Fall Fun for Animal Lovers In And Around Austin
As the weather finally starts cooling down a little in Austin, it’s a great time to head outside and have some fun with animals. You don’t have to travel far to learn about and interact with all types of animals, from Texas longhorns to Bengal tigers. Many of our local farms and zoos host festivals and family days in October, so you can get your fix of furry friends and fall fun at the same time.
Here are the best places for animal lovers in and around Austin.
10808 Rawhide Trail (Barton Creek)
The Austin Zoo is unique in that it’s a rescue zoo that takes in animals in need of rehabilitation. The zoo has more than 350 animals, including big cats, bears, monkeys, emus, tortoises, farm animals, and much more. Hop on the Rawhide Rocket train to get a scenic tour of the zoo. Every Friday and Saturday evening in October, the zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo, where kids can dress up and enjoy an eerie train ride, haunted house and other spooky animal fun.
10300 Taylor Ln., Manor
This 100-acre working farm is home to hundreds of rescued domestic farm animals like goats, llamas, sheep, bison, cows, and ostriches. There’s also an exhibit with reptiles and amphibians, a dairy barn where you can see a milking demonstration, hayrides, themed gardens, a butterfly house, and more. The farm does not have regular open hours, but every Saturday in October they host fall family fun days with even more cool attractions.
10621 Pioneer Farms Dr. (Northeast)
Pioneer Farms has five themed historic areas, spread over 90 wooded acres, that give you a first-hand look at how Texans lived in the 1800’s. There are animals all over the farms—sheep, chickens, bunnies, horses, longhorns—with the highlight being the friendly donkeys. In October they host their annual Haunted Halloween Trails festival with three separate trails, spooky stories, pumpkins, food, souvenirs, and live music. Note: Pioneer Farms has rough terrain, so if you need a stroller I suggest a jogging stroller or a wagon.
1115 FM 969, Bastrop
Barton Hill Farms is known for their fall festival and pumpkin patch, but there’s also a Happy Valley area where animal lovers can see goats, lambs, and pigs. The event also includes corn mazes, slides, jumpy fun, games, and more. This year’s festival runs from Sept. 29-Nov. 4.
2389 Stratford Dr. (Zilker)
Located within Zilker Park, this free center has several wildlife exhibits with rescued animals: mammals, (like a bobcat and a fox), birds of prey (like a hawk and a raven), and smaller creatures (like snakes, scorpions, and insects). There’s also a dino pit where kids can dig in the sand for fossils, and ponds and creeks to cool off in on hot days. A true treasure for animal lovers in the heart of the city.
3505 W. 35th St. (Tarrytown)
This lush park is home to two dozen or so peacocks who strut around the grounds freely, fanning out their vibrant tail feathers. You might also see blue and green herons in the trees, and koi fish and turtles in the ponds. Beyond the grounds where the peacocks roam there is a 21-acre natural area with walking trails.
2434 Martin Rd, Dripping Springs
Hills of Milk and Honey, a family farm that launched in 2017, focuses on education and teaching people of all ages about sustainable agriculture. Though they don’t have regular open hours for the public, they do host classes, camps, field trips, and enrichment programs for kids ages 3 and up. Their programs include interacting with chickens, rabbits, and snuggly goats, as well as hands-on learning activities like beekeeping, candle-making, cooking, and more.
201 San Marcos Spring Dr., San Marcos
Part of the mission of this Texas State research center, located on historic Spring Lake, is to connect children and families to nature. You can take a glass-bottom boat tour and see fish, turtles, and other species close up. The Meadows Center’s Discovery Hall has a 1,000 gallon aquarium of native fish, as well as exhibits where you can see salamanders and baby turtles. Finally, stroll along the water on the Wetlands Boardwalk and spot even more animal and plant life.
1604 Fortview Rd. (South)
This tropical fish store has the largest selection of marine fish in Central Texas. There are rows and rows of aquariums with fish in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Outside in the back you’ll find koi fish, goldfish, and turtles. Even if you’re not in the market for fish, it’s a great place to spend some time exploring.