Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary
Family Friendly Attraction

Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary

Address: 10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78736 - MAP
Phone: (512) 288-1490
Web: www.austinzoo.org

Take a walk on the wild side at the Austin Zoo. The zoo's inhabitants represent about 100 animal species and include farm animals and a few exotic creatures as well. Don't skip out on attractions like pony rides and train rides!

Just west of downtown Austin, the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary provides a safe and caring home for abandoned exotic and domestic animals. The nurturing environment creates a haven for animal lovers and children who come to visit and learn about the more than 300 animals that call the Austin Zoo their home.

Austin Zoo began as a goat ranch. As the ranch started rescuing other types of farm animals, it became the Good Day Ranch in 1990. At the time, most of the tenants were goats, pigs, deer, donkeys and ponies, along with a few exotics.

Today the Austin Zoo & Animal Sanctuary has become a full-fledged rescue zoo, with its animals representing more than 100 different species.

A petting zoo section encourages children to get up close and feed the deer, goats and llamas. A bag of feed at the gift shop costs only $1. Pony rides and train rides also make it a visit to remember.

The unfortunate growth of "roadside zoos" and the proliferation of exotic pet ownership has kept the zoo busy, and the facility is forced to turn down about 50 requests per month to take in additional animals.

Visitors to the zoo help support the mission to provide a safe and caring home for new residents, from lions to llamas, prairie dogs to pygmy goats. Animal families represented at the zoo include big cats, monkeys, reptiles, amphibians, birds and domestic animals.

Bullock Texas State History Museum
Family Friendly Attraction

Bullock Texas State History Museum

Address: 1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 - MAP
Phone: (512) 936-8746
Web: www.thestoryoftexas.com

Go back in time and experience the great history of the Lone Star State. From the establishment of the state, to its devastating events, to its many great accomplishments - the Bullock Texas State History Museum knows it all and you will too after you explore the exhibits and attractions here.

Explore the sights, sounds and spirit of Texas at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Located in downtown Austin, the museum boasts three floors of interactive exhibits with more than 700 fascinating Texana artifacts, including Stephen F. Austin's diary, Neil Armstrong's space suit and more.

Built in 2001, the $80 million museum greets visitors with a 35-foot Lone Star sculpture.

Inside, the special-effects Texas Spirit Theatre is an adventure that will engage all of your senses as you tour the Lone Star State on screen. The feature presentation, "The Star of Destiny," takes viewers back to the 1900 Galveston Hurricane: The wind rushes through your hair, lightening flashes and thunder shakes the theater. Feel the powerful vibrations as a gusher explodes from an oil derrick on screen. Take a seat for a thrilling special-effects experience that will wow you.

The museum also contains Austin's only IMAX Theatre, which features popular current 3-D movies and its cornerstone presentation, "Texas: The Big Picture."

Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Family Friendly Attraction

Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Address: 1600 City Park Rd, Austin, TX 78730 - MAP
Phone: (512) 346-1831
Web: austintexas.gov

Letting loose is a walk in the park in Austin. Visit one of the city's largest parks, the Emma Long Metropolitan Park. Camp out, walk the Turkey Creek Trail, have a picnic, go fishing or play your favorite sport under the Texas sun.

One of the largest parks in Austin, the Emma Long Metropolitan Park is a 1,150-acre park on the shores of Lake Austin. Oak and juniper trees shade the popular Turkey Creek Trail, which is an off-leash haven for dogs and their owners. Bikers and hikers also enjoy 2.75-mile trail that criss-crosses the creek in its first mile and a half.

Austin's fitting nick name, "A City Within a Park," means that Emma Long Park is a virtual metropolis, bustling with activity during the week and on weekends. A large sandy beach meets the shores of Lake Austin, and includes a designated swimming area, sand volleyball courts and boat ramps for pleasure and ski boats.

Restroom and shower facilities bring the best of civilization to the outdoor oasis. Overnight and RV camping is popular here, with 20 camping sites available with water and electricity hookups. For a back-to-basics experience, 46 tent camping sites with available water create the perfect overnight getaway under the stars.

