Field trips to educational destinations such as science centers, zoos, or preserves are important to strengthen your child’s observation skills, increase their knowledge, enrich their curriculum, and expand their awareness of their own community by having them immersed in memorable, fun-filled sensory activities. 

Have you ever wondered how you could fulfill your child’s thirst for knowledge and fun in Austin and have them wanting more? In Austin, there are several wonderful places you can take your kids that are both educational and fun. Read on to learn more.

Austin Aquarium

A small girl in a pink dress with her brother looking at Koi fish in an aquarium in Cedar Park, Texas.

Koi princess” licensed through CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr by Lars Plougmann

Since 2014, the Austin Aquarium has served as the premier family entertainment center in the Austin area. You should certainly consider bringing your children to see and experience thousands of species of fish and animals such as stingrays, sharks, the giant Pacific octopus, macaws, lorikeets, amphibians, and reptiles. 

There are also new mammals like lemurs and kinkajous. And the best part is your child can pet and feed them all. Your children can watch jellyfish gently float and glow and admire the colorful corals, all without leaving Austin’s city limits. They will certainly love exploring all the interactive exhibits.

And, what’s more, while a lot of the creatures are exotic, there are also mythical ones that your children will love to meet. Make sure you meet the mermaid and go home with a selfie. Make your little one feel like a real princess by considering a makeover. Bring her to the aquarium to get her hair and makeup done, along with a princess dress to wear. In a private room, she will be pampered by her friends and glam crew. After her makeover, your little princess can tour the entire aquarium and show off her new look.

Austin Zoo

At the Austin Zoo, you can embark on an adventure with your children in a Hill Country setting and enjoy an up-close experience with rescued animals. You will be able to see lions, tigers, bears, a variety of amphibians, reptiles, and birds, and most importantly native Texas wildlife. You can also feed certain animals.

The Austin Zoo has a robust Education Department that offers virtual education programs, zoo tots, summer camps, and much more. You can have a fun-filled day in the picnic area or in one of the three venues. What’s more, you could go on train rides with your kids and also celebrate your child’s birthday at the zoo.

Austin Nature & Science Center

The Austin Nature & Science Center is located on the western edge of Zilker Park. There is a wide variety of native wildlife in both indoor and outdoor exhibits such as birds of prey and wild animals. There are also aquariums, terrariums, and other enclosures containing animals that may live in the neighboring or surrounding counties. All exhibits are open to the public during regular visitor hours with no entry fee.

There are several recreational activities for children of all ages to increase their awareness and appreciation of the natural world. Your children will experience fun-filled outdoor adventures such as balancing on logs, climbing, digging, exploring creeks, and playing in the mud and water. There are also exciting hands-on nature and science activities to satisfy their curiosity. 

So, bring your children to explore the natural environment and have an immersive experience into the wonders of the natural world.  

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The main sign outside of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Cedar Park, Texas.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center” licensed through CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr by Caomai

Also called the Botanic Garden of Texas, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is home to native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country and South and West Texas, which are used to create and restore beautiful, sustainable landscapes. The gardens support over a thousand species of insects, over a hundred species of birds, and several species of mammals. Rare and endangered flora are also conserved here. 

There are several gardens, spaces, and trails that you can explore with your children. Little House in the Central Complex is a special place just for children with little chairs and tables, reading materials, puzzles, art supplies, and nature-themed activities. There are also large pots of sand and pebbles and small shovels and screens which your kids can use to dig and sift in the open-air courtyard. This place is ideal for your children to learn about the colors, shapes, smells, and textures of nature through exploration and play.

There is also the Luci and Ian Family Garden that serves to connect families and children to the natural world by organizing several educational and interactive events. There are several interesting features in this garden that are made of natural materials such as a native shrub maze, giant tree stumps to climb on and around, giant birds’ nests made from native grape vines, math-themed hopscotch, a child-sized wildlife blind, a flowing creek with dinosaur footprints, water activities, and much more.

Dinosaur Park

The triceratops statue at Dinosaur Park in Cedar Creek, Texas.

triceratops” licensed through CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr by Michael

With a unique outdoor museum setting, the Dinosaur Park in nearby Cedar Creek has realistic life-size replicas. Kids can see the skin and color variations of dinosaurs to get a better idea of how they looked when they were alive. This park is a fun-filled educational experience for kids where they can learn about these gigantic animals that ruled our earth for several million years. There is also a playground, picnic area, and a wonderful dinosaur store from where you can purchase goodies, memorabilia, and souvenirs.

There are several other activities that your children can indulge in such as Dino Dig to unearth fossils from the sand, a prehistoric I Spy game to look for dinosaur footprint clues to locate hidden items throughout the dinosaur trails, and many more.

So, there you have it. Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park, TX on Lakeline Drive just informed you of some of the coolest educational destinations in and around Austin. Did you find our suggestions satisfactory? Did we miss a favorite destination of yours — one that Cedar Park locals would love? If we did, let us know! Drop us a line; we’ll be sure to add it to our list.