Austin Travel with Kids
Under 13 Hands-on activities make learning fun for kids of all ages at Thinkery , 1830 Simond Ave. Science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) concepts are presented in educational experiences such as “Currents,” where visitors don smocks and Crocs to explore the connections between water and sound. Kids can build and invent in the Innovators’ Workshop, or head outdoors to scale the museum’s climber or splash in a stream.
Explore hands-on exhibits both indoors and outdoors at the Austin Nature & Science Center , located in the Zilker Nature Preserve in Zilker Park. See nature and science exhibits, dig for fossils in the Dino Pit and explore the Nature & Science Center Forest Trail.
Hop aboard the Zilker Zephyr Miniature Train for a 20-minute trip through tunnels, over bridges and along Lady Bird Lake. Little ones will delight in the train ride and a nearby playground, and everyone will enjoy the views of the park, the lake, Barton Creek and downtown Austin.
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See skeletons of dinosaurs, marine reptiles and a giant flying reptile at the Texas Memorial Museum , which houses collections and exhibits featuring the natural history of the state. Along with fossils, exhibits include meteorites, minerals and gems. The state's diverse wildlife is depicted through dioramas, mounted specimens and other displays.
Grab a water bottle or pack a picnic and head for Covert Park at Mount Bonnell , where you can climb the steps to what is said to be the highest spot in Austin at 775 feet. At the top, explore a short hiking trail and take in the spectacular views of the city skyline.
Take a dip in Barton Springs Pool in Zilker Metropolitan Park . This 3-acre, spring-fed pool has an average temperature of around 70 degrees, allowing for year-round swimming. The park also offers hiking and biking trails, canoeing, a museum and a sculpture garden.
Fans of every music genre will find something to love at the Market District landmark Waterloo Records . Discover a Texas band to love or check out a CD from your favorite artist on one of the many play stations throughout the store. On select evenings each week, catch a live performance by a local or touring artist.
What to Do for All AgesDavid Sucsy/iStockphoto.com
The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge , spanning Lady Bird Lake from Cesar Chavez Street to Barton Springs Road, is home to more than a million Mexican free-tailed bats at the annual peak in August. The grassy area at the bridge’s southeast corner is a great spot for viewing as the bats emerge at dusk each evening to hunt for insects. From March to October, view the bats from aboard a sunset cruise on the Lone Star Riverboat , which departs from the south end of the First Street Bridge.
Courtesy of Bullock Texas State History Museum
The Bullock Texas State History Museum (1800 Congress Ave.) offers three floors of interactive exhibits exploring the region’s past. The Texas Spirit Theater features special effects that bring to life the Galveston hurricane, an oil gusher and a rocket launch at Johnson Space Center.
You may have to get an early start to beat the breakfast crowd at Kerbey Lane Cafe-UT (2606 Guadalupe St.), but why hurry when you can order pancakes all day long? Choose from flavors such as gingerbread, blueberry or apple whole wheat pancakes, or go Southwest with migas, beans and rice, and tortillas. Kids eat free on Tuesdays, and entrées including mac and cheese, chicken bites and grilled cheese sandwiches are sure to please at this spot, which has two other locations around Austin.
The SoCo (South of Congress) district is a must-do for uniquely Austin souvenirs. Along Congress Avenue south of Lady Bird Lake, you’ll find offbeat local stores featuring arts and crafts, vintage clothing, folk art and novelty items. At local landmark Allens Boots , go native and outfit yourself with a pair of beautifully crafted Western boots.
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Sales tax in Austin is 8.25 percent. A 15 percent tax is levied on hotel rooms.
311 or (512) 974-2000
Dell Children’s Medical of Central Texas, (512) 324-0000; St. David’s North Austin Medical Center, (512) 901-1000; St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, (512) 447-2211; Seton Medical Center Austin, (512) 324-1000
602 E. 4th St. Austin, TX 78701. Phone:(512)474-5171 or (866)462-8784
Austin is served by Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), about 5 miles southeast of Downtown Austin. Minimum fare for taxis leaving the airport is $12.30 for up to 4 passengers.
Austin is served by major car rental agencies. Arrangements should be made before you leave on your trip; your local AAA club can provide this assistance or additional information. Hertz, (512) 247-7250 or (800) 654-3080, offers discounts to AAA members.
Amtrak train service is provided out of Austin Station at 250 N. Lamar Blvd.; phone (800) 872-7245. Austin is a stop on Amtrak's route known as “The Texas Eagle,” which connects Chicago with San Antonio.
The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus station, (512) 458-3823 or (800) 231-2222, is at 916 E. Koenig Ln.
Taxi companies serving Austin include ATX Co Op (512) 333-5555, Austin Cab (512) 478-2222, Lone Star Cab (512) 836-4900 and Yellow Cab (512) 452-9999.
Bus and rail service is provided by Capital Metro; phone (512) 474-1200 for information on routes and schedules.