Visiting Austin with a toddler in tow? Here is a list of kid-friendly attractions that you can enjoy before naptime!

Dinosaur playground at the Thinkery children

  1. Thinkery – Austin’s new 40,000 square foot children’s museum encourages STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning, for babies on up. The fun-filled facility is an interactive science and technology center that will entertain for hours. Bring a spare outfit for your tot, as they are bound to get wet splashing around in the indoor water exhibit, Currents. Admission is by donation (suggested $1) on Wednesdays from 4-8 p.m. Arrive early to play at the playground across the street, and visit with the ducks in nearby Mueller Lake!

  2. Zilker Park – Explore nature at Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin Nature and Science Center, and UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum. Cool off with a dip in Barton Springs, hop aboard the Zilker Zephyr train, and spend some time on the playground! Zilker Park has it all. Need help navigating? You can find a handy map of the park here.

  3. Mayfield Park, Laguna Gloria & Mt. Bonnell – Peacocks, sculptures, and a beautiful view! Picnic with peafowl in Mayfield Park, then head to the neighboring property, The Contemporary Austin's Laguna Gloria, for gardens and outdoor art exhibitions. If little legs aren't overtired, climb nearby Mt. Bonnell's 106 steps for sweeping views from up on high.

  4. Central Market North – With local live music playing on the sprawling outdoor patio and a large playground just steps away, Central Market is an ideal spot to grab a casual family meal. Plus, kids eat free on Tuesday evenings, starting at 5 p.m.

  5. Texas State Capitol – Take a free tour of the Capitol, eat onsite in the Capitol Grill, then follow the sidewalk across the grounds to the Capitol Visitors Center.

  6. Take a Hike – Long walks are best when they end with a waterfall! Enjoy a stroll along the Barton Creek Greenbelt to Twin Falls, an urban hike in Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve, or a wilderness adventure in McKinney Falls State Park. For a stroller-friendly jaunt, check out Austin's new Boardwalk.

  7. BookPeople - If you're looking to spend a low-key morning downtown, head to the largest independent bookstore in Texas for storytime, then walk across the street to the playground on the Whole Foods Market rooftop plaza!

  8. Comedy for Kids - Enjoy a morning of silliness with an interactive comedy show just for kids! Children love watching the zany actors, and even jumping up onstage to join in the fun. Local shows are performed by Move Your Tale (Saturdays) and Flying Theater Machine (Sundays).

  9. Inner Space Cavern - Go underground for the Adventure Tour (ages three and under are free), or buy a bag of "Pay Dirt" from the gift store and let your child mine for gemstones at the outdoor Inner Space Mine!

  10. The Dinosaur Park – Just east of Austin, you will find life-size dinosaur replicas, from a 6-foot long Velociraptor to a 85-foot long Brachiosaurus. Make sure to pick up a scavenger hunt and enjoy a search through the woods for prehistoric clues.

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Heidi Gollub is the founder and editor of the award-winning website Free Fun in Austin.com. She can be contacted at heidi@freefuninaustin.com. For more toddler fun, check out 100+ Things to do with Preschoolers in Austin and 100+ Free Things to do in Austin!