Hey nature lovers, winter is a great time to get outdoors and explore trails, go for hikes, and enjoy the gorgeous Central Texas landscape. In fact, there’s several wildlife and nature-focused family events coming up in the Austin area. Take a look at the list below, and mark your calendars for some fun times in the fresh air with the kids!

Winter Tree Fest @ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Saturday, Jan. 26, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Celebrate Texas trees in the Arboretum with tree climbing, walks and talks, s’more roasting, fort building, cornhole, plant sale, an aerial tree yoga demo, and more! Click here for the schedule of events. Winter Tree Fest activities are all free with admission. ($12 for adults, $6 for ages 5-17, free for ages 4 & under)

Meet the designers of Fortlandia while you’re at the Winter Tree Fest! Photo by Roger Ho.

Texas Wildlife Day @ Texas Memorial Museum
Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Celebrate everything feathered, furred, smooth, and scaled. Enjoy FREE admission and free family-friendly activities hosted by UT Austin scientists, TMM science educators, and local chapters of Texas Master Naturalists. Museum exhibits open 9 am to 5 pm and the activities run from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Kids of all ages will love seeing the fossils on display! Photo from the Texas Memorial Museum Facebook page.

— Various Events @ McKinney Falls State Park
As always, McKinney Falls State Park has loads of year-round activities for families. All programs are FREE with paid park admission, which is $6 per person ages 13 and over. Here’s what’s coming up:

Learn fishing basics with the kids! Photo from the McKinney Falls State Park Facebook page.

Guided Tours & Star Party @ Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center
Tours: Saturdays & Sundays, 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. (& 4 p.m. offered Feb.-Nov.)
Star Party: Saturday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m.
Did you know that access to the beautiful canyon and cave is by guided tour only? Let experts take you through a limestone crevice into a sheltered canyon of lush plant life. At the head of the canyon stands Westcave, with a stunning 40-foot waterfall. Tours are weather-permitting with the fee of $15/adult & $7/child (4-17). Also mark you calendars for their next family-friendly Star Party on Feb. 2 with local astronomers on hand to answer questions. $15/adult & $5/child (4 – 17).

Photo from the Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center’s Facebook page

Winter Faerie Tea Parties @ Zilker Botanical Garden
Feb. 3 & Feb. 17, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.
Dress up in your faerie best for a tea party overlooking the garden and practice faerie etiquette. All parties include fruit, miniature cakes, tea, juice, a nature-based activity and garden exploration. $20/ resident child, $22/ non-resident child. Get tickets online here.

Photo from the Zilker Botanical Garden website

Valentine’s Family Fun Day at Spring Lake @ The Meadows Center (San Marcos)
Saturday, February 9, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Celebrate your love of nature with the whole family! They will have nature-themed crafts and activities in the Discovery Hall. This event is free and open to the public. While you’re there, you may also wish to purchase tickets for the glass-bottom boat tour. Read about the tours here.

Take a glass bottom boat tour while you’re at the Meadows Center!

Austin Cave Festival @ Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Saturday, February 23, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This free, family-friendly event will feature hands-on activities, cave explorations, science and adventure presentations, live music, and more. Visitors will have the opportunity to visit two caves and see how water makes its way to the aquifer and Barton Springs, learn about animals that call Austin’s caves home, try on caving gear, and learn how to protect and conserve Austin’s water resources. Click here for more info.

Tour a cave! Photo from the Wildflower Center website


–> More to Explore: