9 Family Friendly Day Trips from Austin

Austin Moms Blog| Summer Jam Series 9 Day Trips From Austin

Another school year is winding down, which means summer is knocking at the door. If you’re like me, you’re already in planning mode thinking of different ways to keep your littles entertained throughout the dog days of summer. Though Austin has a plethora of options for family friendly fun, sometimes a road trip is in order for a little change of scenery.

Personally, I am a big fan of the family road trip. Many of my favorite childhood memories started in our family’s minivan. We may have driven our parents slightly crazy en route, but priceless memories were made and the end result was always lots family fun.

Austin is a city surrounded by some of Central Texas’ greatest small town jewels. Lucky for us, these destinations aren’t too far from home, and offer family friendly activities that won’t break the bank. These six surrounding towns offer family friendly activities, plus so much more. Happy exploring!

Bastrop:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 30 miles)

The Dinosaur Park

(893 Union Chapel Road Cedar Creek, TX 78612)

Photo Courtesy of The Dinosaur Park

Photo Courtesy of The Dinosaur Park

The Dinosaur Park, located on the outskirts of Bastrop in Cedar Creek, is a family owned business started by a family whose children REALLY love dinosaurs! This unique outdoor museum features about 25 realistic life-size dinosaur replicas, most being specific examples of ones that lived in Texas. Unlike most dinosaur museums, these replicas show skin and color variations to give a better understanding as to how these creatures really looked when alive. The statues range in size from the 2-foot Compsognathus to the 85-foot long Brachiosaurus. The Dinosaur Park is an educational and fun place, where everyone can learn about the majestic animals that ruled our earth for over 150 million years. Other activities include a scavenger hunt, a fossil-dig, playground/ picnic area, and a wonderful Dinosaur Store sure to please any dinosaur fan! For more information, visit TheDinoPark.com

Capital of Texas Zoo

(367A Jenkins Road Cedar Creek Texas 78612)

zoo

The Capital of Texas Zoo is a small, intimate zoo located on the outskirts of Bastrop in Cedar Creek. It is home to over 500 rare and beautiful wild animals. The zoo’s twin missions include Wildlife Education and Conservation of Endangered Species. Kids can enjoy a hands-on experience at the petting zoo, which features several domestic animals. The zoo also offers other interactive exhibits. Would you like to pet a python, feed a grape to a lemur or help give a baby animal it’s bottle? The Capital of Texas Zoo offers these activities on it’s one of a kind tours conducted by experienced zoo staff. You can also pack a lunch and enjoy the free roaming peacocks in the picnic area. For more information, visit CapitalOfTexasZoo.org

Cedar Park:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 20 miles)

Austin Steam Train Association

(401 East Whitestone Blvd. Cedar Park TX 78613)

Train

Photo Courtesy of Austin Steam Train Association

Do you have a train lover in your family? The Austin Steam Train is a tourist railroad primarily geared for kids and families. This year the train will take about 115 trips, 105 of the rides being family oriented. Don’t let the namesake fool you, the train depot is actually located in the heart of Cedar Park. (The organization was founded in Austin, so that is how it got it’s name.) The most popular route is the Hill Country Flyer. This 66 mile round trip excursion journeys through the Texas Hill Country, crossing the wooden trestle bridge over the South San Gabriel River and Short Creek Canyon. During the two hour layover in Burnet you can enjoy lunch on your own, a leisurely stroll around the historic town square and the Wild West Gunfight (weather permitting). Finally, relax and enjoy the historic cars as the train returns to Cedar Park in the afternoon. Another popular route is the Super Hero Flyer. This 44 mile round trip features an action packed 3 hour ride where your super hero enjoys super food and drinks, and a visit by the Super Hero Squad! (Costumes are encouraged.) Think train rides are for boys only? Think again! The Princess Flyer is a 44 mile round trip featuring a leisurely 3 hour ride where your princess enjoys milk and cookies, and a visit by the very special Depot Princesses! (Costumes and stuffed animals are encouraged.) The Austin Steam Train Association also puts on the annual Day Out With Thomas the Train event in Burnet. For more information and scheduling, visit AustinSteamTrain.org

LaGrange:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 65 miles)

The Jersey Barnyards

(3117 State Hwy 159 LaGrange, TX 78945)

