definitely make you feel nostalgic for your own childhood. Its courses have powerful dinosaurs, huge whales, and terrifying pirates and scream of the same retro-kitsch Americana as Atlantic City. Psst, mom, and dad, you can also BYOB.
Are your kids obsessed with learning the how's, the why's, and the when's? If so, which they no doubt are, the Thinkery was literally made for their curious, expanding minds. The Thinkery is a children's science museum where almost each and every exhibit is a hands-on exploration into how stuff works. There's so much to do here that you might find yourself happily spending an entire day there. Whether rain or shine, make the Thinkery one of your first pitstops in Austin. You won't regret it, and who knows what you might learn.
Is there anything like a great zoo for a day of fun, learning, and getting to feed cute animals? The answer, as you'll no doubt agree with, is certainly not! Austin has three zoos, the main of which - Austin Zoo - can be found in the Southwest section of the Barton Wildlife Preserve, West of downtown. Austin Zoo has more than 350 rescued animals on its grounds, its stars being the giant Galapagos tortoises Gertie, Muffett, and Wheezy. Every day, you can visit and learn about these majestic creatures that are far too cute when bobbing for apples.
Parents, grandparents, and kids alike will be fascinated by the nightly sight from Congress Avenue bridge. Every single night, at dusk, between March and October, millions of bats emerge from beneath the bridge and fly east into the night. Austin has some of the most stunning sunsets in the world, to boot. If you make sure you're there early, you'll get to see the bats entire flight and the sun disappear over the Western edge of the city. Never again will you wonder why one of Austin's nicknames is "Bat City."
Every kid dreams of being a fireman, a ballerina, or a paleontologist. At the Austin Nature and Science Center, yours can get the chance to dig around the Dino Pit for reproductions of real dinosaur bones that have been found around the State of Texas. As well as spending hours digging in the sand, there are lots of other activities that both help children learn about these ancient creatures and get the opportunity to teach the professionals what they know about them, too. As well as the Dino Pit, there's also a wildlife facility you can visit that houses bobcats, birds of prey, and other exhibits that focus on snakes, fish, and scaly lizards.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to venture into a prehistoric cave? In Austin, you can. You can and should even take the kids! Inner Space Cavern was hidden or more than 10,000 years before being accidentally discovered by the Highway Department as they were constructing Interstate 35. Prehistoric remains and artwork are still being found on the walls of these five-miles worth of caverns. The walking tours are safe and expertly guided, with three different ones you can take. Also, don't forget your camera.
One of the most amazing things for kids to do be it in Austin or anywhere else on earth is to read. Reading expands the imagination more than any smartphone or tablet ever could. BookPeople is the biggest independent bookstore in Texas. It's locally owned, full of exciting books to discover, and hosts regular readings for all ages. As well as this, the bookstore hosts tons of literature-themed events throughout the year and signings from famous authors abound.
When the kids start getting antsy to pet some animals at the zoo, taking them to one of the five farms and petting zoos around Austin might be the best idea to put smiles on their faces. Pioneer Farms is a living history museum, bringing five different periods of Texan history to life. From a Tonkawa Encampment to a cotton planter's farm and turn-of-the-century rural village, there's so much for every member of the family to learn here. Its petting zoo also gives you the chance to feed the deer, sheep, and goats from a little cup as you pet them.
Arcades are so much fun and never get any less fun as you get older. Luckily, Austin has one of the biggest and best video gaming arcades left in the entire country. Chock-full of new consoles and vintage pinball machines, you can find just about any game you can think of right there at Pinballz. On top of all of the games, there are go-karts you can ride, laser mazes you can navigate, and decently priced refreshments that mean you can spend hours here without even thinking of going back to the hotel. Nostalgia-tinged fun with Pac-Man? Sign us up!
With swings, tennis courts, a skate park, and plenty of green space to run around, Patterson Park has a wealth of things for you to do as a family. Think about setting at least one day aside to pack up a picnic and head on down to see what's in store. Alternatively, you can pick up food at the park itself. There's even a community pool, meaning the kids can easily make friends while you plan your next moves.