One of our content manager’s go-to spots for free fun is the Austin Nature and Science Center (ANSC), located on the western edge of Zilker Park. It appeals to all ages, from toddlers to adults, and it’s a great place to take the family and visitors to get out for nature walks, see wildlife, explore fossils and more. Plus, it’s open year-round and always free!


Since 1960, ANSC has provided nature exhibits, education programs, and recreation resources for countless visitors, and children of all ages. When you stop by for a visit, you will be able to meet a coyote and red-tailed hawk in the Wildlife Exhibits. You can follow the path of Texas fossil hunters and un-cover evidence of pre-historic life in the Dino Pit. You can explore natural science specimens and add to your own collection through the Naturalist Workshop and Trade Counter.

We stopped by for an easy outing during Winter Break. Check out some of our photos below, then go enjoy your own nature adventures!














Hours: The center is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 5 p.m. It will be closed on New Year’s Day. For questions regarding any holiday hours, you can call (512) 974-3888.

The Trade Counter is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. At the Trade Counter, you’re invited to bring your favorite rock, seed pod, shell or other cool natural item and earn points for what you know and learn about it. Use the points to trade for new treasures, like sparkling minerals, exotic sea shells, animal bones, fossils, polished rocks and much more.

Parking: Free parking is located on Straftord Dr. under the MoPac overpass. Click here for directions.

More Info: Visit the Austin Nature & Science Center website for more details.

Have fun!