Visit Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farms to experience a working farm and living history park within the city limits. Located in North Austin, Pioneer Farms is a living history museum with six themed historic areas. Explore the more than 90 beautiful, wooded acres, including the Scarborough Barn where you can get up close and personal with live farm animals. Or work alongside a master craftsman and acquire a unique skill of your own.
1868 German Emigrant Farm. Courtesy of Pioneer Farms.
Pioneer farms is a one-of-a-kind outdoor classroom, spanning more than 90 acres. The land was donated to the Heritage Society of Austin in 1956 and, in 1974, the Austin Natural Science Association and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department came together to build the 19th-century farm and museum. Today, the museum interprets and preserves the histories and cultures of Central Texas during the 19th century and appreciates the natural landscapes and agrarian lifestyles of the Blackland Prairie.
Step back in time with six themed historic areas, complete with volunteer interpreters in historic dress. Immerse yourself in each of the areas, which include an 1841 Tonkawa Encampment, a native stretch of the Walnut Creek Greenbelt as is was in 1853, an 1868 German Emigrant Farm, an 1873 Texian Farm, an 1887 Cotton Planter's Farm and an 1899 Sprinkle Corner rural village. Plus, visit the 1850 Scarborough Barn (one of the oldest still in use in Central Texas) to meet the farm animals.
The recently announced Freedman's Farm will soon feature an 1870s-era farm house that was once home to Jack Dodson, a freedman farmer in Travis County. He lived for many years in the house that was relocated to Pioneer Farms and was generously donated by the landowners to preserve its history. The site will feature a functioning farmstead where visitors can see and learn about the Texans who gained their freedom from slavery after Emancipation.
Enjoy a regular schedule of historic demonstrations and workshops on topics ranging from archery and blacksmithing to backyard farming and painting. Plus, visit the General Store on select dates to get a variety of fresh veggies from the farm stand.
Covered Wagon Ride. Courtesy of Pioneer Farms.
Check the schedule for guided walking tours of the property, which feature a costumed guide who will take you through Texas history from 1841-1899.
Or, visit the museum after dark for a spooky Ghost Tour! This nighttime walking tour takes visitors through the farm's most haunted spots, and is rich with stories about spirits, unexplained sightings and things that go bump in the night.
Hours, Admission & Accessibility
Pioneer Farms in open Thursday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekly. Visitors can enjoy self-guided, small-group walking tours are the historic sites and extensive trails. As of publication, COVID-19 rules are in effect: social distancing and masks required.
Admission is $8 for Adults (18-64), $6 for Youth (3-17), $6 for seniors (65+) and children 2 and under are free. Admission for special-event and nighttime shows, such as Halloween, Christmas and Easter shows and private programs, may be higher.
Pioneer Farms wants everyone to be able to enjoy themselves as they step back in time. Most of the historic buildings are accessible by wheelchair. Buildings and walkways are authentic to the 19th Century, which may impose some restrictions. Gravel paths in the historic areas may be difficult in some areas for wheelchair travel. Handicap parking is available close to the Front Gate at Sprinkle Corner. Pets are not permitted, but service dogs are allowed.
Learn more at www.pioneerfarms.org and plan your visit today!
Photo of Freedman House Exhibit, courtesy of Pioneer Farms. Photo of Community Garden behind the Bell House, credit Kathryn Sibley Horton.