Does this sound familiar?… The kids are out of school for Spring Break. You’re not going away on vacation. You don’t have them signed up for any camps. You need to find some things to do around Austin to keep everyone busy and entertained. BUT the idea of trying to navigate around the intense traffic and crowds that comes with the South By Southwest Festival has you feeling anxious (maybe downright grumpy). Yep. We’re hearing this a lot. So we’ve got some suggestions for you on how to for avoid the whole SXSW thing altogether and take advantage of some really fun family activities around Austin.
— Free Magic Shows at Highland Mall
Fantastic Magic Camp is giving FREE shows during Spring Break again this year. You can stop by Highland Mall on Monday, Mar. 16 – Thursday, Mar. 19. Shows begin at 2 p.m. and last about 45 min. All shows are family friendly and suitable for kids of all ages. No tickets or registrations needed, just show up and enjoy the fun! Here’s the lineup:
— Alamo Kids Club $1 Movies
The Alamo Drafthouse Kids Club is offering $1 admission deals to select children’s movies from Saturday, Mar. 14 through Sunday, Mar. 22. You can check out The Lego Movie, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Short Circuit and Freaky Friday (1976 edition). Click here for more schedule info.
— Rodeo Austin Carnival
Rodeo Austin hosts Austin’s largest carnival complete with rides, games, fair food favorites and more. The carnival is open daily from 11 a.m.-12 midnight during Spring Break and weekends. Click here to check the website for information on tickets, ride-all-day wristbands, and special attractions.
— Circus Chickendog Presents: I Ruff You! A Circus Love Story
This unique show stars six rescued circus dogs, a scarlet macaw, juggling, unicycling, balancing acts, puppets, accordion music and more. This show for all ages runs Monday, Mar. 16 through Saturday, Mar. 21 at the Institution Theatre. Monday – Friday shows are at 2 p.m. Saturday’s show is at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online here.
— Kiddie Acres
This North Austin amusement park is such fun for preschoolers. Yes, the rides appear to be very, very old, but that’s surely part of the charm. Your little ones can enjoy pony rides, a train ride, mini-golf and a carousel, too. Kiddie Acres has some special Spring Break hours: Monday, Mar. 16 – Friday, Mar. 20 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Click here to check their website for ticket pricing and to find a discount coupon of 1 free ride ticket when you purchase 10 or more.
— Austin Zoo
The Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary is an nonprofit organization with the mission to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. They currently have over 300 animals from over 100 different species at the Zoo. The zoo is open from 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. Click here to view the list of daily activities at the zoo — from black bear cub training to storytime. Zoo admission: Ages 13 and up -> $9; Student, Military w/ ID, & Senior 60+ -> $8; Child 2 – 12 -> $6; Members and infants less than 2 years -> Free.
— The Dinosaur Park
Located in Cedar Creek, TX, 12 miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, The Dino Park is a really fun place to take the kids. You can walk along a tree-lined path to discover life-size replicas of dinosaurs. The statues range in size from the 2-foot long Compsognathus to the 85-foot long Brachiosaurus. Admission is $7 per person. Children under the age of 2 are free. Spring Break hours are Friday, Mar. 13 – Sunday, Mar. 22, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Click here to view The Dino Park website for more info.
— Inner Space Cavern
Located north of Austin in Georgetown, Inner Space Cavern is one of the best preserved caves in Texas and one of the few places where prehistoric remains are found. Click here for pricing and information about scheduling a tour of the caverns. Extended Spring Break hours are offered Monday, Mar. 16 – Saturday, Mar. 21 at 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
— Children’s Museums Outside of Austin:
- Hill Country Science Mill (Johnson City)
The Hill Country Science Mill is full of so many wonderful hands-on learning stations and also includes a 3D movie theater, cafe, and pretty outdoor grounds to explore. Read our recent review for more info. Regular museum hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m., but during Spring Break, they will also be open on Tuesday, Mar. 17 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free for children under 2, $6.50 for ages 2-18 and students, $8 for adults, $6 for Seniors (65+) and Military.Admission is free for children under 2, $6.50 for ages 2-18 and students, $8 for adults, $6 for Seniors (65+) and Military.
- McKenna Children’s Museum (New Braunfels)
This fun children’s museum south of Austin in New Braunfels offers tons of fun for kids of all ages. Check out their outdoor water play, exhibits such as a play grocery store & bank, construction zone and more. Click here to check out their website for more info. The McKenna Children’s Museum is open Monday – Saturday, noon – 5 p.m. Admission is $7.50 for anyone over 1 year and free for babies under 12 months.
- Mayborn Museum (Waco)
Located on the Baylor University campus, this museum features a natural science and cultural history museum and exploration stations for geology, paleontology, archaeology, and natural history. We hear great things all the fun for children, including their current Magic School Bus exhibit. Click here to visit their website for more info. Admission: Adults $6, Seniors (65+) $5, Children (18 mo-12 yr) $4, Baylor students & members are free.
— Awesome Events in Austin (worth facing traffic for):
- Woodland Faerie Trail
Zilker Botanical Garden‘s Woodland Faeire Trail opens on Monday, Mar. 16! Explore the abodes of the faeries and gnomes along the Woodland Faerie Trail through the escarpment pathway and see who is home. Free with Garden entry and open during regular hours (daily from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Admission is $1 for children (ages 3-12) and seniors (62 and over), $2 for adults, Austin resident (ages 13-61), $3 for adults, non-resident.
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Exhibit
ans of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Queen of Hearts are in for such a treat as UT’s Harry Ransom Center celebrates 150 years of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with an exhibit centered around Lewis Carroll’s beloved book. Admission is free! Hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 10 a.m.–7 p.m. on Thursday; Noon–5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
These are just some ideas for you. There’s SO much to explore in the Austin area. You can also check out these links for more ideas…
Have a FUN Spring Break!