Austin is one of Texas’s most amazing cities and a popular travel destination, especially for families with kids. You’ll find a whole host of family resorts, museums, parks, nature areas, historic sites, and theme parks, so everyone will have a great time. Plenty of attractions are geared toward both young children and teens or preteens and still offer some fun for adults. Take a look at the best family attractions in Austin and the options for family resorts that help you make the most of your family vacation.
Discover the best Austin family resorts
Austin is filled with exciting family resorts with plenty of kid-friendly amenities, such as on-site pools, childcare, and organized activities. If you’re planning a trip to Austin with the kids, check out the top Austin family resorts to see what the city has in store.
Relax by a stunning waterfront at a Downtown Austin resort
You can relax while staying close to the action in a deluxe studio with multiple beds for a small family. Located in a gorgeous waterfront property, this unit includes an in-room kitchen, a dining room, and a deck or balcony to see the views. You’ll also have amenities like a swimming pool, internet, cable television, laundry, and parking. The resort provides access to community amenities as well, such as a fitness center, rooftop sun deck, an outdoor pool, a barbecue area, an activities center, and a fire pit. The central location keeps you close to all the attractions of Austin, including live entertainment, museums, animal parks, and natural areas.
Stay in the heart of the city at Wyndham Austin
A downtown Wyndham Austin condo puts you in the center of the action in the city. The resort condo offers a fitness center, swimming pool, and fire pit on the property, as well as proximity to attractions like live entertainment venues, fine dining, and local museums and attractions. The condo itself features king and queen beds, a sleeper sofa, 2 baths, covered parking, and a balcony where you can see the city lights at night. Perfect for families, the condo is fully equipped with practical amenities like a kitchen, laundry, and electronics.
Find the best family attractions in Austin for kids
Despite its famous nightlife, dining, and “weird” culture, Austin has plenty of family-friendly attractions for an exciting family trip. From historic museums to nature centers to child-focused learning experiences, check out the best family attractions in Austin.
Play a few rounds at Peter Pan Mini Golf
Peter Pan Mini Golf is a quirky mini-golf course that offers exciting themes and fun gameplay for the whole family. With an East Course and a West Course, you’ll have options for which course strikes your fancy. The East Course features split-level obstacles, while the West Course features challenges with unique characters. Some of the highlights include a giant T. rex, Peter Pan, a big turtle, and a roller coaster for your ball.
Take a trip to Kalahari Resort
If you want to give the kids a fun experience, there’s no better place than Kalahari Resort in nearby Round Rock. The resort offers a massive indoor/outdoor water park, so it’s open all year, and it features thrilling African-themed rides and attractions. The kids can play on twisting slides, race on body slides, and ride down a lazy river while you relax in a poolside cabana. For little ones, the water park has a children’s splash area with slides, bouncers, and water fountains. You’ll also have an opportunity to ride Flowrider, a surf simulator that creates 5-foot waves.
Explore Zilker Park
Zilker Park is a lovely park to spend time outdoors with the kids. The park is popular for recreational activities, such as hiking, biking, and nature walks. Throughout the year, the park hosts events on its massive lawns, such as music festivals and craft shows. You’ll also find cross-country courses, picnic areas, and historical markers throughout the park. If you want to explore some of the attractions, the park is home to the Austin Nature & Science Center, the Zilker Hillside Theater, and the Barton Springs Pool.
Check out the Bullock Texas State History Museum
For some learning experiences on your trip, be sure to visit the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Named for the former lieutenant governor Bob Bullock, the museum focuses on all aspects of Texas history from prehistory to the modern day. You can see exhibits on Texas archaeological sites with local artifacts, plus displays on ranching, the oil industry, and science and space exploration. There are also exhibits on Texas sports and music, including one dedicated to the TV music series “Austin City Limits.” The museum hosts events throughout the year, such as historic festivals, art shows, and Halloween events.
Find excitement at Circuit of the Americas
If you want some thrills, visit Circuit of the Americas, a motorsports track that hosts many national and international events, such as the IndyCar Classic, the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, NASCAR, FIM Road Racing World Championship, and the Formula One United States Grand Prix. The track also hosts some smaller events, so you’re likely to see a race while you’re on vacation. You could also book track experiences, such as COTA karting.
See oddities at Museum of the Weird
The Museum of the Weird is a must-visit attraction during your trip to Austin that’s sure to delight the kids. The museum features random oddities and curiosities that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else, such as taxidermy animals, shrunken heads, and exhibits reminiscent of sideshow acts, such as a 2-headed calf. Some other unique highlights include a vast collection of cursed statues and boxes and dried fruit from a tree that produces fruit shaped like a mischievous female spirit. The museum also has pieces that are rumored to be haunted.
