When in Austin with the family, you’ll have dozens of things to do with your children of all ages - even toddlers and infants. Choose from exploring the city’s natural environs or going to amusement parks and game rooms. Austin also has several museums that your whole group will enjoy!
Here are 27 ideas for fun family-family friendly things to do in Austin.
Exciting Family-Friendly Activities In Austin
When it comes to thrilling games and activities for the family, Austin doesn't come up short. Here are a few of the most exciting family-friendly things to do in Austin.
1. Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
Do you have adrenaline junkies in your family? Head straight to Lake Travis Zipline Adventures. It has the longest and fastest zipline in Texas that starts from a 20-story cliff and travels 2,500 feet, reaching exhilarating speeds of up to 50 miles per hour!
The three-hour hike to the cliff includes four other ziplines. Given the distance of the hike, this zipline park is not suited for young children.
2. The Escape Game Austin
If you are looking for some indoor fun with your kids in Austin, check out The Escape Game. In an escape game, your family will have only 60 minutes to find a way out of a ‘locked’ room. To succeed, you'll have to hurry to solve riddles, puzzles, and clues.
The rooms at The Escape Game are expertly designed to recreate the atmosphere that suits the unique and amusing game themes. Plus, the rooms have varying levels of difficulty so you can choose one that everyone in your family can play.
Younger children will thrive in the Playground escape room while your tweens and teens will do like Gold Rush or Classified. Regardless of the room, your family will have a fantastic time working and laughing together!
3. Inner Space Cavern
When your family enters the massive cave formed nearly 20 million years ago, they'll be amazed at the huge rock formations like stalagmites and stalactites as they walk along a paved walkway.
The experience is more than just awe-inspiring. Guides provide educational information about how such a natural wonder is formed. After the one-hour tour, younger kids can search for gemstones in the outdoor mining area or take the Saber Tooth tandem zip line ride.
4. iFly Indoor Skydiving
For family members who love a thrill, indoor skydiving at iFLY Austin is a thrilling thing for them to do! After a lesson from a skilled instructor, you’ll step into a manmade wind tunnel just and experience what it’s like to defy gravity inside while just a few feet from the ground.
Kids as young as three are allowed to indoor skydive, though this activity may be best suited to older children and tweens. Then again, who’s to say at what age kids become fearless? Whatever age, your family will have a blast at iFly.
5. Go Karting
For the speed demons in your family, bring them to COTA Karting, where everyone in your group (12 and up) can race alongside the world-famous Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix Circuit of The Americas race track! Their rental karts can go as fast as 55 mph!
At COTA, kids must be 14 and at least 58” to drive or 48” to be a passenger in a two-person kart. On the Junior Kart track, your kids who are 12 years and up and at least 48” can drive on their own.
If you are traveling with kids under 12 and don't want to deprive them of the chance to put the pedal to the metal, take them to Pinballz Lake Creek where children six and older can kart.
For Families Who Love Outdoor Activities
Austin is a perfect combination of interesting urban culture and natural beauty. Families enjoy the city's green spaces year-round. From swimming to boating to hiking and biking, the Great Outdoors is there for the taking.
6. Barton Springs Pool
Take the family for a swim in a natural spring-fed pool with an average temperature of 68 to 70 degrees all year long!
The three-acre pool ranges between one to 18 feet deep so people of all ages can enjoy swimming here. Flotation devices are allowed and lifeguards are on duty during specific hours (check their website).
7. Lady Bird Lake
No swimming is allowed at this long "lake", which is part of the Colorado River. But is a perfect place for you and your family to go boating. For guided kayak tours, look into Austin Kayak Tours.
You can rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard from the Rowing Dock, Texas Rowing Center, or the Paddle Shack.
The Hike and Bike Trail is smooth and easy to bike. It’s also easy to push a stroller on making this an excellent thing to do with infants and toddlers in Austin. Look into renting bikes at Barton Springs Bike Rentals.
8. Mount Bonnell
You'll definitely want to see the panoramic views of Austin from Mount Bonnell. Fortunately, the hike to the vantage point is fairly short. Tweens and older children should have no trouble climbing up the steep stairs, though you'll have to give toddlers a hand.
Austin’s Animals That Families Will Love
From bats to bears and everything in between, Austin has all your family members' favorite creatures!
