If you’ve got a baby to entertain, let’s face it… Austin is a pretty awesome place to be. Terrific parks, trails for picturesque stroller rides, exceptional story times, interactive museum exhibits, ample music and movement class offerings — Austin babies have it pretty good.
Awesome Places for Babies in Austin:
–> Baby Bloomers at the Thinkery
Baby Bloomers is a such a fun program offered at the Thinkery where the museum is open just for visitors ages 0–3 years and their families. Held Mondays (9 a.m.–noon) and Saturdays (9–10 a.m.), you get to experience the museum exclusively for you and baby (no big kids getting in your way) in an environment focused on early learners. Monthly themes, storytimes, and special guests offer engaging hands-on learning through play. Baby Bloomers admission is only $3 for members and $5 for non-members. Do take note that Saturdays are limited to the second level of the museum.
–> Library Storytimes
Let’s start with something totally free and accessible all over the Austin area. Children’s librarians have a special gift for getting families engaged in early literacy activities. Of course babies cannot be expected to simply sit quietly and listen to picture books in a group setting. They’ll socialize, enjoy songs, finger plays, maybe even puppets, too. And you have a chance to meet lots of other moms while you’re there.
To find the story time schedule at your local library, you can start here:
- Austin Public Library
- Bee Cave Public Library
- Cedar Park Public Library
- Georgetown Public Library
- Kyle Public Library
- Leander Public Library
- Lake Travis Community Library
- Pflugerville Public Library
- Round Rock Public Library
- San Marcos Public Library
- Wells Branch Community Library
–> Central Market North Lamar
Yes, it’s a grocery store. But how great is it that you can knock out some grocery shopping while entertaining baby? First, there are balloons. Perfect! Second, the playground is tons of fun for little ones who can toddle around the mini playscape and go down the tiny slides. And finally, the adjacent pond adds even more entertainment. You can head to the water and point out the ducks and turtles. Of course, Central Market also offers tons of family friendly events and live music. So keep up with their event calendar to make the most of what this grocery store has to offer.
–> Zilker Park Playground & Zephyr Mini Train
Centrally located, the Zilker Park Playground is such a great place to take babies and toddlers. There are plenty of swings, areas to run, places for varying abilities to climb. And of course, there is the terrific antique fire truck to climb into and play on. And it’s always a treat to wave to the Zilker Zephyr that chugs along through the playground area — or even better, you can take the kids for a ride on the little train! The Zilker Zephyr runs through the park for a 20 minute ride every day from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. every hour on the hour. The train is cash only and tickets cost $3 adults, $2 kids, and babies one year old and younger are free! (Read about our experience on the train & also check out this list of 100 Things to Do in Zilker Park.)
–> Austin Nature and Science Center
The Austin Nature and Science Center is such a fabulous free resource in the heart of the city. It’s also a great place to go (take the stroller) for a leisurely walk through grounds, pass by and wave hello to the rescued animals, watch the fish and turtles swim around their tanks and listen to the owls hoot. If you’re up for the little ones getting sandy, of course, they can play in the giant dino digging pit. This is a really lovely spot for kids of all ages.
–> The Triangle
Did you know that there is a tiny little playground at the Triangle just for young children? It’s great for little ones who are toddling around because it’s super safe and tiny — no fears about a playscape that is too tall and dangerous. The Triangle also has a sweet little sprinkler fountain that babies just love to play in. And on Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m., you can find the SFC Farmers Market set up with vendors. (Note, the market is closing on Oct. 25. Hurry over while it’s still open.)
BookPeople is one of those great places where you can easily connect with other moms and young children. Babies are welcome to come sit in and listen to a story and socialize with other little ones. BookPeople offers such a variety of free story times including baby sign language, musical performers, puppets, and even small animals from Tiny Tails to You Petting Zoo.
— Baby & Mama Classes
We all know that baby classes are just as beneficial to moms and dads as they are to the little ones. Classes get you moving out of the house, get you socializing with other grown-ups, and hopefully help you make great connections with other families who are going through the same challenges and milestones as you and your babe. There are SO many great classes offered all around Austin. Here’s just a few you could check out:
- Baby Earth
- Emler Swim School
- Heartsong Music
- The Little Gym
- The Little Yoga House
- Music Forever Music Together
–> Alamo For All at Alamo Drafthouse
With a baby in the family, it can be really hard to make time for entertainment and catching up on anything related to pop culture. Who’s that hot new actor everyone’s talking about? How would you know, right? The Alamo For All program gives parents an option to go to the movies with baby in tow, as well as guests with special needs. All shows starting before 2 p.m. on Tuesdays are sensory-friendly shows with the lights are turned up, sound is turned down, all ages are welcome (including infants), talking is allowed, and guests can move around.
–> Toybrary Austin
Toybrary Austin is a toy lending library and also a play space with drop in “stay & play” for the little ones for only $7 admission. They also hold lots of special events for young children as well as parenting classes, too. Check their calendar to see what fun things are coming up.
–> Best Places to Meet Up with Other Mamas
When you want to get out of the house for a cup of coffee or a meal with friends, there’s quite a few places in Austin where you can let the kiddos hang out while you catch up on conversation. Check out this roundup of Top Places for Coffee Playdates and this list of Top 10 Family Friendly Restaurants for some ideas on where to go. Or maybe you’d rather put the babies in strollers and go for a nice long walk with a friend? Get the details on Exploring the Lady Bird Lake Hike & Bike Trail.
Have fun exploring Austin with those sweet little cuties!
Do you have other favorite places? Please share in the comments below.