Page 3 of 6 Things to Do in Austin

16 ●●●   Play mini-golf at Peter Pan Mini Golf

This is another annual have-to-visit place.  It holds so many memories!  We try to go early in the morning or in the later evening, as it can get pretty hot during the day.  We typically bring swimsuits and cross the street to the Butler Fountains to cool off afterwards.  

Peter Pan mini golf has been open since 1948 with two different courses and lots of old style mini golf holes.  

While some might call the course outdated, I find it very nostalgic.  

And finishing the 18 holes with a snowcone in the shade makes it the perfect day!

Adult: $6 for one course, $9 for two; Child: $4 for one course, $7 for two
More details!

17 ●●● Go to a water park

Volente Beach  
Located in Volente, Texas, this water park has four fun slides, a pirate ship for little ones, a pool with water volley ball and an obstacle course… enough to keep anyone entertained for hours!  Right now, Lake Travis’ water level is so low that there isn’t really a ‘beach’ at Volente Beach, but the other attractions are enough to make this place a favorite.  Check for coupons online, or purchase tickets at Randall’s for $5 off.

Over 42 inches: $19.99, 42 inches and under: $15.99

More details!

In New Braunfels; 65 acres of slides, pools, inner tube floats, an uphill coaster, kiddie parks, and high-tech water rides, all located on the banks of the spring-fed Comal River. Voted America’s Number One water park for three years straight

Adult (12-54): $48.99, Child (3-11): $38.99

Hawaiian Falls in Pflugerville

With a football field size wave pool, 1,100 foot lazy river, speed slides, body slides, family inner-tube slides, kids’ area and lots of shade, this is a great way to cool off this summer. 

Explore the Family Adventure Trail, completely surrounded by cargo nets with your younger ones. Conquer the Ropes Challenge Course with 45 activities on 3 levels topping out at 70-feet.  Soaring 70-feet in the air over the lazy river on the big zip line or visit the Extreme Zone – free falling, rock climbing, and cargo net climbing are waiting there for you. 

Adult (48 inches and taller): $34.99 Child (under 48 inches): $24.99

18 ●●●  View the Night Sky!

Austin has a number of other opportunities to check out the stars, sun or moon.

Reimer’s Ranch – New observatory!!

Another exciting new addition!!  Reimer’s Ranch is in the process of completing a new observatory with two telescopes and a roll back roof.  They are waiting for the driveway and some other details to be finished, but sometime this summer (we hope!) we should have a new vantage point of the stars!!

$10 per carload

Austin under the Stars –  

On July 23, 2016, Austin Astronomical Society and St. Stephen’s Episcopal School hosts their bi-annual event.  Free to the public, this event offers a full experience of astronomical observation, including safe solar viewing. Over 20 amateur astronomers bring out their telescopes for visitors to enjoy!More details!


Wild Basin Stargazing

Once a month the Austin Astronomical Society holds a star party a Wild Basin Preserve. 

Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.

McKinney Roughs Nature Park 

Held the fourth Friday of every month through August. Learn about the constellations and marvel at the beauty and mystery of the universe in this spectacular free program for the whole family. Bring lawn chairs, refreshments and blankets for comfort and enjoy this family event.

WestCave Preserve

Take a tour of the night skies at Westcave, a dark sky location convenient to the Austin area. Star nights are an ideal opportunity to enjoy an evening gazing at the stars through a high-quality telescope. **Registration required**

2016 Dates: June 11, July 9, August 6

$5 per child ages 4-12 years; $10 per adult; $25 per immediate family.

19 ●●● Browse one of Austin’s fine museums

Austin has a number of museums to check out!  On those incredibly hot days when even the pools seem too warm, a cool, quiet museum can be the perfect way to spend an afternoon!

Thinkery – the new Austin Children’s Museum

Newly rennovated, the Thinkery is Austin’s new Children’s Museum.

