Austin is a great place for families, and the university has many opportunities for children to make discoveries, stimulate curiosity and cultivate a sense of wonder about the natural world. Below are some ideas of great ways to spend time together with your family doing fun activities.
Remember: Always bring your university ID with you on family outings because many places offer significant discounts or free admission to university students, faculty and staff.
- Hike and Bike Trails
- Urban Bat Caves — Go to the southeast bank beneath the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the country’s largest urban bat colony take flight. Arrive before sunset to watch this sight between mid March and November. The best month for bat viewing is August.
- Austin Nature and Science Center — Interact with wildlife and explore prehistoric fossils in the dinosaur pit when you visit this nature center in Zilker Park.
- Zilker Botanical Gardens
- Austin Zoo
- McDonald Observatory — Stargaze at the cosmos and learn about astronomy in the university’s world-renowned facility located in the Davis Mountains.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Parks and Swimming
- Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool — Zilker Park houses many treasures, such as train rides, playgrounds, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. You can also swim year-round in Barton Springs, 68-degree natural springs that are surrounded by beautiful gardens.
- Hamilton Pool Preserve — This West Austin park centers on a tranquil pool that is supplied by a 45-foot waterfall. It also features lots of picnic tables, nature trails, and native wildlife.
- McKinney Falls State Park — Take a dip in Onion Creek, camp out, or stand beneath a natural waterfall in this park located just 13 miles southeast of downtown Austin.
- Enchanted Rock — Check out unique granite formations and enjoy some of Austin’s best hiking at this park located in nearby Fredricksburg.
- Lady Bird Lake — Formerly known as Town Lake, this portion of the Colorado River features countless hike and bike trails, as well as numerous concerts and cultural events.
- Other Parks and Playgrounds — Check out the city’s complete lists of parks and playgrounds.
Arts and Entertainment
- Austin Entertainment Guides — Find information about Austin’s upcoming events in the city’s two most trusted event guides: Austin 360 and Austin Chronicle City Guide.
- Arts and Entertainment on Campus — Use this campus guide to find events, such as Shakespeare at Winedale, sports games and Erwin Center happenings.
- Union Underground
- Zilker Park Summer Musicals — Pack a picnic and a blanket, and enjoy a free musical under the stars every summer at this family-oriented arts event.
- UT Performing Arts Center
- Art School at AMOA — Choose from a variety of classes geared toward four year olds through adults, and taught on the beautiful grounds of the Austin Museum of Art (AMOA) Laguna Gloria location.
- Texas Natural Science Center
- Blanton Museum of Art
- Harry Ransom Center
- Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum
- Austin Children’s Museum
- Austin Museum of Art
- Tower Tours — Get a spectacular view of campus and the city from the top of the tower. Note: tours are suspended until 2011.
- Campus Walking Tours
- Turtle Pond — Kids are often fascinated by the turtles in the pond near the northeast side of the Main Building.
- Patterson Laboratories — There’s a butterfly garden on top of the Patterson Building and there are even bats in its basement. The Patterson Laboratories house cell and molecular biology studies, and you may even see reptiles wandering the halls when you visit.
- Landmarks Public Art Program — Stroll through campus and view some of the finest public art in the world that’s on loan to the university from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- Explore UT — This is an open-house event every March that lets you explore campus through tours, lectures and performances.