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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.
Set along the eastern banks of the restful Colorado River, Mount Bonnell's verdant headlands dominate Austin's western topography. Also known as Covert Park, the location is a stunning progression of luxuriant grasslands, scenic waterfronts, peaceful picnic spots and breathtaking vista points. Inducted into the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2015, the lands are home to Mount Bonnell's Indian Trail, one of the cornerstones of the American War of Independence. Legend has it that the final 99 steps to the mount's top hold enchanting qualities; if a couple climbs the mount once, they fall in love, twice, they become engaged, and three times, they are destined to be married.
The amazing Zilker Botanical Garden overlooks the Zilker Park fields bordering Barton Springs Road. The garden is actually comprised of several different gardens, including the Cactus and Succulent, Xeriscape, Herb and Fragrance, Rose, Azalea, Butterfly and Taniguchi Gardens. Taniguchi is a beautiful Japanese landscape with a waterfall, running stream, lily ponds and wooden bridges. The lush, peaceful grounds are commonly perused by artists and writers searching for inspiration, and by others just looking for solitude amid the city.
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.
Spend a day with the kids that is both fun and educational — head over to Zilker Park and take in the fantastic wildlife at the Nature Center. Albino raccoons, barn owls, snakes and other furry creatures roam about the petting zoo. While escaping the urban life, wander down winding trails and past the beautiful pond. Even though this park is in the middle of the city, nature permeates the surroundings, making every adult feel like a kid again.
As one of Austin's finest attractions, Barton Springs Pool is the perfect outing for those hot Texas days — or even the cool ones. Maintaining a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius) year round, you will enjoy a 100-percent natural swimming experience with no chlorine. The grassy hillsides and moss-covered rocks are perfect for sunbathing. Diving boards, concession stands and restroom facilities are also available. When the kids get tired of the water, enjoy the play structure to complete the afternoon. Lifeguards are on duty. You are encouraged to call ahead, as the pool occasionally closes.
Playland Skate Center is a skating arena located in the northern outskirts of Austin. This recreational rink welcomes skating enthusiasts of all ages, but most of the crowd is made up of kids. The on-site daycare center means kids have fun while being in safe hands. Roller-skating classes are also available for all ages, in addition to an equipment shop. The center makes for an ideal venue for a fun-filled birthday party for your kid. Refer to website for schedule and rates.