Austin Moms Blog | 100 Things to See & Do in Austin This Summer

Last summer, I had a 3-month-old that I was terrified of leaving home with (don’t be like me!). This summer, I will have an ambitious 1-year-old walker that I will be dying to get of the house with. Some of these items I will take on this summer, and some save for future summers – but use this as a guide to experience all the awesome Austin has to offer for you and your littles as summer rolls in. Here are 100 bucket list items to take on this summer.

Park/ Playground/ Sports

  • Play for All Abilities Park:: This park in Round Rock is great for all ages – especially new walkers. It’s gated in with a large sand area, covered playscape (to escape the sun), and a music area that’s interactive.

    Play for All Abilities Park courtesy of
    Play for All Abilities Park
    courtesy of
  • Central Market playground on North Lamar:: Two playgrounds including a low structure one so easy for toddlers to climb on – another perk under big shady trees. Easy place to grab lunch at the café too.
  • Zilker Park Train :: If your little one is under 1, they’re free. Otherwise adults are $3 and kids 11 and under are $2.
  • Cedar Rock Railroad :: runs Tuesday – Sunday and tickets are $2.50 for 1 year or older, with those under 1
  • Kiddie Acres:: Amusement park designed for kids 10 and under. Go on a ferris wheel, ride the carousel or ponnies, or play miniature golf.
  • Mt. Playmore :: Giant indoor playscape – also hosts a toddler area.
  • Visit the play area at Domain II – outside All Things Kids
  • Dick Nichols Park:: In South Austin, extensive playgrounds for all ages with water splash area.
  • Roy G. Guerrero Park:: Interactive park that has structures great for all ages.
  • Round Rock Express baseball game:: Every Sunday is “Kids Day” at Round Rock Express home games. There are various games, inflatables and vendors are set up outside the Home Plate Gate as well as inside the concourse for children and their families to participate in. This includes free balloon animals and street games outside the ballpark.
  • Go on a family hike:: Some ideas include Bull Creek, Shoal Creek or Barton Creek Greenbelt.
  • Walk Lady Bird Lake :: It will always be Town Lake to me – but I need to check out the new Boardwalk.
  • Try a stroller workout class (Fit4Mom offers a free class to try it out)
  • Go fly a kite on Murchison Hill or Zilker Park.
  • My Gym:: Great indoor playground for hot summer days.

    My Gym
    My Gym
  • Make an outdoor fort
  • Plant flowers
  • Make bowling pins out of old Geber Puff containers.
  • Use a rainstick outside to hope for cooler temperatures
  • Make a ring toss/ bean bag toss game.

Soak It Up

  • Get soaked for free at the Water Playscape at Brushy Creek Park
  • Quarry Splash Pad at Southwest Williamson County Regional Park:: $2 a person
  • Barton Springs Pool :: An Austin staple
  • Deep Eddy:: Can wade into the pool and they show movies on certain Saturday nights in the summer.
  • Emma Long Metropolitan Park :: Located on City Park Road with a sandy area right on Lake Austin.

    Get a Boat on Lake Austin
    Get a Boat on Lake Austin
  • Rent a boat on Lake Austin or Lake Travis.
  • Make a Water Table:: You can get the materials from Ikea.
  • Little Stacy wading pool:: covered by big oak trees so you’re in the shade.
  • Take a dip in Lake Pflugerville for the “beach”
  • Lazy River at Hill Country Marriott :: If you can’t get too far for a trip, spend one night at the JW Marriott in San Antonio and your kids (and you!) will go crazy for the Lazy River there – plus they have a great wading area for the really young kids.
  • Schlitterbahn:: A easy day trip. This New Braunfels staple does not charge admission for children under 3 years of age. They also have an entire section they designed for toddlers (Schatze’s Central Park in the Kinderlund section in the West Side of Schlitterbahn and Kinderhaven in the Blastenhoff section of the East Side).
  • Run through the sprinklers
  • Make your own slip n slide
  • Get involved in a swim class :: Austin and surrounding area parks foundation offers them, as well as swim schools.

Find Some Tunes

  • Blues on the Green :: I still remember back in high school this relaxing event at the Arboretum, now it has spread to the masses at Zilker Park. Arrive early and bring a blanket and picnic. Lots of room for the kids to run around and listen to live music.
  • Unplugged at the Grove :: Every Thursday at the Shady Grove on Barton Springs you can relax in the shade of the giant pecan tree and listen to music with the whole family welcome and no cover charge.
  • Go to a music class. Heartsong offers a free demo class in June or Armstrong Music offers individual classes.
  • Have a family dance party:: use Pandora to find “Radio for Kids” or “Toddler Radio” and jam out.
  • Concerts in the Park:: Presented by Austin Symphony and run every Sunday evening all summer on the Long Center City Terrace. Bring a picnic dinner and enjoy strings, brass, woodwinds, and big band under the stars.
  • Children’s Day Art Park :: Also presented by the Austin Symphony, but if you’re looking for something earlier in the day — for just 50 cents for each child, you can head Wednesday mornings to Symphony Square Amphitheatre. There children can play with a petting zoo, listen to local musicians, watch dancers, and hear storytellers.
  • See Staci Gray or Mr. Will on a Sunday at Cherrywood Coffee House
  • Go to a Moo Moo Musica multicultural music class at Toybrary
  • Make your own musical instrument
  • Then gather together some friends and host a music class at your house

Festivals/ Parades

  • Go to a Fourth of July parade in your neighborhood.
  • Head out to Circuit of the Americas for the fireworks Fourth of July show.
  • Ice Cream Festival — Need we say more? On August 8, $10 entry gives you all the ice cream you want and kids under 8 and under are free.
  • Bat Festival :: Celebrate Austin’s Mexican free-tailed bat population. August 22 starting at 4 pm and kids under 8 free. There are children’s activities, including a bat costume contest.

