As a parent of a teen, I find that teenhood is a precarious balance between kid and adult. Some days I am amazed by my son's responsibility and maturity. But there are times that he still just wants to play.
It can be hard to find places for teens to go, where they can still play and have fun, but not tower over all the toddlers.
So I culled some places from my top 50 list that are especially good for teens and pre-teens. I hope you enjoy them!
1. Hot Lava
We just discovered this place a few weeks ago, and it has moved to our top list. This is probably a bigger draw for teen boys then girls, but I have seen both having a great time here. They can run, jump and swing, all while using their imagination. Participants must be over 8 after 2pm. Parents of teens 12 and up can drop their kids off for a good time, parents of younger children must stay.
As with most teen events, a pack is more fun than just one! So have them bring along a couple of friends.
2. Playland Skate Center
This was voted as the best teen hang out for two of the last three Austin Chronicle polls. I must admit, I was surprised by this. I didn't realize that the hangout choice of my youth would still be popular. The only difference is they will be skating to Pink instead of Kool & the Gang ;o)
Friday and Saturday the place is open late, which is a perfect time for teens to hang out with their friends.
3. Barton Springs
Also voted as a top hang out for teens, this is a great place for all ages. Cool off in the 64 degree water, hang out with friends, enjoy an ice cream at the snack shack. One of the most fun outdoor places for teens!
4. Jumpstreet / Jumpolene Teen Dodgeball Night
This is a great place to get some exercise and have some fun. Dodgeball is a huge hit, especially when the crowd is older.
Friday night at both Jump Street (Cedar Park) and Jumpoline (South Austin) is teen night. Jump Street has middle schoolers for the first two hour session, and high schoolers for the second, while Jumpoline just breaks the night into two sessions. So check out their website to get the details
5. Krause Springs
Located to the west of Austin, this is a great place to spend the day. We came here when my boys were younger, but as they get older, it becomes more and more fun. The rope swing is a lot of fun for all ages.
Last year they discovered the cliff jumping down a bit from the rope swing and had a blast there as well! Definitely not something for the faint of hear!
6. Quest ATX
There isn't much cooler than wakeboarding, and Austin has a new cable wakeboarding park in South East Austin. When we went, there were kids and adults of all ages, and lots of teens and young adults. Try out the morning summer camps, or come and spend an afternoon.
7. Mini Golf at Peter Pan
Mini golf will never go out of style. And old school Peter Pan has been keeping teens entertained for decades. Go in the later hours, when the sun has set. Teens will enjoy it more, and it isn't as hot!
8. Go Karting
What can be more fun that driving a go kart around the tracks at top speed? All drivers must be at least 5 feet so they can reach the pedals.
K1 is located in north Austin and Central Texas Speedway is located south of Austin.
9. Liz Carpenter fountains at Butler Park
Now that your kids are older, they can stay out later. Take them to check out the night time laser light show that runs every night from dusk until 9:45. You might even find them running around in the fountains a little to get wet (but shush, you don't need to tell anyone!)
Head to Big Top Candy just down the road for a rootbeer float afterwards.
10. Play a round of Disc Golf
Austin currently has 5 disc golf courses (maybe more) sprinkled around Austin.
Gather up a group of teens, a few discs, and let them go around the course.
11. Blazer Tag
With three stories of ramps and the new elevated Austin Sky Trail (a high ropes course), your teen will be sure to have a good time here.
As with most of these places, the later you go, the older the kids get.
12. Austin Rock Gym
This is a great place for kids to hang out and get some exercise. Kids must be at least 14 in order to become belayed certified - otherwise they will need an adult along to access the higher rocks.
13. Austin BMX Shoal Creek Skate Park
Have your kids bring their bikes or skateboards, and let them try out the ramps and hills. Or, if they don't skate, they can just come and check out all the fun!
14. Austin Public Library Program
The Austin public library has a few programs directed for teens (12 - 17). Two items that caught our eye:
Cursed! Dastardly Scavenger Hunt is on August 14th from 6 - 8pm at the Hampton Branch Library and it looks like a lot of fun. Go on a quest to defeat the witch at her wicked game! A mix between a scavenger hunt and a mystery game--teams will search for clues to lift the terrible curse that’s been cast upon the library
Warning! Loud Noises: Rock Band Battle of the Bands! on Sunday, July 27, 3-5 PM at the Ruiz Branch. Come solo or with your own band.
With over 200 pinball and other video games, there is sure to be something that interests your teen here.
16. Zilker Hillside Theater - Oklahoma
We have gone as a family for the last couple of years, but last year I noticed that, in addition to blankets of families, there were a number of teen groups hanging out here.
17. Blue Starlite Mini urban Drive in
We haven't been here yet, but it seems like a bunch of fun. Gather up a bunch of your kids' friends, pile them into the car, and introduce them to an old school movie in an old school way! Located downtown.