If you’re lucky enough to score wristbands to Austin City Limits Music Festival this year, and you find yourself without a babysitter, don’t worry. We’re going to give you lots of advice about taking the kids with you!
Our pals at Hat Creek Burger Company know a thing or two about family-friendly fun, and we’re happy to have them present with us these Tips for Taking the Kids to ACL Music Festival. Be sure to stop by their food truck for some kid-friendly bites to keep the family fueled for a full day of festival excitement.
–> What to Know Before You Go:
— Free Admission for Kids: First up, do take note that kids ages 10 and under get in FREE with adults who have wristbands!
— Festival Map & Schedule: Be sure to study the Festival Map before you arrive so you know the layout of the park. Look for water filling stations, bathrooms, the location of the kid wonderland, Austin Kiddie Limits, and where to track down snacks in the ACL Eats area. You’ll also want to know the Schedule before you arrive. What bands are most important for you to see? It’s great to prioritize your must-see list so that you can make sure the kids have had time for potty breaks and food before you ask them to be cooperative when it’s time to see your favorite musicians.
— Getting There: Think through your game plan for getting to Zilker. You can’t park at the park, but there are drop-off areas, pedi-cabs, and plenty ways to get to and from. On the ACL Fest website you can find details about all of the Transportation Options, including the FREE shuttle service at Republic Square on 4th and Guadalupe. You can also click here for a map listing the downtown parking garages.
— Austin Kiddie Limits: The awesome festival organizers go to great lengths to make sure kids have some music and activities geared just for them in the Austin Kiddie Limits section of Zilker Park. Kiddie Limits is open from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. each day. Within Austin Kiddie Limits, you’ll find a stage with a solid lineup of children’s performers who were hand-picked to get the kids dancing. Click here for the full list, and check out our spotlights on some of these Kiddie Limits artists who’ll be performing this year.
— Tag-a-Kid Service: Near the Austin Kiddie Limits area, you’ll find a booth where you can register your children and receive a wristband. In the instance that a child gets lost, this will be a good way to reunite you. This booth is also a great place to identify as a meeting place in the off-chance that you get separated from each other.
— Nursing Area: You can head to the Family Services space to change baby’s diapers, breast feed or have privacy to use a breast pump. This small, private room is also located within the Kiddie Limits area.
–> What to Pack:
Be sure to review this list of Allowed & Prohibited Items on the ACL Fest website. It may feel like you’re bringing a lot of stuff with you when you attend the Fest with kids, but you want to be sure you’ve got all that your kids will need. Here’s what we suggest:
- two factory-sealed plastic bottles of water — This is what’s allowed in per person, and free water refilling stations are all around the park for you to use. It’s going to be hot out there, and you all want to stay hydrated.
- strollers — Even if your kid is starting to out-grow the stroller, keep in mind that there is a lot of walking. And they will get tired. Plus, the strollers can help you carry all your stuff around. (Take note though that red wagons are not allowed)
- sunscreen (aerosol sprays are not allowed)
- antibacterial wipes
- blanket — To sit on or as a sun cover over the stroller during baby’s nap
- mini first aid — You never know when a boo boo will happen
- plastic poncho — If it happens to rain, you’ll be prepared. Otherwise you can use it as something to sit on.
- ear plugs or sound-blocking headphones — In case the sound gets to be too much for the kids (or you)
- Stuff that might make it more fun for kids: Kids will love playing around in the Austin Kiddie Limits area, but when you’re out listening to your favorite bands, think about bringing along some extra stuff to keep the kids busy, such as:
- inflatable beach ball
- paperback activity book
- Glow sticks for when the sun sets
- A paper schedule — You’ll find that the mobile website is very helpful, but if you keep glancing at your phone, your battery might wear out fast. But if it does, there are charging stations in the park.
- Patience. For real. While you can totally be that cool parent with the kids at a festival, you’re likely going to need to call upon your most inner chill vibes to relax. If/when the kids get tired, hungry, cranky, just go with the flow. Enjoy the experience together. Know that you won’t get to see ALL the bands or rage like a college kid. But you can still have an awesome time!
Have any other tips to share? Please do so in the comments. We’d love to hear from you!
We hope you have a great time at ACL! See you out there!