Austin has no shortage of really great parks with awesome playgrounds, perfect for some idyllic free family fun. We recently talked with Austin Parks Foundation about the work they do for our beloved green spaces, and honestly, we were blown away to learn how much they are doing for our parkland!
Since 1992, Austin Parks Foundation has facilitated park improvements as well as offered creative fun programming for the community, such as their Moves in the Park series. Through programs such as the Adopt-a-Park Program, APF has been able to make a huge impact on our area’s outdoor play places. Read on to learn about some of Austin’s great playgrounds and some notable park improvements. Then go out and play!
The Best Playgrounds in Austin:
— Zilker Park (Central Austin)
Austinites adore Zilker Metropolitan Park! Located near Barton Springs Pool, the playground is great for kids of many ages and boasts fun climbing structures, swings, built-in musical play features, and an antique fire engine to climb on for fun pretend play. And of course, it’s exciting to ride the Zilker Zephyr mini train as it runs right through the playground. For more ideas, read our list of 100 Things To Do in Zilker Park.
— Ramsey Park (Central Austin)
With a fun playground, baseball field, basketball court, tennis court and pool, Ramsey has been a social hub for families for decades. In recent years, Ramsey added a natural play area, new climbing equipment, more shade, new pathways and more, making it a great place to for kids of all ages to play.
— Dick Nichols District Park (Southwest Austin)
Dick Nichols District Park sees hundreds of people on a daily basis and offers many amenities including a pool, tennis courts, volleyball courts, walking trails, a splash pad and a playground and a brand new shade structure thanks to AFP’s ACL Music Festival Grants Program.
— Mueller Lake Park (East Austin)
This popular park across from the Thinkery includes really unique play structures with a very modern-design. Kids love to climb and slide in this fenced-in park. It’s also adjacent to a little lake where you can feed the ducks and take a stroll.
— Roy G. Guerrero Park (Southeast Austin)
This enclosed playground has many nature-themed climbing structures for kids of all ages. You’ll find a mini tightrope to walk across. And the playscape for little kids features fun, interactive buttons that play nature sounds.
— Edward Craig Park, formerly Franklin Park (Southeast Austin)
With motivation from residents Brenda and Edward Craig to make Franklin Park a safer and healthier place for the neighborhood, the Craigs worked with citizens to secure a $13,000 grant from the ACL Music Festival Grants Program and Austin Parks Foundation to create such improvements as outdoor ping-pong tables, new benches, new landscaping, a cool playscape, walking trails, and fitness plaza.
— Odom School Park (South Austin)
Odom School Park has recently transformed into a remarkable space with a new playscape, shade structure and donated musical play equipment from Austin City Limits Music Festival.
— Springwoods Park (North Austin/Anderson Mill)
The playscapes, benches and picnic tables, and the bulk of the 0.8 mile hike & bike trail are fully shaded by awesome, old oak trees. You’ll find two playscapes, one for bigger kids and a smaller one for smaller kids. There is a sand volleyball court, a soccer field, two tennis courts and a 0.8 mile hike & bike trail, too.
— Katherine Fleischer Park (North Austin/Wells Branch)
This park is the jewel of the Wells Branch neighborhood. You’ll find a gazebo, a heavily shaded playground, giant playhouse, pool, soccer field, sand volleyball court, tennis and basketball courts, and a multi-use baseball field.
— Colony District Park (Northeast Austin)
Here’s a park to keep an eye on! In 2016, Austin Parks Foundation along with the City of Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department and a $700,000 Healthy Living grant from St. David’s Foundation, broke ground on this new premiere park space. The 93-acre site has a new fitness plazas and a walking trail, and a new playscape coming soon.
–> Best in the ‘Burbs: These parks are well worth a short drive outside of Austin for you to check out.
— Play for All Park
The park in Round Rock includes 51,000 square feet of outdoor fun for children of all abilities. This large gated park has a “pretend town” with buildings and working traffic lights that you can travel through and make stops in the grocery store, fire station, hospital etc. It also has a speedway to race your bikes, a zip line, a shaded sand pit, and more! Read our review of this park.
— Elizabeth Milburn Community Park
Elizabeth Milburn park in Cedar Park consists of 42.4 acres and offers a playground, picnic shelters, barbecue pits, a walking & jogging trail, a basketball court, tennis courts, washer pits, soccer fields, a community garden, a recreational BMX track and a rock climbing wall.
— Bee Cave Central Park
This park includes multiple play structures as well as tube drums and pipes for musical play. There are great walking trails, and basketball courts, too.
— Joanne Land Playground
The Joanne Land Playground, located near the Lakeside Pavilion in Round Rock’s Old Settler’s Park is truly an awesome destination to check out for some free family fun. The playground features huge climbing towers with enclosed netting that includes obstacles, slides, tunnels and more. There’s also a little pond nearby and lots walking trails. Read our review of this park.
–> Playgrounds for the Multi-taskers: When you want to do your shopping and dining while keeping the kids entertained, there are some terrific spots in the Austin area where you can get it all done.
— Central Market North Lamar
Central Market has a lovely shady playground with multiple structures for various ages. Next to the cafe, this playground is a great spot for causally relaxing and having a bite to eat while the kids play.
— Southpark Meadows
Southpark Meadows is a shopping destination in South Austin with over 90 stores and restaurants. it features an oak-tree filled central park where visitors can enjoy live music, let the kids have fun on the large playscape, and cool off in the interactive water fountain.
— Whole Foods Rooftop Downtown
Perched atop the Whole Foods downtown location, you’ll find a nice little playground with city views. Parents can enjoy a coffee break or snack and catch up with friends while the kids play. It’s a great little hidden gem that makes shopping just a little bit more enjoyable.
— Restaurants with Playscapes
Dining with the little ones in tow can be tough sometimes, but lucky for us, Austin has plenty of restaurants that include places the kids get let loose and play.
Help Keep Your Favorite Park Looking Great! Visit www.austinparks.org to learn about Austin Parks Foundation’s many programs and projects. On their website, you’ll also find plenty of ways that YOU can get involved in park improvements — from volunteering to donating, participating in special events, or even adopting a park near you.