Famed for its hip live music scene, Austin is so much more than just a sweet melody. With dozens of parks, tons of cool cultural attractions and an array of pint-sized activity options, Austin is an easy city to navigate for moms of preschoolers who are looking for both indoor and outdoor fun.
The city of Austin operates dozens of neighborhood parks. If you are looking for a fun-filled day out in the Texas sun playing on a climber or sliding down slides, then these green spaces are just the ticket. Add in an educational outing by trying out Zilker Park's Austin Nature and Science Center (austintexas.gov). For more than half a decade, Austin kids (and visiting friends) have taken in the Center's wildlife exhibits, family programs (check out the weekly Nature's Way Preschool at the park), or the outdoor Dino Pit (your preschooler can venture through a dinosaur trackway and even dig for her own fossils).
Don't let your little one think that museums are filled with musty, dusty relics for old people (yes, your preschooler does think you are old!). The Austin Children's Museum (austinkids.org) is 12,500 square feet of child-sized glee. Your little learner can explore science concepts such as gravity and motion, build whatever her imagination can create in the Funstruction Zone, explore the Global City or make her own art at the Design Center. If you are looking for something more structured, try one of the museum's classes and activities for little kids such as the daily educator-led gallery Discovery Time or Storytime.
Do you have a pint-sized Picasso or mini-Monet on your hands? Or maybe your preschooler just can't get enough of looking at imaginative art. Instead of just flipping through picture books (although that's not a bad idea), take your preschooler out for a day of artsy activities at the AMOA-Arthouse (amoa-arthouse.org). Aside from touring the museum's extensive galleries, parents with preschoolers can try out one of the family and kids' education programs at their two locations (Jones Center and Laguna Gloria). For example, every second Saturday of the month, the Laguna Gloria location offers hands-on art making for kids over 2-years-old.
What better way to spend a hot summer Austin day than to splash around in one of the local pools? Beat the heat and take your preschooler to the 3-acre Barton Springs Pool that comes from an actual natural spring. This low-cost outdoor activity is only $1 per child and has drawn residents and visitors for decades (Robert Redford learned to swim there when he was a preschooler). In addition to Barton Springs, the city of Austin operates more than a dozen neighborhood pools and water-fun splash pads.