Austin Parks And Fun Outdoor Family Activities In Austin

With over 200 City of Austin parks, nature preserves and greenbelts, Austin truly is a park within a city. Explore Austin parks and discover the fun of outdoor activities in Austin.

Mueller Park System
Web Site: Mueller Park System
4550 Mueller Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78723

Phone: (512) 703-9202
The Mueller community park system has free fun in Austin for kids and families with over 140 acres of parks, open spaces and a seven-mile hike and bike trail. Mueller community is a planned urban mixed-use community located off Airport Boulevard east of IH-35 on the former site of Austin’s old city airport. The centerpiece of Mueller is the 30 acre Lake Park with a five acre lake. The lake at Mueller has ducks and geese, a children’s playscape, picnic areas and lots of grass for kids to run and play on. Besides the waterfowl at the lake, other wildife can be seen in the park and on the hiking trails, including flocks of wild monk parakeets. Parking for Lake Park is across the street from Austin’s children’s museum, The Thinkery.

Zilker Park
Web Site: Zilker Park
2100 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78746

Phone: (512) 974-6700
Located at 2100 Barton Springs Road, Zilker Metropolitan Park is considered “Austin’s most loved park.” This 351 acre park is home to a variety of recreation opportunities and special events for the individual or the whole family. The Hike and Bike Trail snakes through it, Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s oldest, is open daily, Zephyr train rides for the family, soccer fields, multi-age playgrounds, picnic areas are all offered. Special events are held there on a regular basis. It is located in the heart of central Austin. Zilker Metropolitan Park charges a $5 parking fee on weekends in March through September, holidays and special events.

Mayfield Park
Website: Mayfield Park
3505 West 35th Street
Austin Texas 78703

Phone: (512) 974-6797
Mayfield Park and Preserve is located in the middle of Austin close to Laguna Gloria art museum and Mount Bonnell. Mayfield Park was once part of a summer home owned by the Mayfield family. The Mayfield family deeded the property to the City of Austin as a park in 1971. Mayfield Park has a historic cottage and two acres of cottage gardens with 32 flower beds maintained by volunteers. What makes Mayfield Park free fun in Austin for families are the gardens with palm trees, ponds and over two dozen peacocks roaming the grounds. Kids love seeing the fish, turtles, frogs and water lilies in the ponds. Blue and Green Herons can often seen at the ponds or nesting in the trees. Peacocks have been part of Mayfield Park since friends of the family brought a pair as Christmas presents in 1935. Peacocks can be found all over Mayfield Park in the trees, on the cottage rooftops, in the gardens and walking on the grounds. The best time to see the male peacocks display their feathers in a full fan is in the early spring during mating season. The best time to collect peacock feathers is in late July and early Augest when mating season is over and the male peacocks tail feathers fall out. Mayfield Preserve surrounds Mayfield Park with 21 acres of walking trails and wildlife habitat. Mayfield Park and Preserve is open daily from 5 AM to 10 PM. Admission and parking for Mayfield Park is free. The parking lot is small, but there is also parking available on the street.

Zilker Park Boat Rentals
Web Site: Zilker Park Boat Rentals
2101 Andrew Zilker Road
Austin, TX 78746

Phone: (512) 478-3852

Zilker Botanical Garden
Web Site: Zilker Botanical Garden
2220 Barton Springs Road
Austin, Texas 78746

Phone: (512) 477-8672
For over fifty years, the Zilker Botanical Garden has hosted the Zilker Garden Festival every spring as a fundraising event featuring plants and garden themed accessories for sale as well as educational displays and fun activities for kids.

Austin Parks and Recreation Department
Web Site: Austin Parks and Recreation Department
200 South Lamar Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78704

Phone: (512) 974-6700
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department calls Austin “A city within a park” and maintains more than two hundred parks, twelve nature preserves and twenty-six greenbelts on Austin area creeks and canyons. Most parks in Austin are open from 5 AM to 10 PM. The City of Austin Parks and Recreation website has information about swimming pools and lessons, programs for kids, teens and senior citizens, museums, municipal golf courses and tennis courts, volunteer opportunities and more including a “Park Viewer” interactive map to find parks and other recreation facilities in Austin.

Bright Leaf Preserve
Web Site: Bright Leaf Preserve
Ranch Road 2222 and Creek Mountain Road
Austin, Texas 78731

Phone: (512) 459-7269
Bright Leaf is a natural area over 200 acres in size within the city limits of Austin, Texas. Bright Leaf began as the inspiration of Georgia Lucas who purchased the land in 34 separate real estate transactions in order to put together the property she named Bright Leaf. To gather 216 acres of contiguous undeveloped land within the city limits of Austin today would be impossible. The land was first under Texas Parks and Wildlife management and is now owned by the Austin Community Foundation. In order to protect the fragile nature of Bright Leaf, Georgia Lucas specified in her will that “all hikes will be guided hikes”. Guided hikes at Bright Leaf take place on the second Saturday and second Sundays each month at 9 AM. Park visitors are to meet the guide at the parking lot off of 2222 and Creek Mountain Road. Hikes are approximately 4 miles long and last 2- 1/2 hours. Hikers should dress for the weather and bring a water bottle. Admission to the guided hikes at Bright Leaf Preserve is FREE.

