Austin was named #1 on the list of "Best Cities for Relocating Families" last year by Worldwide ERC and Primacy Relocation, and with good reason. There is so much fun stuff for families to do here. With thanks to my beautiful wife, who helped me compile this list, I wanted to give some examples in order to illustrate the diverse fun things to do with your kids if you are visiting or moving to the Austin area:
A fun, educational stop for the whole family. Regular science and cultural exhibits on the level of small children through tweens. Admission is low-priced, and is free on Wednesday nights from 5-8pm.
This is located on the southern edge of downtown Austin, and it is our version of Central Park. Has a lot to offer for free or cheap for families. Barton Springs pool, sculpture garden, mini-train, sculpture garden, soccer fields, and more.
A website from Dell and the Austin Symphony Orchestra to help kids learn about music and musical instruments.
A one-admission-price fun zone with bumper boats, video games, two mini-golf courses, batting cages, kiddie rides, laser tag, rock-climbing wall, go-karts and a buffet.
The Austin Zoo is a sanctuary for rescued animals. Wear sturdy shoes to walk on the steep gravel paths, and bring your own water (no water fountains.)
The oldest swimming pool in Texas, Deep Eddy was once a resort. The bathhouse is being restored to its former glory, but in the meantime, you can take your kids to see a movie in the pool on Splash Nights during the summers in Austin.
One day, while building Interstate 35 north of Austin, Texas Department of Transportation drillers found this cave when their drill bit fell into it. Now, you can explore the unseen beauty that lies beneath us all. Carved out by years of water erosion, and decorated with many beautiful limestone deposits, Inner Space Caverns is a fascinating tour. Lots of walking, so wear comfortable shoes.
Bob Bullock Texas History Museum and IMAX Theater
This fairly new museum tells the "story of Texas," and features an IMAX theater with 2-D and 3-D capabilities. If you enjoy history, it is easy to spend an entire day exploring here.
This website contains many first-person reviews of Austin-area family attractions. You can check here if you want to know whether a new spot is worth the visit.
Farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, eggs, ice cream, and even tofu are featured at the market days at Boggy Creek Farm. Teach your children where food comes from, and learn what produce is available seasonally in Austin.
At these four Austin-area theaters, when children's movies are shown, kids are allowed to come in and eat while watching a movie. Call ahead to verify that kids can come to a certain showing; this establishment normally serves alcohol.
This educational center features many biological specimens (butterflies, rocks, fossils, shells) and exhibits, such as the "Dino pit," where kids can unearth concrete "dinosaur skeletons" from a sand pit. It also has a few animals that have been rescued and cannot be returned to the wild.
This park features many huge models of dinosaurs, a playground, and picnic areas.
With bowling, laser tag, glow golf, video games, pool tables, and rock climbing, there is something for everyone at this family fun center.
Radijazz is an "indoor playnasium" with a "lavascape," (pit filled with foam cubes, volcano playscape, and riverscape area, with lots of padded foam boats, ducks, and bridges to climb on. Everything is nice and padded (even the pillars that support the roof) to make it safe for energetic little ones. Radijazz is for children age 7 and younger, but older kids can participate if they are accompanying a younger sibling that is 7 or younger. See their web page for pricing and hours.
This museum on the University of Texas campus has a lot of good natural history and science exhibits, many of which would interest children. There are rocks and minerals, insects, dinosaurs, many dioramas of Texas wildlife. You'll have to pay to park on campus, so plan on it. It will be much easier to find parking when classes are not in session.
If you and your kids like flowers, the Wildflower Center has many nature trails and garden exhibits. Lots of beauty here!
Did you know that we have hockey teams, even in Texas? You and your kids can go see an Ice Bats game, and enjoy the frosty hockey experience, even in the midst of our 100-degree heat.
This is the Round Rock minor league baseball team. Be a fan and cheer for our team. It's a great place to take the kids, too! My son loves these games.
All aboard the Hill Country Flyer steam locomotive from Cedar Park to Burnet, Texas! Teach your kids the true meaning of "choo-choo" when they hear that powerful steam engine.