9. Austin’s Famous Bats
Every night from April through October, there’s a sunset show at the Congress Avenue Bridge, also known as “Bat Bridge''. Witness a whopping 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats fly out from under the bridge to go hunting for food.
This nightly event is one of the most popular things to do in Austin and is not like anything your family has seen before!
There are a few ways to see the show. You can watch from the bridge, stake out a spot at the bat viewing area at the southeast corner of Congress Bridge and Lady Bird Lake or take a sunset river cruise or riverboat timed to see the bats fly!
10. Drive-Thru Safaris
About a one-hour drive from Austin is the Exotic Resort Zoo which has over 700 animals of 45 different species. You and your family can stay in your car for a drive-through experience, though it might be more fun to take a guided tour on a tractor-led tram.
The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, also a one-hour drive from Austin, has 500 animals from 40 different species from around the globe. You can do a drive-through, or take a private guided tour in a small open-air shuttle for a closer look at the animals.
Austin's a great place for anyone who loves animals! The Austin Zoo has animals one expects to see at any good zoo, like big cats, zebras, bears, monkeys, and more.
The Capital of Texas Zoo has a larger variety and is worth the 20-minute drive east of Downtown Austin. The zoo houses rare animals like white tigers and black leopards. For an extra cost, the zoo offers close-up encounters with some of the animals.
12. Austin Aquarium
With thousands of sea creatures, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and even some mammals, the Austin Aquarium could keep your family enthralled for days!
What makes this aquarium a standout is that it offers guests more than just a view through the glass of some amazing wildlife and marine life. Through their interactive programs, guests can hand-feed sharks, birds, and fish.
The aquarium also has lemurs and sloths for your family members who prefer fur to fins!
Kid-Friendly Entertainment Centers and Water Parks
Austin families love games and rides, and accordingly, there are many family entertainment centers, waterparks, mini-golf ranges, bowling alleys, and more. Here is a handful of the options you have in Austin.
Go one-stop shopping at Pinstack, a 45,000-square-foot venue with plenty of activities to keep the whole family entertained! There are state-of-the-art bowling lanes and bumper cars for classic family fun.
Your gang can try out the 24-foot rock climbing wall or the high-ropes course suspended 20 feet above an arcade with 100 video games and simulator technology. A family-friendly menu with food like pizza, burgers, and nachos followed by giant milkshakes!
14. Peter Pan Mini-Golf
Generations of Austin families have been coming to Peter Pan Mini-Golf since 1946. There are two 18-hole courses with whimsical statues along the way. Your kids can play putt-putt surrounded by the characters from Peter Pan, like Tinkerbell and Captain Hook, as well as a giant Converse sneaker, a T. Rex, a clown, and other colorful characters!
15. Schlitterbahn Waterpark
From April to mid-September you and the family can have a day of fun at this enormous water park about a 90-minute drive from Austin. The park has four separate sections, each of which is as large as most other water parks. And there are also several rivers, some of which are powered by natural springs!
There’s a staggering number of rides to choose from including huge waterslides, wave pools, river rides, and more. Rides range in ‘thrill level’ so every member of your family will find an activity they’ll like.
Every section of the park has a swim-up bar, a not-so-lazy river, a children’s area, and unique rides. You can't go wrong at Schlitterbahn Waterpark.
16. Austin's Park
Less than a half-hour drive from Austin is the 23-acre amusement park Austin’s, Central Texas’ largest family entertainment center. The park has loads of fun rides and attractions including an indoor roller coaster and a tower drop.
There’s also bowling, laser tag, rock climbing walls, virtual reality rides, arcade games, go-karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, batting cages, and a carousel for the little ones. Dine on Austin’s famous artisanal pizzas and Tex-Mex cuisine.
Museums and Interactive Experiences For The Whole Family
If you took the family to see all the museums in Austin, you wouldn't have time to do much else! Here are a select few that are sure to keep everyone engaged!
17. Museum of Ice Cream
You’ll hear no complaints from your kids at this museum where your family can eat unlimited ice cream as you move from immersive activity to activity. There is an educational aspect as 12 multi-sensory installations explain the history of ice cream.
The best part? Jumping in the museum's world-famous sprinkle pool! Have the camera ready for an Instagramable moment.
18. Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms
At this living history museum, visitors learn about authentic frontier life in Texas from costumed volunteers who guide guests through farms and towns built to recreate actual structures from the second half of the 19th century.