Austin Children’s Museum provides innovative, participatory exhibits, programs, and resources which encourage curiosity, creativity, appreciation, and learning for children. 

Your child will run from the moment he\she arrives until you finally pull him\her from the museum, all the while participating in educational activities.
Visitors: $10, Children 23 months and under free

Bullock Texas State History Museum

One of Austin’s newest museums, the Bullock opened in 2001.  Learn everything you might want to know about Texas History, enjoy the special effects at the Texas Spirit Theater, or watch an IMAX production.  

Adult: $12, Child (4-17): $8 Films and Special events are extra

More details!!

Blanton Museum of Art

One of the largest university art museums in the United Sates, this art museum is fun for all ages.  If you are not sure if your younger children will enjoy the museum, check it out on a Thursday, when admission is free!

Adults: $9, Youth (13-21): $5, Children under 12 free

Texas Memorial Museum
The Memorial Museum on the UT Campus is almost a museum piece itself: dim, cool, hushed, with four floors from basement dinosaurs to the glowing gem room and the top level dioramas.  Check out the dinosaurs, rocks, and digging area.  

Best of all, this museum is free!

More details!!

LBJ Presidential Library and Museum
This museum, also located on the UT Campus, has recently been renovated.    Interactive exhibits give a complete look at the life and times of this famous president!

Adults: $8, Youth (13-17): $3

Texas Military Museum

The Texas Military Forces museum in Camp Mabry is perfect for anyone mesmerized by tanks, guns or battles!

The main exhibit hall contains a variety of tanks, helicopters, planes and more that were used by Texas forces throughout history.  Some of the tanks are still running and are used in reenactments today.


More details!

Visit the Capitol

Spend an morning or afternoon visiting the Capitol.  Start at the Texas Capitol Visitors Center, a free museum that has a lot of interactive exhibits, to learn more about the history and building of our Capitol.  Then head over to the Capitol for a free 45 minute tour.  Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the Capitol grounds under the huge pecan trees. 


Umlauf Scupture Garden
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum represents so much that is quintessentially Austin: superb art casually set in a shady garden of native Texas plants, a natural oasis near Barton Springs and only blocks from the heart of an urban capitol city.

Adults: $5, Students: $1, Children 12 and under: free

Texas Museum of Science and Technology
Located in Cedar park, this new museum opened in March 2015.  The museum currently has three main attractions, a hands-on physics exhibit in partnership with the Exploratorium, a 33ft Planetarium, and a new fossil exhibition called Timewalk, a chronological journey through the history of life on earth.  

Adults: $15, Youth: $13

20 ●●● Take a Ride on Austin’s only Steam Train

Photo courtesy of Austin Steam Train

Take a step back in time as you step on board a vintage passenger car for a relaxing journey to the past.  

Enjoy the 66 mile round trip on the popular Hill Country Flyer, with a 2 and a half hour layover in Burnet for lunch and wild west shootout!  Or hop on board the Bertram Flyer or the new Capital City Express for a shorter 3 hour adventure. 

Remember to check out the Special Rides from the annual Day Out With Thomas (returning to Burnet in September 2014) to the North Pole Flyer which pulls into town in late November.  

Tickets range:  Adults: $37 to $52, Children (3-13): $27 – $37

21 ●●● Spend a day on the UT Campus

Looking for a fun, inexpensive way to pass the day? Why not plan to spend the day on the campus of the University of Texas.

Foucault’s Pendulum
You’ve probably passed the building a hundred times on the elevated portion of I-35.  On the east side, a brown building with a red cylinder in the middle. 

The red tower contains a Foucault’s pendulum – and has since 1985. Who knew??

This is an amazing example of physics and well worth a stop.

Note: this building is on the east side of I-35 across from the main part of the UT Campus.

Play around at the UT Underground 
There are lots of places to go bowling in Austin but one of our favorite locations is at the Texas Union.  The kids love the black lights and disco ball. Plus the lanes seem reasonably priced, as does the air hockey table.  And it is frequently not very crowded.

