If your kids love animals, spending a day together checking out the local wildlife can create a memory to last a lifetime. The area around Cedar Park fortunately features a wide array of amazing places to see mammals, birds, insects, and more. Whether you want to plan a day of hiking and watching for wildlife in a park or preserve or you want to visit a zoo that has a huge variety of interesting species all in one place, you can easily create your family’s perfect outing without traveling far from home.
Not sure where to start? Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park (Parmer Ln.) has you covered. We’ve rounded up some of the best local spots to see wildlife around Cedar Park to take the guesswork out of planning a fun outing the whole family with enjoy.
You can’t go wrong with a quick trip into Austin when your kiddos want to dedicate a day to seeing wildlife. After all, this nearby city is home to the Austin Zoo, a must-visit attraction for kids (and adults!) who love animals. This rescue zoo lets your family get up close and personal with some amazing critters, all while learning about the more than 300 animals across 100 species that call the Austin Zoo home.
Whether your kids are into big cats or reptiles, birds, primates, or anything in between, they’re sure to have an experience to remember at this local zoo. The Big Cat family here includes cheetahs, cougars, jaguars, leopards, lions, and tigers, while the range of primates includes monkeys, lemurs, and marmosets. The zoo also features other mammals such as black bears and wolf hybrids as well as coatimundis, genets, and binturongs.
That’s just the start. The Austin Zoo has various exotic birds that impress with their bright colors, not to mention peacocks, chickens, and Guinea fowl roaming around the grounds. As for reptiles and amphibians, this is the place to go to check out turtles, tortoises, lizards, and snakes. The Austin Zoo also features domestic animals (think deer, goats, llamas, and sheep) that kids can feed. There’s also a ton of native Texas wildlife, and you can rest assured curious kiddos will enjoy learning about bugs from stinkbugs to butterflies and beyond.
Berry Springs Park and Preserve
Looking to spend a relaxed day outdoors while checking out some animals? You’ll find Berry Springs Park and Preserve on the outskirts of Georgetown along Berry Creek, making it an easy-to-reach place to have on your list of local attractions. The park and preserve includes a century-old heritage pecan grove, where you can enjoy the shade after a hiking or biking excursion or just relax when the mood strikes. A large playground ensures the kids are constantly entertained.
Berry Creek Springs Park and Preserve is also a great place to go fishing, and you can go horseback riding here as well. The highlight for animal lovers is the resident pair of donkeys, known as Lil’ Bob and Pedro. They love to see park visitors, so pay a visit with the kids for an outing that’s sure to delight.
Austin Nature & Science Center
The Austin Zoo isn’t the only Austin-based place to explore. The Austin Nature & Science Center is another amazing institution that is easy to reach from Cedar Park and will take your family’s learning to the next level. With a wide variety of hands-on nature exhibits, education programs, and recreation activities available here, kids are sure to leave with a renewed appreciation for wildlife and the natural world.
So, what are some of the fun exhibits you can expect when you visit the Austin Nature & Science Center? In addition to wandering around Wildlife Exhibits featuring birds of prey and other animals, kids will love touching and exploring items like bones, furs, plants, rocks, and insects through a Naturalist Workshop.
Gain insight into the European honey bee at the Honey Bee Observation Hive, or go on a Pond Walk to look for basking turtles. Then there’s the Pollinator Gardens, which are home to various plants that bloom throughout the year and create ideal habitats for pollinators like butterflies. The Austin Nature & Science Center really has it all.
St. Edward’s Wild Basin Creative Research Center and Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
The Wild Basin Creative Research Center, part of St. Edward’s University in Austin, is yet another spot that’s easy to reach from Cedar Park and perfect for seeing local wildlife. This field research station is situated within Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, only 10 miles from the university’s campus.
The preserve is co-owned and co-managed by Travis County and St. Edward’s University and protects 227 acres, providing a valuable habitat for a variety of vulnerable and rare species such as the endangered golden-cheeked warbler. Wild Basin is a great place for hiking, too. It’s open every day and features nearly 3 miles of picturesque hiking trails.
Mayfield Park and Preserve
Peacocks, anyone? Rest and recharge with the family at Mayfield Park and Preserve while you’re in Austin and catch a glimpse of these colorful creatures. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Mayfield Park includes a historic cottage and 2 acres of colorful cottage gardens with palm trees, water lilies, and those gorgeous peacocks that will bring a smile to your kids’ faces. Mayfield Preserve surrounds the park with 21 acres complete with walking trails and wildlife habitats.
Capital of Texas Zoo
Head over to Cedar Creek for another great zoo to check out with your family. Capital of Texas Zoo features more than 500 rare and beautiful wild animals and offers animal feeding and encounter experiences. Pet some Australian dingo puppies or feed a crocodile if you’re feeling adventurous. You can also feed deer, lemurs, and more if you want a more low-key experience. You can even swim with otters and hang out with miniature donkeys when you visit this zoo.
There you have it! Crème de la Crème of Cedar Park (Parmer Ln.) just gave you some great local places to see wildlife. Do your kids have another favorite spot close to home that we missed? Let us know so we can add more recommendations for animal lovers in town.