Another unique feature of Emma Long Park is its motocross track, which hosts plenty of recreational riders along with big local races.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park is named after Austin's first woman to serve on the council of a large city in Texas. When she was elected in 1948, Emma Long reactivated the then-empty Parks and Recreation Board. Emma Long also was an effective advocate for civil rights, proposing some of the first civil rights ordinances in the city of Austin and serving as an advisor to the United Nations.

Other park amenities include: 68 barbeque pits, 151 picnic tables, 12 miles of trails, 4 volleyball courts, 3 reservable areas, a fishing pier and a basketball court.

Lake Travis
Family Friendly Attraction

Lake Travis

Address: Bullick Hollow Rd & RR 620, Austin, TX 78726 - MAP
Phone: (512) 261-5121
Web: laketravis.com

he storied shores of Lake Travis await. Begin your adventure with the best of what Texas Hill Country has to offer in the great outdoors. Fishing, boating, scuba diving, picnicking and camping are just some of the fun things to do at this popular attraction.

A visit to Lake Travis brings out the best of what Texas Hill Country has to offer: Fishing, boating, scuba diving, picnicking and camping, for starters.

Lake Travis is considered one of the clearest lakes in Texas with plenty to do for the outdoor recreationist.

If boating is your passion, then you'll want to catch one of the multi-class sailboat and windsurfing regattas. And if you prefer being in the middle of the action, plenty of marina rental stores offer ski boats, cruisers, cigarettes and mansion-like houseboats for weekend warriors.

Fishing enthusiasts will appreciate the easy access to some of the best fishing spots along Lake Travis. The Parks Department regularly stocks the lake with largemouth bass, Guadalupe bass, white bass, striped bass, catfish and sunfish.

Dozens of smaller parks along the banks of the lake provide plenty of opportunity for diving and parasailing too.

Outdoor enthusiasts from around the state and the country flock to Lake Travis for plenty of fun and relaxation. After an action-packed day of activities, the area comes alive with lakefront restaurants and bars. There's even a floating bar & grill if you can't get enough of life on the water.

LBJ Presidential Library
Family Friendly Attraction

LBJ Presidential Library

Address: 2313 Red River St, Austin, TX 78705 - MAP
Phone: (512) 721-0200
Web: www.lbjlibrary.org

Step inside the life and times of the 36th United States President, Lyndon Baines Johnson at the LBJ Presidential Library. Check out photographs, letters, documents, exhibits and attractions that explain the history of this most revered man.

The life and legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson is highly celebrated at the presidential museum that bears his namesake, located on 30 acres at the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Dedicated in 1971, the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum chronicles the 36th U.S. President's contribution to civil rights and education in photographs, letters, official documents and exhibits. While many of the documents and letters were written by Johnson himself, others written by colleagues and friends describe an engaging man who was an underrated orator and a popular politician, whose seemingly low-key demeanor often overshadowed his many ground-breaking accomplishments in public service.

Johnson became president in 1963 following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Austin. Johnson went on to win the 1964 presidential election with 61% of the popular vote, the largest percentage of popular vote ever for a modern U.S. president. One of his first major accomplishments in office was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The LBJ Presidential Library houses 45 million pages of historical documents pertaining to Johnson's entire public career. Permanent exhibits include artwork of the President and First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson. A 7/8th scale replica of the Oval Office as Lyndon Johnson occupied it is also on display.

No memorial to the legacy of President Johnson would be complete without recognition of the accomplishments and endeavors of Lady Bird Johnson, the First Lady who was active in children's education and passionate about beautification and conservation. The First Lady Gallery displays artifacts that chronicle the programs Mrs. Johnson actively promoted as First Lady, such as Head Start, Vista, and the Space program.

Both President Lyndon B. Johnson and wife lay in repose on the grounds of the library and museum, which features a majestic waterfall at its inviting and stately entrance.

Texas Capitol
Family Friendly Attraction

Texas Capitol

Address: 1100 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701 - MAP
Phone: (512) 463-0063
Web: www.tspb.state.tx.us

Tour one of the most spectacular capitol buildings in the country. The Texas Capitol is known for its beautiful archtecture and houses artifacts and art significant to Texas history. Explore this national treasure and attraction for free, any day of the week.

The breathtaking beauty and unusual construction of the Texas State Capitol is truly the stuff of legends in the Lone Star State. As one of the nation's tallest capitols, the Texas Capitol is a marvel of late 19th century architecture, with its round arches, central dome and symmetrical design.

