Do your kids have an affection for all four-legged creatures? A child’s appreciation for animals is pretty adorable, but it’s also a great teaching experience by helping them learn empathy and understanding the greatness of the world around us. If you’re looking for places to take your little animal lovers in Austin, we’ve got a list of ideas for you below.

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Where to Take your Animal Lovers in Austin:

Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary: The Austin Zoo is unlike many others in the fact that it is a rescue zoo. The zoo’s mission is to assist animals in need through rescue & rehabilitation. So when you visit the animals in this Hill Country setting, you can appreciate that these animals are getting a second chance at a better life. They also have a petting zoo where you can feed goats, deer, llamas, and sheep. Regular zoo admission is $11 for adult and $8 for children ages 2-18. Learn more.



Austin Nature and Science Center: Located on the western edge of Zilker Park, this center appeals to all ages and is a great place to take the family for nature walks, to see wildlife, explore fossils and more. Plus, admission is free! ANSC is home to a variety of live invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals such as a bobcat, skunk, raccoon, as well as birds, including raptors and owls. Many of these animals have been orphaned or injured and could not survive in the wild. At ANSC, they can live out their lives, receiving daily care, grooming, quality food, medication and veterinary assistance. Read about our recent trip to the center.  Visit the website to learn more.



Pioneer Farms: Pioneer Farms is a living history farm where you can step back in time and experience Texas history from the 1800s first-hand. You can explore more than 90 wooded acres and discover Texas’ colorful past. You’ll find longhorns, horses, chickens, donkeys, barn cats and more favorite farm animals. General admission prices are $8 for visitors ages 13 and over, and $6 for children ages 3-12. Children 2 and under are free. Learn more on the Pioneer Farms website.



Austin Aquarium: For your children who love sea animals, the aquarium houses exhibits that feature a wide variety of amphibians, an interactive Lorikeet Aviary and a slew of cold water and tropical fish. There are also sharks, a stingray touch tank and reptiles. General Admission prices are $9.95 for ages 2 – 11, $14.95 for ages 12 and up and $12.95 for seniors and military members. But you can save $3 when you get your tickets online here.



 — Tiny Tails To You Traveling Petting Zoo at BookPeople & Barton Creek Farmers Market:  Tiny Tails to You Traveling Petting Zoo brings small animals such as bunnies, chinchillas, hedgehogs, baby ducks & chicks, guinea pigs, tortoises, bearded dragons and more to birthday parties, churches, schools, summer camp programs, farmers markets, and all sorts of special events. But you can also visit with them at one of their public events! On the third Wednesday of each month, kids can visit the petting zoo for free at BookPeople’s storytime at 10:30 a.m. And every Sunday, you can stop by the Mueller Farmers Market to see the animals from 10:30 – noon. (There is a fee of $5 for 10 minutes with the animals at the market.) Learn more on their website.



Blue Cat Cafe: Austin’s first cat cafe is a place to enjoy the company of friendly felines. All the cats here are adoptable, if you’re looking for a cat to add to your family. There is a food trailer on the patio that serves up coffee, hot chocolate and vegan comfort food. Read about our visit to the cat cafe.  Learn more on their website here.



Yard Bar: If you’re more of a dog person than a cat person, you could take the kids to Yard Bar for lunch or dinner. This is part outdoor patio restaurant and part dog park. While children are NOT allowed inside the fenced dog park, they are welcome to eat on the patio next to it and watch the pups run and play within the enclosed park. Click here to learn more and to view their menu.



Mayfield Park & Preserve: While you won’t see a big variety of animals at Mayfield Park, you will see some impressive peacocks showing off their beautiful feathers. The peacocks freely roam the grounds of this pretty location, and they are really a sight to see. You might also find frogs & turtles in the ponds, too. Free admission! Learn more here.



— Pet Stores: You can also stop into your local pet store to check out animals. Kids can see reptiles, birds, fish, mice, hamsters, and more at many local pet stores. If you want to add a little extra fun to your visit, try making a your own scavenger hunt list to take in and check off as you look around the store.


Where else do you like to see animals in Austin? Tell us in the comments below!