Enjoy watersports at Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures
Lake Travis Waterloo Adventures is a unique and exciting lake attraction that boasts a floating, inflatable water park. The park features an obstacle course, swim areas, and challenging tracks to see how far you can get. Some of the obstacles include a free-fall slide, a jumping tower, a trampoline, and other agility and skill tests. The park also offers chaise lounges, lakefront umbrellas, saddle floats, picnic tables, and equipment for beach games, so you can relax on the shore or play with the little ones while the older kids enjoy the obstacle course.
Hike in McKinney Falls State Park
McKinney Falls State Park is a vast state park that’s home to part of the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. The park has numerous hiking trails along waterfalls where you can see native wildlife, such as white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits, squirrels, turtles, snakes, and birds. It’s also home to impressive plant life such as sycamore trees, pecan trees, cacti, and the Texas Bluebonnet. When you walk the trails, you’ll see historic markers for old homesteads and indigenous sites.
See wildlife at the Austin Zoo
The Austin Zoo is a fascinating zoo with hundreds of animals representing global wildlife species. The zoo has a rescue focus and began with domesticated animals like ponies, donkeys, and pigs but grew into a full zoo over the years. You can visit several aviaries with exotic birds, see lions and tigers at the big cats exhibit, or check out monkeys at the Primate Palace. The Dairy Barn is another fun experience for kids where they can see goats, pigs, and sheep. The zoo also has a reptile house and a train depot, which provides rides on a children’s miniature train through the zoo.
Encourage learning at Thinkery
Thinkery is an intriguing museum that encourages learning in children through interactive science exhibits. Geared for all ages, the Thinkery exhibits focus on different aspects of science and community, such as the Fresh! Farmers Market, which features exhibits on nutrition, local food, and healthy meals, and Currents, an exhibit that explores fluid dynamics with hands-on activity stations that use water and sound. Some other fun exhibits include the Innovators’ Workshop and the Light Lab.
Walk the trails at Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve
The Mayfield Park and Nature Preserve is a peaceful country home and estate with palm trees, ornamental pons, and cottage gardens you can explore. You could see the interior of the home to get a feel for life in the past, explore the gardens, or walk the 21-acre natural area around the park that’s home to wildlife. You’ll also spot a flock of peacocks that roam freely on the property.
Discover science at the Austin Nature & Science Center
The Austin Nature & Science Center offers hands-on nature exhibits, recreational activities, and educational programs about nature for all ages. You can see native wildlife in outdoor and indoor exhibits, walk the nature trails to learn about native trees and plants, or see the honeybee observation hive to learn about beekeeping. The center also has a human sundial, an interactive nanotechnology exhibit, a pond walk, and a bird blind from behind which you can observe the life of wild birds without spooking them.
Find thrills at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures
If you’re looking for thrills, Lake Travis Zipline Adventures offers exhilarating zip-lining experiences over the wilderness and lake. The adventure center offers 5 zip lines, including some of the longest and fastest in Texas, to give you options for all ages. When you book an adventure, you’ll have zip lining, all the necessary equipment, water, boat transportation, and access to the lakefront property to picnic and play games.
Explore Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
If you want to get out in nature, the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is the perfect place to explore. The 227-acre preserve in Hill Country has numerous hiking trails through the plains and hillside. The preserve was created by St. Edward's University as a research center, but it’s open to the public for nature exploration and wildlife sightings. Plenty of animals call the preserve home, including the endangered golden-cheeked warbler and other native animals and plants. You can book educational tours and guided hikes throughout the year to learn more about the preserve and its role in the local ecology.
See the exhibits at George Washington Carver Museum
The George Washington Carver Museum is a fascinating museum for the whole family. The museum is dedicated to African American culture, history, and aesthetics and boasts rotating art galleries with African American art, a Juneteenth Memorial Monument, and a genealogy center. Plenty of events take place throughout the year, such as cultural seminars, educational exhibits, and art classes.
Cool off at Typhoon Texas Austin
Typhoon Texas Austin is a spectacular water park with tons of exciting attractions for all ages. You’ll find plenty of mellow rides to enjoy in the Austin sunshine, such as the lazy river and Tidal Wave Bay, a massive wave pool. Children will like the Gully Washer, a water play structure with platforms, slides, walkways, and rope bridges. Toddlers and younger children can explore Buckaroo Bayou, a small splash pad with interactive water features. The park also has body slides, speed slides, and open- and closed-tube slides.