Austin is such a great place to raise a family! There are tons of free events and inexpensive activities to do with toddlers. In this blog I share with you the places that we have loved visiting in the past year since we moved back to Austin (where we grew up). Here are some things to do in Austin with toddlers.
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If you plan on visiting the Thinkery more than once, it is worth it to purchase a membership. We love visiting frequently, and they are always switching out the attractions. They even have Baby Bloomers a couple times a week with special guests and activities specifically catered to ages zero to three years old. There is an outdoor play area, water play indoors, and lots of seating with high chairs if you want to bring snacks/lunch.
If you park in the parking garage, the Thinkery will validate your parking ticket so you won’t have to pay. They have stroller parking areas inside along with lockers that you can pay to store your bags if you don’t want to lug them around. If you look online you will see they have certain days where anyone can visit for free. The Thinkery always has different events going on.
Almost Grown Play Cafe
There are multiple locations depending on if you live north or south. They have an option to purchase ten passes at a discounted rate. I love that there are tables so you can sit and chat with friends while watching your little ones play. My toddler will play here for hours.
Little Land Play Gym
There are so many fun things to play with here. They have an area in the lobby with tables and chairs where you can eat. Inside both entryways there are cubbies for you to store your belongings and shoes. You will need to bring socks to wear in the play area for you and your child.
They have classes involving music, art, and more. You can also drop by during free play times to let your little one climb and play with all of the equipment. There are toys in the lobby as well as cubbies for you to store your belongings.
Things to Do in Austin with Toddlers Outdoors
Visit a Park
The Play for All Abilities in Round Rock has so many great areas. There is a whole sensory area, a covered sandpit, a place for your little ones to ride bikes, a musical area, and more.
Brushy Creek has great trails for walking or biking. There is also a lake and a park with a playground and splash pad. There are paddleboat, canoe, and kayak rentals if you want to go out on the water. We love to explore the trails and play in the creek with Free Forest School.
Riata Trace Park is the closest park to where we are living right now. We love to bike here and walk the trails exploring nature. My toddler loves to watch people play tennis, play with his balls, and play on the playground. This park doesn’t have much shade, so it’s better to visit at cooler times.
A few of our other favorite parks in North Austin are:
- Springwoods Park: lots of shade, playground, nice paths to walk
- Robinson Park: lots of shade, toddler playground and swings, nice trails
- Katherine Fleischer Park: near Wells Branch library, cool playhouse, big open field, creek nearby
The Austin Zoo is a small zoo with animals that are rescued and rehabilitated. They have a little train that L loved to ride around the zoo.
Splash Shack is so fun to visit at any time of year. It’s perfect to come on a rainy or cold day. The only thing that’s kind of annoying is that they don’t want you to bring your own food and drinks. They have a snack shack, or you can just eat before or after you come.
My favorite is The Quarry splash pad. You do have to pay a small fee of $2 for each person participating, but I think its worth it. It’s wide open, kept clean, and sunken from the traffic of cars. We’ve also visited the one at Brushy Creek, but L would just try to run off into the street and has gotten knocked down by bigger children.
The Quarry splash pad has lots of shaded areas. I also love that there are picnic tables everywhere for you to sit and eat a snack or meal or watch if you don’t want to get wet.
There are tons of trails. One of our favorites we have went on is Town Lake. It was breezy, and the views are amazing. You will have to navigate around people at times, but that wasn’t much of a problem for us even with our bike trailer.
If you are looking for a more rugged path, there is a trail right across from the Quarry splash pad. Brushy Creek has a great trail near Cedar Park. Austin is so bike friendly. Here is a link to a blog about some of the best places to bike in Austin.
Free Things To Do in Austin with Toddlers
Take your child to Barnes & Noble. They usually have coffee and snacks, books, a stage, and a train table for lots of free entertainment.
If you’re looking for a fun way to kill time and save money Savers toy section makes for endless enjoyment. This is my favorite thrift store where you can find lots of steals or just have a break from trying to keep your little love occupied.
Library Story Time
Your local library should have a story time schedule and different events. We love going to Wells Branch Community Library for their toddler story time and Spanish circle time. After story time, they turn the room into a little play place for the children. They also have a grassy area out back where your little one can run around and get some vitamin D.
We LOVE that our church has a family room. L would not be comfortable leaving us, and we don’t want to leave him either. This way we can all attend the service as a family. L can run around and play with his friends while we watch the sermon.
Live Music and Festivals
Our toddler loves singing, dancing, and watching live music. This is the live music capitol of the world, so you can always find a place to hear some live music. I share a link to a list of festivals in my guest post on the top ten things to do in Austin.
We have attended the past year (four semesters). L has grown to love music even more than when he started. He is so talented and has grown so much musically. They have an amazing play area outside of the music classrooms.
Every semester they have special events and concerts for the whole family. We had L’s second birthday party here, and it was awesome! His teacher did a music class with all our friends and family. Everyone also got to make their own musical craft as a party favor.
Emler Swim School
You can start exposing your child to learn how to swim from as young as the newborn stage. L loved getting to play in the water. As your child gets older they will learn different skills. You can even have a birthday party at the indoor pool year round.
The Little Gym
With The Little Gym membership, you can attend free events and classes throughout the year even if you aren’t signed up for a class. L loved his gymnastics class. At each class they focus on different skills and have free play, bubbles, ball time, and songs.
Mi Casa Es Tu Casa
This is like a smaller version of heartsong music together that is bilingual. I didn’t know about this until after we joined heartsong, but would love to attend in the future.
Toddler Friendly Places
Food Trucks/ Places with patios
We love to go anywhere that we can sit outdoors. Then, we don’t have to worry about L making too much noise, and he can usually run around. Some of our favorite restaurants are: Casa De Luz, True Food Kitchen, Picnik, Flower Child, and Honest Mary’s.
Brentwood Social House
This coffee shop has baked goods and a giant playground with lots of toys outside. There are picnic tables for you to sit at and eat or watch your little one play. There is also a little room inside with books and toys to play with.
Places We Plan to Visit
- Nature and Science Center
- COOP has balls, slides, climbing equipment, and lots of activities and things to play with.
- Zilker Park: When we visited there was NO PARKING. This was on a Sunday afternoon. We ended up going to the field at the Long Center to run around and look at the lake and dogs. We plan to return sometime to ride the train and play on the playground.
Some of My Favorite Local Resources
The following blogs have lots of good info on events in the area that are going on.
- Do512 Family
- Free Fun in Austin
- Austin Moms Blog
- Facebook Moms Groups: There’s a group for everything these days. Baby wearing, co-sleeping, natural moms, tongue ties, or whatever you can think of. If you can’t find what you’re looking for make your own group like I did!
Let me know in the comments if you have enjoyed any of these places with your family. If you have other things to do in Austin with toddlers that I missed please share them! If you are looking for more content like this subscribe. Also, check out this post where I share the best gifts for toddlers.