Image via Flickr by jakesmome

The Texas Hill Country is full of outstanding venues with activities for all ages. You’ll find plenty of exciting attractions on your visit that are as appealing to parents as they are to kids. Read on to discover seven family-friendly destinations in and around Creme de la Creme of Cedar Park that you’ll remember for years to come.

Austin Steam Train Association

Embark on an exciting tour with the Austin Steam Train Association in Cedar Park. These historic locomotives offer a unique experience inside a moving museum. The Hill Country Flyer’s signature ride gives your family plenty of time to explore the vintage, historically restored cars. Climb aboard and wind through scenic landscapes. You’ll even cross the trestle bridge over the South San Gabriel River and Short Creek Canyon.

Enjoy lunch in Burnet during the two-hour layover. If you’re in the mood for delicious home-style food, check out Bill’s Burgers, Wings, and Things on West Polk Street. Or maybe you’d rather pack a picnic and eat at Galloway and Hammond City Park on South Water Street, just 1.3 miles from the depot. After lunch, take a stroll around the historic town square, and you and the little ones may even catch a reenactment of a Wild West gunfight.

The Splash Shack

Grab the kids and their swimsuits, but leave the sunblock at home when you head to the Splash Shack. Everyone will have a blast at this indoor water park. It’s the first of its kind in Texas, and you can find it at 1801 Clover Land in Cedar Park.

This 10,000-square-foot oasis features a brightly colored, 30-foot-tall play structure. It’s a delightful way to spend the day, and you can save 50% on admission if you come on a Sunday between 4 and 6 p.m. Engineers designed the park to offer parents a full view of their kids from anywhere on the structure. No matter what the weather’s like outside, it’s always summer at the Splash Shack.

Santa Catarina

When tummies start grumbling, it’s time to chow down. Cedar Park answers the call with a variety of family-friendly restaurants to choose from, and some even offer playgrounds for the kids.

Take a trip south of the border and satisfy everyone’s appetite at Santa Catarina, located at 500 Cypress Creek Road. Try one of their family meals, like the taco tray that feeds families of up to six. You get 10 tacos with your choice of chicken verde, shredded beef, or pork picadillo, and it comes with sides of rice and beans for a hearty meal that will fill you up before your next adventure. Santa Catarina even has swings and an interactive play structure for the kids to enjoy while you finish your meal.

SunShine Hotel

A family looking through a geocache they found.

Image via Flickr by vastateparksstaff

Does your family love outdoor adventures? Geocaching is a terrific recreational activity for the whole family. Use the app and its GPS to find the geocache container entitled SunShine Hotel (GC6ZEJE) in Cedar Park. This geocache resides near Sunshine Road and Bradley Lane and is a popular home for trackables, which are items that are carried from cache to cache and have their own trackable tags, called travel bugs. Each trackable has its own webpage, story, and mission. Following your trackable’s progress around the country is both fun and exciting, and the basic app is completely free.

Kids often get bored when strolling along a nature walk. The excitement of finding a geocache and logging a trackable keeps them focused and entertained. It’s a terrific way to explore local parks and nature trails while giving your children a purpose — to find hidden treasure! When starting out, choose a cache with a low difficulty and terrain rating and a large-sized container. The bigger the cache, the more likely it will be filled with goodies for your little geocachers to enjoy.

Brushy Creek Lake Park

Located at 3300 Brushy Creek Road, Brushy Creek Lake Park is the ideal destination for active families who love kayaking and other outdoor activities. Don’t have a boat of your own? No problem. You can rent one at the park. Launch your canoe and paddle around the 38-acre lake, or drop your fishing line off the pier.

There’s also a playscape for the youngsters, walking trails, and a splash pad to cool off after an energetic family game of volleyball. This 90-acre park and recreation center offers a beautiful place to have a picnic lunch and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife.

Capital of Texas Zoo

A lion roaring at visitors in a local zoo.

Image via Flickr by izaleathem

Who doesn’t love a trip to the zoo? It’s a terrific excursion for the whole family, and the Capital of Texas Zoo at 376 Jenkins Road has it all. This privately owned wildlife park is home to more than 500 rare and exotic animals. Get up close and personal with the furry residents, including guinea pigs, peacocks, and ring-tailed lemurs.

Stop by and say hello to Tank the hippo, or experience the ferocious roar of an African lion. It even has a junior keeper’s program for kids who want to pursue a career caring for these extraordinary creatures. Lucky participants will work with a zookeeper, learn interesting facts, and even feed a baby animal. The Capital of Texas Zoo is open daily, and family memberships are just $99 a year.

Titan Moon Comics

Whether your family is full of Marvel geeks or DC fanatics, you should definitely check out Titan Moon Comics for a terrific selection of new and vintage graphic novels, games and gaming supplies, action figures, collectibles, and novelties.

Located at 1540 Cypress Creek Road, this store hosts a ton of events that center around gaming and comics. These regularly scheduled programs and activities include Pokemon Days, MtG Commander Nights, and Force of Will Open Play. Titan Moon Comics even hosts a monthly Kid’s Club get-together that will keep your kids entertained while you search for your next comic or graphic novel.