Fun in the Sun: 10 Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer in Austin, Texas

summer in austin1. Children’s Day Art Park – On Wednesday mornings 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. bring your children to Symphony Square at 1101 Red River Street for the Austin Symphony’s Children’s Day Art Park. Children can visit the “instrument petting zoo”, meet Austin Symphony musicians, create their own art projects and cool off for 10 cent lemonade. Entry is 50 cents for kids and free for adults accompanying a child. For more information and a list of performers visit

2. Thinkery – If you haven’t had a chance during the school year, now is the time to explore the Thinkery, formerly known as the Austin Children’s Museum. Located in east Austin in the Mueller Development, the 40,000 square foot museum has expanded summer hours and in addition to interactive exhibits revolving around STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) has a free-flowing water splash zone sure to beat the summer heat. For more information visit

3. Peter Pan Golf – Check out the facelift this South Austin institution received this year with fresh Astroturf, new obstacles and sculptures on both its 18-hole courses. Feel free to bring coolers for own refreshments, but no glass containers allowed. One important tip is to bring cash; no credit cards accepted. 1207 Barton Springs Road,

4. Texas Memorial Museum – Located on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, this museum houses exhibits on dinosaurs and fossils, Texas wildlife, gems and minerals, and a working Paleontology Lab where visitors can interact with scientists as they prepare fossil finds. Spotlighted in the exhibits are spectacular science specimens found in Texas, including the largest flying creature ever found—the Texas Pterosaur, with a wingspan of nearly 40 feet– and the 30-foot Mosasaur that swam the shallow sea that once covered most of the state. Best of all admission is free! 2400 Trinity Street,

5. Zilker Zephyr – In operation for more than 50 years, the Zilker Zephyr miniature train is an Austin institution. This kid-friendly train chugs along through Zilker Park providing an enjoyable ride for its passengers of all ages. Your children will enjoy waving at joggers while taking in the scenery of the park and Lady Bird Lake during the 25-minute train ride. Train rides start every hour on weekdays and ever half-hour on weekends. Another cash only activity. Adults cost $3, seniors and children ages 2 to 11 are $2 and children under 2 ride for free. 2100 Barton Springs Road,

6. Discount Summer Movies – Regal Cinema and Cinemark both offer weekly screenings of family-friendly movies throughout the summer at the bargain price of $1 per ticket. Cinemark 17 at 1-35/Stassney has showings on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 9:30 a.m. of The Lego Movie and Turbo amongst others. Regal Arbor at Great Hills and Regal Westgate have special screenings of Despicable Me 2, The Croods and others on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m. as part of their Regal Summer Movie Express. For older classics such as The Wizard of Oz check out the Paramount Theatre’s Summer Classic Film Series.;;

7. Splash Pads and Pools – The city of Austin operates 10 splash pads, including those at Bailey, Pease and Clarksville Parks. All splashpads are free and will be open May 17 to September 7, 2014. There are also several notable city of Austin pools you may want to investigate in addition to those near your neighborhood. Of note are Barton Springs, Deep Eddy, Big Stacy, Northwest, and the newly renovated West Enfield pool. For more information on Austin pools and splash pads go to

8. Glow Bowl – What could be more fun than bowling with the family? How about glow-in-the-dark bowling at the Union Underground at the University of Texas Union. Black lights, disco balls, music and lasers set the scene for a fun night of bowling on Thursday and Friday after 5pm, and All Day Saturday and Sunday. 2247 Guadalupe Street.

9. Rock’N River Family Aquatic Center – Located inside Round Rock’s Old Settler’s Park, Rock-N River Family Aquatic Center is 40,000 square feet of fun. There is a lazy river, waterslides, and a water playground full of cannons, showers and geysers galore. Admission fees are a reasonable $6 for adults and $5 for children and seniors. 3300 Palm Valley Road,

10. Sno Cones Galore – One of the best ways to cool off in the summer time is partaking in one of these frosty treats. Austin boasts several establishments you can sample June, July, August and beyond. One of the oldest food trailers in Austin, Sno-Beach is a local favorite with locations on Barton Springs Road and Guadalupe. South-Austin Sno on South Lamar or Manchaca rewards customers with a frequent buyer punch card. Don’t forget – both of these trailers take cash only. Although not technically a sno-cone, another Austin favorite is Jim-Jim’s Water-Ice with seasonal locations at Deep Eddy and Barton Springs in addition to a store front on East Sixth Street.;;

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