Monday, May 21, 2012


Austin Nature & Science Center ~ Austin, Texas

One of the coolest places at Zilker Park is tucked away in the westernmost corner ~ The Austin Nature & Science Center.  Completely free to the public, we were amazed at how much there was to do at this place!

Around since 1960, the Austin Nature & Science Center has provided countless nature programs and educational resources for children and families in the Austin area.  Both of my children had visited on a school field trip, but this momma still wanted to check it out.

As you enter, don't walk too fast!  The path that leads you in "tells" you to experience the differing trees & plants.
It was cool to touch the smooth bark of one tree and compare it to the rough one of another.
As you enter the center, various animals and "skeletons" greet you.
But one of our favorite parts of the center had to have been the Discovery Labs - here you can see fossils, bones, and animals up close.
Filled with various objects from the wild, you can see anything from a set of antlers, to the tiny skeleton of a bat.  My kids kept find more & more "cool" things to show me.....a comparison of Texas bugs?  A full snakeskin? um, no thanks but I'm sure glad you like it!
Another area of the center had things tailored more to the younger set - with different animal fur to touch, Hill Country "caves" to crawl through, and a fun reading area.
The Austin Nature & Science Center is also home to many birds, fish, and animals that have been orphaned or can not survive out in the wild. Here they are cared for and everyone can learn all about these animals.....some that you may find out in your own neighborhood!
It's a short walk from the Wildlife Center to one of the spots that the Austin Nature & Science Center is known for - the Dino Pit.  Click here to read about all the fun that can be had there!

The Austin Nature & Science Center also has an amazing list of Summer Camps for kids aged 3-16 - details here - signup began in March, but there may be some availability.  There are also fun programs for the entire family to attend together and a wonderful Preschool program.  What an incredible resource!
It is a great place that is worth a visit every season.  Partner it with a picnic at Zilker Park and a ride on the Zilker Zephyr and you have a full day!

Other Fun Things to Do in Austin:

Texas Travel Facts for Austin Nature & Science Center:
Location: 301 Nature Center Drive Austin, Texas
Hours: Monday-Saturday: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm  Sunday:12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Admission: free
Recommended Time: 2-3 hours
Good to know: Bring a picnic lunch to lunch under a big oak tree; bring flip flops or crocs to walk in the water and play in the dino pit; sunscreen for the dino pit, there is no shade; bring lots of water


Rustown Mom said...

This is such a great place to take your kids - we take a picnic lunch and a jug of ice water and walk the trails around it, too. Our favorite spot is the owl cages. (:

Heidi said...

That's a great place to visit before it gets too hot! My boys love digging for dino bones in the sand pits.

Michele @ Malaysian Meanders said...

My family loves the Austin Nature and Science Center. I've been there so many times over the years that I've lost count. When they were preschoolers, the Dino Pit was the big draw. Now that they're older, the Discovery Lab fascinates them.