Austin is the state capital of Texas and prides itself as being the live music capital of the world. With plenty of musical opportunities available, the city also taps into your child’s inquisitive mind through hands-on programs offered by local museums. Whether your goal is combining fun activities with learning or simply familiarizing your preschooler with old-fashioned fun, Austin’s list of children's activities guarantees a good time for all.
Austin’s Children’s Museum, dubbed Thinkery, is an innovative place where your preschooler gets his first glimpse at creative problem solving through science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM). Exhibits such as Let’s Grow and Farmer’s Market focus on learning good nutritional habits and proper balancing techniques. Austin Nature & Science Center hosts Tadpole Camp. The camp week teaches your child how to uncover dinosaur fossils, plant a garden, locate planets and observe water critters in their natural environment. Attend the annual Bat Fest in August. Dress your preschooler in his favorite bat costume and spend the day browsing through arts and crafts vendors, engaging in special children’s activities and together watch the grand finale when 1.5 million Mexican bats emerge from their hiding place under the Congress Street Bridge.
Cool off from Austin’s sizzling summer heat at one of the city’s pools. Austin Parks and Recreation Department operates 27 pools, 10 splash pads and six wading pools. Barton Springs Pool emerges as the cream of the crop boasting three acres of prime swimming space rising from underground springs. Enter Splash, an onsite exhibit that teaches your child how the aquifer was formed and why it is important to share the pool with endangered salamanders. Not only is Deep Eddy Pool the oldest pool in Texas, it is most likely the cleanest as well. Every day an alternate side of the pool is scoured and replaced with fresh well water. For a buck your child can enjoy movies every Friday night in the summer.
Music and Arts
Children from all over Austin look forward to attending Austin Summer Musical for Children. Not only is each production free of charge, the all-volunteer ensemble writes and performs each story set to music. Children's Day Art Park presented by Austin’s symphony is well worth the 50-cent price of admission. Local musicians, magicians, mimes and dancers introduce creative arts to your preschooler. The Pied Piper comes to life as he leads kids along the Lemonade Trail, and your little one gets plenty of hands-on exposure making his own funky art craft.
Entertainment From Another Era
Kiddie Acres Amusement Park eliminates adult screeching rides, providing park fun specifically for kids under 10 years old. Reminiscence while watching your preschooler climb on board the Ferris wheel, carousel and train. Plenty of junk food from years gone by is available, including snow cones and cotton candy. Little did the original 1946 owners of Peter Pan Mini Golf comprehend the course would still be welcoming young putters into the 21st century. Not only does the statue of Peter Pan still command an audience, new characters, including dalmatian puppies, wait for little ones at each hole.
- Thinkery: The New Austin Children’s Museum
- Austin Nature and Science Center: Summer Camp 2013
- Roadway Events: 9th Annual Night of the Bat Fest Saturday August 24, 2013
- Austin Texas: Pools
- Austin Texas: Barton Springs Pool
- Deep Eddy: Home
- Austin Summer Musical for Children: About Us
- Austin Symphony: Children’s Day Art Park
- Kiddie Acres: Amusement Park – Miniature Golf
- Peter Pan Mini-Golf
- Photo Credit David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images