Summer in Austin is a vibrant season filled with endless opportunities for family fun and adventure. With its sunny weather, picturesque landscapes, and dynamic community, Austin offers a plethora of activities that cater to kids and families. Here’s a roundup of some of the best summer activities you can enjoy in Austin this year.

Take a Trip to Lady Bird Lake

Lady Bird Lake is a central hub for water-based activities. Families can rent kayaks, paddleboards, or canoes and enjoy the scenic views of downtown Austin from the water. The 10-mile Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail around the lake is perfect for a family bike ride or leisurely walk. Don’t forget to check out the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk to witness the spectacular sight of over a million bats taking flight.

Explore Zilker Park

Zilker Metropolitan Park is the heart of outdoor recreation in Austin. This 351-acre park offers something for everyone. Families can enjoy picnicking, playing frisbee, or exploring the expansive playground. The Zilker Eagle miniature train ride is a favorite among kids, and is open again after being closed for a few years! Cool off at Barton Springs Pool after playing in the park or walking around the Zilker Botanical Gardens.

Visit the Austin Nature and Science Center

Located within Zilker Park, the Austin Nature and Science Center is a fantastic place for curious minds. Kids can learn about local wildlife, explore interactive exhibits, and dig for dinosaur fossils in the Dino Pit. The center also offers summer camps and educational programs that focus on environmental science and natural history.

Explore the Thinkery

The Thinkery is Austin’s innovative children’s museum that combines science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) learning through play. With interactive exhibits and hands-on activities, kids can experiment, create, and discover in a fun and engaging environment. The outdoor play area and water features are especially popular during the summer months.

Cool Off at Local Splash Pads and Water Parks

Austin’s hot summers are perfect for splash pads and water parks. The Liz Carpenter Splash Pad at Butler Park and the Quarry Splash Pad in Leander are great spots for young children to cool off and play. For a bigger adventure, head to Typhoon Texas Waterpark in nearby Pflugerville, which offers thrilling water slides, a lazy river, and a wave pool.

Enjoy Playdates in the Park and Library Concerts

Austin’s love for live music and outdoor play shines in the summer. Families can take advantage of Playdates in the Park, which is a free community event series designed to activate families with young children. Enjoy story time, make crafts, and MOVE AND GROOVE with Creative Action! Additionally, The Austin Symphony Orchestra hosts Tuneful Tales at various library locations throughout the summer, inviting families to experience the magic of the performing arts with ensembles and activities.

Go on a Food Adventure

Austin’s food scene is diverse and delicious, making it a perfect place for a family food adventure. Explore food trucks around the city, offering everything from tacos to ice cream. The Central Market flagship store on North Lamar has a large outdoor seating area and playground, making it a great spot for a family meal.

Visit the Austin Aquarium or Zoo

The Austin Aquarium is an interactive and educational experience for the whole family. Kids can feed and touch various animals, including stingrays, sharks, and tropical birds. The aquarium also offers behind-the-scenes tours and birthday party packages. The Austin Zoo is a rescue zoo that provides a safe and loving home to a variety of animals. Families can enjoy up-close encounters with lions, tigers, bears, and more. The train ride and petting zoo are especially popular with young children.

Dino Days at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Embark on a prehistoric adventure at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s Dino Days. This event features life-sized dinosaur sculptures set amidst the beautiful native gardens. Kids can participate in dino-themed activities, including fossil digs, interactive exhibits, and educational programs about these fascinating creatures and their natural history. The Wildflower Center provides a unique blend of botany and paleontology, making it a must-visit spot for families.

Attend a Festival or Event

Austin hosts numerous family-friendly events throughout the summer. The Texas Farmers' Market at Mueller offers a perfect start to your Sunday morning. Austin Pride Parade celebrated in August, and Bat Fest at the beginning of September are fun events to participate in as well! These events often feature live music, food, games, and activities for kids.