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Web Site: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
4801 La Crosse Avenue
Austin, Texas 78739

Phone: (512) 292-4200
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was founded by Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor Johnson, First Lady of the United States from 1963 to 1969 during the presidency of her husband Lyndon B. Johnson, and the actress Helen Hayes in 1982 as the National Wildflower Research Center with the goal of protecting and preserving North America’s native plants and natural landscapes. Since it’s founding, the Center in southwest Austin has become one of the country’s most credible research institutions and effective advocates for native plants became a University of Texas Organized Research Unit in 2006. The public gardens, woodlands and meadows display native plants of the Central Texas Hill Country, South and West Texas, while the conservation program protects rare and endangered flora. The Wildflower Center hosts frequent events to help educate and entertain the public including book signings, art shows, photo exhibits, plant sales, gardening festivals, kid’s events and annual parties and galas. The Wildflower Center also presents an informal education program called Go Native U with classes on sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, native plant gardening, the benefits of native plants and other topics related to sustainable landscape design. Some of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center informal classes are available as online webinars.

Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) Parks
Web Site: LCRA Parks
3700 Lake Austin Boulevard
Austin, Texas 78703

Phone: (512) 473-3200
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) operate forty parks and recreation areas along the Texas Colorado River including the Austin area and several of these parks have swimming areas available. The LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority) maintains 42 parks along the Texas Colorado River, from the Hill Country to the Gulf of Mexico. From camping to fishing to hiking, LCRA has many different varieties of park to offer. The website has a comprehensive list of all parks the LCRA maintains.

Rowing Dock
Web Site: Rowing Dock
2418 Stratford Drive
Austin Texas 78746

Phone: (512) 459-0999
The Rowing Dock on Town Lake offers recreational boat rentals right on the shores of Ladybird Lake. They rent kayaks, paddleboats, and stand up paddleboards at an hourly rate. They will assist with getting your boat in and out of the water, and with your paddles and lifejackets. Also available are summer camps, group rentals, and rowing and kayaking lessons.

Texas Rowing Center
Web Site: Texas Rowing Center
1541 West Cesar Chavez
Austin, Texas 78703

Phone: (512) 467-7799
Located on the Hike and Bike Trail, the Texas Rowing Center offers kayak and rowing boat rentals. Also available are summer camps, school programs, and lessons.

Travis Audubon Society
Web Site: Travis Audubon Society
3710 Cedar Street Box 5
Austin, Texas 78705

Phone: (512) 300-2473
This local non-profit promotes the enjoyment and understanding of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats in Central Texas. The Travis Audubon Society provides free field trips and programs on wildlife conservation and manages two wildlife sanctuaries, the 690 acre Baker Sanctuary for Golden Cheeked Warblers in northwest Travis County and the 10 acre Blair Woods in East Austin.

Travis County Parks
Web Site: Travis County Parks
Phone: (512) 854-7275
Many parks in the Travis County Park system surrounding Austin have swimming areas, including Bob Wentz Park at Windy Point, Pace Bend Park and Tom Hughes Park (Marshall Ford). Entrance fees are required at most parks and life guards are not on duty. Always use caution when visiting natural swimming areas due to possible rugged terrains, steep inclines and variable lake levels. Glass containers and fireworks are prohibited in all Travis County Parks.

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Web Site: Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
805 North Capital of Texas Highway
Austin, Texas 78746

Phone: (512) 327-7622
In August 1975, the City of Austin put $1.6 million into the purchase of land to lengthen the Barton Creek Greenbelt west of Loop 360, and the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve was created. As an interdisciplinary laboratory for St. Edwards, Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve provides one of the biggest examples of the Greenbelts that exist around Austin.

Austin Parks Foundation
Web Site: Austin Parks Foundation
507 Calles Street, Suite 116
Austin, TX 78702

Phone: (512) 477-1566
The Austin Parks Foundation is a non-profit that seeks to fill in the gap between what needs to be done to maintain and improve parks in the City of Austin and what the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department can afford to do. Established in 1992, Austin Parks Foundation has created physical improvements, new programming, and greater community involvement for Austin’s parks including millions of dollars in volunteer time, in-kind donations, and financial support for city parks. The Austin Parks Foundation features a “Find a Park” web page to search for parks by search for parks by amenity, as well as by zip code, area, or name.