Six themed historic areas include working farms, a rural village called Sprinkle Corner, and a Native American encampment. Not only will your family hear stories about Texas’s past, but they will also get to ride in horse-drawn buggies, pet barn animals, and even learn how to churn butter!
19. Austin Street Art
Why head inside a museum when some of Austin’s most famous works of art are free to see on the city streets? Giant murals on walls and even the side of big buildings can be found throughout Austin, many in SoCo (district South of Congress Avenue) in Downtown Austin.
Take a family photo in front of the iconic “Greetings from Austin” mural at 1720 S 1st Street that looks like a vintage tourist postcard. Look for Mister Rogers at the “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” mural at 1415 South Congress Avenue and Aretha Franklin at the “You Got To Have Soul” mural at 1315 South Congress Avenue.
Use this guide to find the best murals in Austin.
20. Austin Toy Museum
You can bring out the child in the adults in your family at this small but cool museum. It’s filled with hundreds of toys and figurines from days gone by. Peruse the shelves and see Smurfs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Marvel characters, Star Wars figurines, Ken and Barbie dolls, and many more.
The museum also has vintage video games that you can introduce your kids to, like Pac-Man, Spaces Invaders, and Donkey Kong. They are free to play with your admission ticket. You can also shop at the museum’s large comic book collection.
Parks And Playgrounds For Younger Children
If you want to spend outdoor time with the family but not venture too far into the tame wilderness, head to one of Austin's kid-friendly parks or playgrounds. A bonus is that going to a park is one of the free things to do in Austin with the family.
21. Pease Park
Near Downtown Austin is the 84-acre large Pease Park. It’s eight interconnected green spaces with a wide range of things to do for people of all ages. You can play volleyball, basketball, baseball, hike, bike, or have a picnic.
A big hit with families is Kingsbury Commons. Here your younger kids can splash in an interactive water feature, enjoy a state-of-the-art playground, and climb a one-of-a-kind treehouse. There’s even a life-sized chessboard!
22. Dinosaur Park
Going to see realistic life-size dinosaur statues is certainly a unique thing to do with your younger kids! As you walk along this outdoor museum’s nature trail, you’ll pass by dinosaurs ranging in size from 2 feet long to the 123-foot-long Diplodocus, the longest dinosaur that ever lived.
Along the trek, your children will learn about the giant creatures who roamed the earth 150 million years ago. Your kids can also dig for fossils, romp around in the playground and find their favorite dino-toy in the gift shop.
23. Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
Mayfield Park is a fantastic place to bring younger kids who want to discover nature without them having to hike along arduous trails. The park has a 21-acre preserve and two acres of pristine gardens.
In the less manicured areas of the park, your kids can fish in small ponds, look for wildlife, and navigate easy trails paved with stone. Plus, you and your kids will be delighted by the wild peacocks that roam the grounds freely.
24. Patterson Park
Patterson Park in East Austin is a nice spot to take the family. Kids of all ages will find something to enjoy. There are two Little Tykes playscapes, one geared toward toddlers and another for kids ages five through 10.
Family-Friendly Things To Do at Night in Austin
Your Austin vacation days can easily be filled. But what about the nights? Here are a few family-friendly entertainment ideas.
25. Drive-In Movie Theaters
Going to a drive-in movie is one of the best family-friendly things to do in Austin at night. Sit on the hood of your car and munch on popcorn. Enjoy the nostalgic feeling of an American past-time from the 1950s and 60s.
Doc’s has movies six nights a week so you should be able to go during your trip even if it’s just a few days long. Blue Starlite Mini Drive-in has three locations offering a wide selection of family-friendly movies.
26. ZACH Theatre
The Zach Theatre is the longest-running theater company in the state of Texas. They have top-notch performers who put on shows for people of all ages. Your younger children will enjoy shows like The Cat in The Hat and Cinderella, while the whole family will like the selection of musicals and plays like Head Over Heels and Noises Off.
27. Austin Scottish Rite Theater
Founded in the same year Austin became the capital of Texas (1871), this theater is the oldest in the state. Younger children will love family-friendly productions like The Jungle Book and Pippi Longstocking.
With tons of things to do, Austin is a city that your entire family will love. Whatever age, whatever interest, there’s something to do here that will make your family’s visit unforgettable!