Tour the University of Texas Tower

The University of Texas has opened up their tower for tours.  The view is wonderful and you will learn some of the history of this great campus.  Reserve ahead, as the tours sometimes fill up!

 More details!

Texas Memorial Museum

The Memorial Museum on the UT Campus is almost a museum piece itself: dim, cool, hushed, with four floors from basement dinosaurs to the glowing gem room and the top level dioramas.  Check out the dinosaurs, rocks, and digging area.  

Best of all, this museum is free!

More details!!

The Color Inside Art Exhibit
“The Color Inside” by renowned “sculptor of light” James Turrell propels the viewer’s gaze upward to the heavens, challenging typical perceptions of light, sky and space.

Monochrome of Austin
Who can resist a 50 foot art exhibit on Speedway and 24th street made up of 75 different boats.  Take a moment while on campus just to check this out!

22 ●●● Visit Brushy Creek Lake Park 

Brushy Creek Lake Park is a 90-acre park located in Cedar Park that offers active and natural resource-based recreational opportunities.


Brushy Creek Regional Trail

If you are looking for a fun place to run or bike, this trail is wonderful! 6.75 miles of trail, varying from concrete to crushed granite.  

It starts (or ends?) at Twin Lakes Park, sides along Brushy Creek, goes past the ball fields, Brushy Creek Lake park, and ends at Great Oaks Drive with a great duck pond.

Brushy Creek Skate Park

This concrete in-ground skatepark is approximately 15,000 sq ft. and includes a mini bowl, large bowl, modern street course with coloring, textures, shade and landscaping. 

We took the boys there a few years ago with their scooters, and they had a great time riding along the bumps and watching the other skateboarders!

Brushy Creek Sprinkler Pad

This sprinkler pad is probably the most fun sprinkler park in Austin.  Very large, with lots of sprinkler heads.  But this pad also tends to get very busy!!

The age of kids using this pad tends to be very young.

Brushy Creek Lake

This 38 acre lake has a small fishing pier and a canoe / kayak launching area.  You used to be able to rent canoes here, but it looks like that operation is no longer available.

More details!

23 ●●●  Go Bowling

Bowling at the Texas Union 

There are lots of places to go bowling in Austin but one of our favorite locations is at the Texas Union.  The kids love the black lights and disco ball. Plus the lanes seem reasonably priced, as does the air hockey table.  And it is frequently not very crowded.

Price per person per game: $3.50 Shoes $2

More details!

Westgate Lanes
A family friendly location in South Austin, this location often has a summer card deal giving one day free of bowling for each day in summer (only cost is shoe rental)

Price per person per game: $3.25, Shoes $3

Main Event
Located in North Austin, this location has bowling, a climbing wall, laser tag, billiards, glow-in-the-dark mini golf course and arcade.  Look on the web page for specials days that give you access to all for one price

Prices vary

Highland Lanes
Located in North Austin
Dart Bowl
Located in Central Austin

24 ●●● Fly through the air on a zip line

There are a few places around Austin to take a zip line tour.  We recently visited Lake Travis Zipline Adventures.  This is a really fun way to see the Hill Country!!

Children should be over 10 and 70 pounds.  

3 hour tour:  $104 per person

More details!

●●● Pick Some Local Fruit
Nothing tastes better than fresh fruit just picked, still warm from the sun.  They are a few places in and around town to pick fresh fruit.

Sweet Berry Farms 

Enjoy family fun by picking your own fresh strawberries and blackberries at this farm just outside Marble Falls. March – April is the best time to pick strawberries and June is the best time for the blackberries, but you can come as early as May. There will be a spring hay-field maze in May and June while the blackberries are at their peak. The location also has goats and horses for petting.

More details!

Peach Picking

There are a variety of places around Austin to pick fresh peaches.