Cow

 This working dairy farm is owned and operated by the Frerich family and has been run by four generations for over 50 years. To this day, approximately 100 cows are milked twice every day at the farm. They also farm 740 acres for pasture, hay, and other feed crops. The Frerich family strives to educate their visitors by giving them the opportunity to see where milk comes from and what exactly has to happen for a gallon of milk to appear at the grocery store. This trip is not only educational, but extremely fun for little ones! You can take a guided or self-guided tour to learn about and interact with the barnyard animals on the farm. You will see mini horses, donkeys, chickens, rabbits, ducks, sheep, pigs, turkeys, calves and goats. Most of these animals you are able to pet. The guided tour includes feeding the goats, chickens, ducks and rabbits. You can even pay $2 to bottle feed an adorable Jersey calf! Then, relax on a tractor-drawn hayride to the dairy where you’ll learn about the Jersey herd- where they live, what they eat, and where they’re milked. As a part of the guided tour, everyone has the option to try their hand at hand milking a cow! This is one of my son’s favorite places to visit. We’ve been taking him since before he was a year old! For more information, visit TexasJersey.com

Marble Falls:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 50 miles)

Sweet Berry Farm

(1801 FM 1980 Marble Falls, TX 78654)

IMG_5291

Enjoy a day of relaxation and leisure at this scenic farm in Marble Falls. Depending on the season, your family can enjoy picking the freshest fruit and/or veggies to bring home and enjoy. Strawberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes and onions are available for “You pick em” (availability subject to crop conditions.) The farm is also home to goats (which you can feed), horses, and a donkey. The little ones will also enjoy The Berry Bounce House and The Sweet Berry Express barrel train (on the weekends.) Don’t forget to indulge in homemade ice cream or popsicles made from the farm fresh fruit while you’re there! For more information and crop availability, visit SweetBerryFarm.com

New Braunfels:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 60 miles)

McKenna Children’s Museum

(801 W San Antonio St. New Braunfels, TX 78130)

McKenna

Photo Courtesy of McKenna Children’s Museum

McKenna Children’s Museum is a learning environment bursting with fun! Discover a world of arts and creativity, science and technology, culture, health and history. The McKenna Children’s Museum is a stimulating environment dedicated to promoting the overall well-being of children. Children can see, touch, smell and taste in an atmosphere especially designed to build healthy young minds and wholesome bodies. Watch them live large. Learn lots. Laugh out loud. And let their imagination do the rest. Exhibits include: Lend-A-Hand Ranch, the Grocery Store, Outside the Lines Art Studio, the Tot Spot, Destination Space and many more. Your child can be a doctor, banker and gardener in the morning, a scientist, artist and inventor in the afternoon! Imagination is all it takes to invent a healthy adventure at The McKenna Children’s Museum. For more information, visit McKennaKids.org

Texas Ski Ranch

(6700 IH-35 N New Braunfels, TX 78130)

TSR

Photo Courtesy of Texas Ski Ranch

Texas Ski Ranch is a 70-acre action sports paradise located in New Braunfels. When it comes to wakeboarding and cable parks, TSR is consistently ranked as one of the top facilities in the world. With three cable systems and a boat lake there is truly something for all levels of water sports enthusiasts. First time riders can take advantage of our incredible coaching and beginner cables. More advanced riders can charge the park and hit structures. What makes TSR unique is the culture and facilities surrounding the lakes. Riders can indulge in just about every board sport under the sun including snowboarding, skateboarding and SUP. Visitors can lounge on the beach, dine at Wahoo’s Fish Taco or burn energy in Spring Loaded trampoline park. There is truly fun for the whole family! For more information, visit TexasSkiRanch.com

Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo

(5640 IH 35 S New Braunfels, Texas 78132)

Photo Courtesy of Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo

Photo Courtesy of Animal World & Snake Farm

For the last 40 years, local and international travelers have hailed Animal World and Snake Farm (formerly known as Snake Farm) as the “must see” attraction of Interstate 35 in New Braunfels, Texas.

This zoo is so much more than just a reptile house! The zoo houses over 500 animals at any one time, including primates, alligators, exotic hoof stock, birds, cats, white lion cubs and of course, snakes. There’s a petting zoo for the little ones, and for the less faint of heart, you can observe the alligator, crocodile, large cat and snake feedings! For more information, visit ExoticAnimalWorld.com

Sheridan:

(Approximate distance from Austin, 90 miles)

Splashway Family Waterpark
(5211 Main St. Sheridan, TX 77475)

Photo Courtesy of Splashway Family Waterpark

Photo Courtesy of Splashway Family Waterpark

My family loves Splashway because you get all of the benefits of a big waterpark, minus the crazy crowds and hefty pricetag. At Splashway, your family will experience a variety of attractions including zip lines, a wave pool, kiddie areas, speed slides, mat racers, tube slides, and a lazy river. You can relax under a private cabana and bring your picnic in the park, or eat at the park cafe. Tubes and parking are free and the park provides life jackets for everyone. The little ones will never forget the memories made when they meet “Ray,” the sun shining mascot. Another reason I recommend this waterpark over bigger ones is it’s family owned, family operated and full of family fun. The team at Splashway Family Waterpark makes it their mission to “create an experience worth coming back for.” For more information, visit SplashwayWaterpark.com

:: Where’s your favorite day tripper spot? ::

 

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