Originally completed in 1888 from the winning design in a national competition, the Texas Capitol was constructed with local materials unique to the Texas Hill Country. Sunset red granite forms the exterior walls, and the foundation is constructed from local limestone. The state paid for construction with 3 million acres of public land in the Texas Panhandle, which would later become the famous XIT Ranch.

The Capitol opened to the public on San Jacinto Day, April 21, 1888. Since then, it has undergone extensive renovations for maintenance and beautification.

A $75 million underground extension in 1993 essentially doubled the square footage of the building. In 1995, a $98 million restoration of the interior and exterior was completed. Then, in 1997, the gardens and walkways surrounding the Capitol were given an $8 million facelift.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1970, the Texas Capitol is a popular tourist attraction. Besides touring the building, visitors can view many artifacts of Texas history including the original flag from the Battle of San Jacinto, historical paintings and some of the original Senator desks from 1888.

Free walking tours of the Capitol are given daily (except on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Easter) and begin at the south entrance.

Thinkery
Family Friendly Attraction

Thinkery

Address: 1830 Simond Ave, Austin, TX 78723 - MAP
Phone: (512) 469-6200
Web: thinkeryaustin.org

The Thinkery, an evolution of Austin Children’s Museum, plays a vital role in developing future generations of creative problem solvers through science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

The museum began simply enough. It was essentially a museum without walls, and its founders took exhibits and programs to libraries, malls, schools and parks beginning in 1983.

After much success, the 'traveling' museum in 1987 found a permanent location, which it quickly outgrew. A major $4.8 million expansion in 1997 brought the Austin Children's Museum to a location downtown at the Dell Discovery Center.

2013 marks the move to a 40,000 square foot facility at Mueller focusing on "STEAM" learning – science, technology, engineering, art, and math – as well as healthy living. A hybrid science and technology center/children’s museum where your family will have a new experience with each visit.

Each gallery supports hands-on learning, with activities and content appropriate for visitors with children of all ages.

  • Innovators’ Workshop, our signature 2,500 square foot gallery focuses on making, and invention as forms of inquiry and creative problem solving.
  • Spark Shop engages children and adults in learning experiences that are not typical in your average family household.
  • Light Lab is a feature exhibit that welcomes guests to investigate the impact of color, light and shadows.
  • Areas of the En mi familia exhibit connect visitors to 3-D versions of artist Carmen Lomas Garza’s paintings of life in 1950′s South Texas.
  • Our Backyard invites guests outside to scale the heights of a universally-accessible, custom-designed climber, or rest under the branches of a native elm tree.
  • Currents features watery science you can see, feel and hear.
  • Kitchen Lab blends all the familiar elements of a kitchen space with a science lab.
  • Let’s Grow encourages healthy living through a series of unique exhibit based learning experiences focused on nutrition, motion and balance.
Zilker Botanical Garden
Family Friendly Attraction

Zilker Botanical Garden

Address: 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746 - MAP
Phone: (512) 477-8672
Web: www.zilkergarden.org

Explore the "jewel in the heart of Austin," better known as the Zilker Botanical Garden. The garden attraction sprawls through 31 acres of downtown Austin, offering a sweet excape from city streets. Don't miss when the flowers are in full bloom in the spring, when the garden holds its annual festival.

Located on 31 acres in the heart of downtown Austin, the Zilker Botanical Garden is often called "the jewel in the heart of Austin." The garden was established in 1995 and greets more than 400,000 visitors per year.

As the centerpiece of Zilker Park, the Zilker Botanical Garden takes advantage of its location on the banks of the Colorado River. Its beauty lies in the interconnected flow of featured gardens, natural grottoes, streams and waterfalls.

Themes among the gardens are as varied as nature itself. There's a Japanese garden and koi pond, a rose garden, herb garden, butterfly trail and garden, and a cactus garden among the selections to tour. Another unique feature is the Hartman Prehistoric Garden, which recreates the habitat of local dinosaurs.

Visitors can tour the gardens for free and take home a Texas succulent or majestic orchid, among the many offerings. In the spring, the Zilker Botanical Garden holds its annual garden festival.

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