Eats and Treats

  • Phil’s and Amy’s Ice Cream — While I love Phil’s for their hamburgers and Amy’s for their Mexican Vanilla ice cream, I want to take advantage of the “Parent’s Recess” where between 3:00pm and 5:30pm you get discounted prices on draught beers and wines by the glass.
  • Foodie Kids — summer cooking classes for 2 and up!

    Imagination Playground at the Farmers Market
    Imagination Playground at the Farmers Market
  • Visit a Famers Market – The one in Triangle has the water play area. The ones downtown and in Sunset Valley have Imagination Playgrounds.
  • And head to the real thing at Boggy Creek Farm or Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls.
  • Get a Snowcone or Flavored Ice. Sweet Caroline’s, Casey’s, Jim Jim’s are a few favorites.Jim Jims
  • Wine Walk at the Hill Country Galleria :: more fun for the parents (obviously), but gather your best girlfriends for this kid-friendly trek through the Hill Country Galleria shopping and sipping. It’s the 2nd Thursday of every month from 5-9pm. The kids can play in the fountain while you’re there too.
  • Visit a family-friendly brewery, such as Austin Beer Works or Jester King
  • Visit the Food Trucks
  • Visit Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress
  • Invite friends over for a “Front Yard Friday” :: host a potluck or barbeque and get to know the neighbors.
  • Make homemade ice cream.
  • Bake cookies together and bring them to a friend.
  • Picnic in the park/ backyard.

 Movies and Theatre

  • Free viewing of classic movies at the Henry Ransom Center :: Movies such as Alice in Wonderland and James and the Giant Peach.
  • Try Movies with Babies on a Tuesday at Alamo Drafthouse – Wanting to go see a movie during the day but don’t want to pay for a sitter? Thanks to Alamo, you can! At the Alamo Village, Alamo South Lamar, Alamo Lakeline and Alamo Slaughter, you can go to regular shows that start before 2:00pm on Tuesdays with your little one in tow.
  • Movie at Ski Shores :: Family Movie Night at Dusk, plus free S’mores for the kids
  • Hairspray at Zilker Hillside Theatre :: The Zilker Park production runs July 10 – August 15, Thursday-Sunday evenings at approximately at 8:30 p.m.
  • $1 movies at Cinemark Tinseltown 17
  • At the Moviehouse & Eatery, there are Mommy (and daddy) Mondays :: $6 tickets before 2 pm and quieter show where babies and toddlers are welcome.

Learn/ Create 

  • Go to the Thinkery — while you’re there check out the Early Learners classes

    The Thinkery
    The Thinkery
  • Have a theme week, where every day plays on to that theme. For example a “Dr. Seuss Week” could include Mondays as “Cat in the Hat” and Tuesday “Green Eggs and Ham.” You read the book and do an activity based on the book.
  • Organize a week where each day plays a specific goal such as “Move It Monday – play in the park/outside, Tunes Tuesday – learn some new songs, Water Wednesday – go to the pool, splash pad, play in the sprinklers, Thinking Thursday – go to a museum, class, Foodie Friday – make food together”
  • Create some “Washable Spray Paint
  • Make Cool Whip Painting
  • Play in Rainbow Foam Bubbles
  • Do some Bubble Wrap Stomp Painting:: paint with bubble wrap around their little feet or hands! Less mess and creates a cool image too.
  • Have a Kids Book Club:: invite friends over with a predetermined book and dress up like the characters and the parents act it out. Used stuffed animals/puppets if you’ve got them!
  • Learn Sign Language:: There is a signing time class at the Natural Baby Company on Wednesdays for $5.
  • Discover other cultures using multicultural books
  • Decorate a paper bag puppet and have a puppet show!
  • Play with stickers and make a card for grandparents
  • Make Kinetic sand:: less mess!
  • Free Story Time at Book People, Whole Foods, or your local library
  • Go on a nature walk in your neighborhood and play “I Spy”
  • Collect things on the nature walk and make some “art” from those items.
  • Make your own ball pit.
  • Create hand-print art
  • Go to a Children’s yoga class
  • Dance in Zumbini class
  • Get some bathtub markers and let your little create a masterpiece in the tub

Critters and Creatures

  • Austin Aquarium:: Has a big range of aquatic life in a little space that’s not overwhelming for young ones.

    Austin Nature Center
    Austin Nature and Science Center
  • Austin Nature and Science Center :: Dig in the sand in the dino pit and watch them feed owls and foxes.
  • Austin Zoo :: Get close to the lions, tigers, and bear…oh, my!
  • Explore the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Family Garden:: Make your way through the Metamorphosis Maze.
  • Dinosaur Park in Burnet :: Explore a dinosaur trail and dino dig
  • Feed the Ducks at the Arboretum Duck Pond:: And sit on the (statue) cows while you’re there.
  • Fishing in Brushy Creek Lake Park or Camp Mabry.
  • Free Petting Zoo Story Time at BookPeople:: Third Wednesday of every month.
  • See the peacocks at Mayfield Park
  • Have a mommy and me playdate at Rose and Grace Mini Farm:: play with bunnies and feed chickens and ducks.
  • Learn animal names and noises by acting like them. “Walk like a penguin,” “twirl like a dolphin,” or “poke your head like a turtle.”
  • Go Camping

There you have it! What’s making it on your summer bucket list this year? Stay cool and enjoy your time with your kids!




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