Patrons will enjoy a huge variety of activities at Zilker Park. You can check out the hike and bike trails, picnic facilities, Zilker Botanical Garden, canoe rentals, soccer fields, sand volleyball courts, riverboat rides on Town Lake, concerts, festivals and even a miniature train. The wide-open stretches of grass in this park are just minutes from the downtown area. There is plenty of room and various diversions for the kids, so you can get a suntan, take long walks by the river or just curl up with a book down by the river.
This museum has grown into one of the most fabulous experiences for children in Austin. Find out about the development of children from birth to adolescence, climb a "time tower," and learn about everything from dinosaurs to computers. Special programs for children and their parents are regular parts of the museum's curriculum. Take tiny tots to the 2-and-under special explore time, or learn about multimedia with your teen. With excellent specialty programs and wonderful exhibits, this is a museum the whole family can enjoy.
With a collection of more than 17,000 works of art, this is one of the most visited museums in the city and also the largest University art-space in the country. It is located in the University of Texas campus and houses a large variety of Latin American art, American art and European work. With an atrium that extends 70 feet (21.3 meters) above the stone floors, this museum offers a unique, natural space. Temporary exhibits are constantly changing, with fresh work being showcased regularly. This research-based museum also offers lectures by artists, museum curators and art historians from across the country.
Enjoy a day at this educational, family friendly wildlife preserve. Austin Zoo, which is located on land that originally housed a goat ranch and started out with only a small selection of animals and has since grown into a full-fledged wild animal sanctuary and zoo. See Bengal tigers, lemurs, a butterfly garden and more! The picnic areas are perfect for a birthday party or company event.
Want to see the Austin Congress Bridge bats up close? Take a tour with Live Love Paddle, a kayak tour where your guide will lead close to the bridge so you can watch as the bats wake up and fly away as the sun begins to set. If you don't want to see the bats, Live Love Paddle has other great tours. Take the Urban Kayaking Tour of Downtown Austin to explore the city in a new way or just paddle around Lady Bird Lake.
Cypress Valley Canopy Tours is a thrilling outdoor adventure for adrenaline junkies. It consists of gliding with the help of zip-lines from tree to tree and observing the unique landforms and ecology of the natural reserve from an aerial view. Don tough climbing apparel and fly from one Cypress tree to another, some of which have a height of 328 feet (100 meters). Besides, this attraction also has other water sports such as zip-lines and sky bridges over a lake, and rappelling at the end of the guided tour. There are also separate tours for kids and teenagers. Those who wish to stay overnight can choose from a variety of charming tree houses. The hours of operation vary with the season; check the website for details.
As one of the galleries of the Texas Fine Arts Association, The Contemporary's Jones Center focuses on nurturing fine art in Central Texas. This gallery brings together artists, curators, art writers, collectors and the general public to appreciate exquisite Texan artwork. TFAA is dedicated to contributing to the growth of art and art education in the state; it offers exhibitions of modern artists, seminars and panel discussions in order to achieve this goal. It can accommodate educational visits of school students and teachers. It also offers art classes for children and adults on topics such as mosaics, photography, collage, watercolor and glass painting, metal art, jewelry design, pottery and digital art.
Austin Duck Adventures is a one-of-a-kind tour takes you through the city and on Lake Austin on an authentic amphibious military landing vehicle that carries around 20 passengers. The tour goes through downtown, to the State Capitol, the Governor's Mansion, the LBJ Library, East Sixth Street's music district, historic Congress Avenue and area lakes. Meanwhile, the tour guide gives the history of the city, along with little-known insights. Each tour last for around two hours. Check the website or call ahead for further information.
Take a tour with Lone Star Riverboat down the Colorado River (known as Town Lake in the Austin city limits) on a paddle wheel boat. This Southern style of transportation is a perfect way to take in the city's skyline. Trips are 90 minutes long and do not require reservations. Call ahead to determine the seasonal schedule. During the summer moonlight cruises are offered, as well as close-up cruises of the bats underneath Congress bridge. Prices vary by excursion, so check their website for further information.
In a town with as much history as Austin, you are destined to find some scary stories and haunted locations. This tour takes you through downtown to experience some of the ghosts of this city's past. Hear stories about famous Austinites who have died, but never seemed to leave town. Learn about serial killers pre-dating Jack the Ripper, murders and mayhem, as well as spooks and haunts of Austin's sordid past. This tour may be a bit too much for small children. But adults will find it a wonderful way to learn about Austin's secret history.
This space displays and sells the original works of local, national and international artists. A variety of media is represented here, including paintings, multi-dimensional glass art, bronze sculptures and limited edition lithographs. Paintings are generally unframed and range in style from pastoral scenes and still life to more contemporary depictions, with abstract pieces dominating the collections. A low-key atmosphere and helpful staff make browsing through the gallery a pleasant experience.
Also known as 'The Drum,' this fantastic venue is host to some of the best performances in Austin. Although owned and operated by the University of Texas, academia is far from the list of performers. Primarily used for the University of Texas men's and women's basketball games, many of the large touring music shows also utilize this space. Everyone from Bob Dylan to Pavarotti to ZZ Top has graced this stage. With a capacity to seat roughly 17,000 spectators, this is one of the largest venues in the city.