13 Extreme Austin Playdates for Kids: Mom’s Summer Bucket List

In summer, outdoor activities will eventually become the norm for children everywhere. But with daily schedules and routines getting in the way, do you ever feel like you’re sitting at the same park or backyard watching your kids engage in the same summer activities? Today I was at the park with Jack and found myself lost in a daydream, thinking back to when I was a kid. Sure, growing up I had my regular hot spots for playdates, but there were some pretty cool adventures sprinkled in throughout the way. Adventures I’ll never forget.

With this in mind, I thought I would put together a bucket list for moms like me who are looking for new adventures for playdates or otherwise. Keep in mind you might want to push some of these bucket list items off until your children are old enough to really enjoy them. But all of these activities can be shared with the immediate family, or your local mom friends.

1. The Austin Zoo

What kid doesn’t love meeting the exotic creatures? You don’t have to travel to Africa to experience wildlife. Your local zoo will give your children the up-close wildlife experience that they will never forget. This is definitely an all-day adventure, so pack a lunch and a poncho in case the forecast is gray. Babies can navigate the zoo in strollers, giving moms a chance to get some low impact exercise.

2. The Beach in Galveston

Building sandcastles, riding waves, playing frisbee… the list goes on. There are so many fun activities for children and families at the beach. Make sure you pack enough sand toys, sunscreen, water, and snacks.

3. The Thinkery Children’s Museum

With a variety of hands-on engagement exhibits, your local children’s museum focuses on educating children about science, culture, and the environment through play. And these exhibits are not just stimulating for children; you’ll find yourself instantly captivated by the creativity behind each interactive display.

4. The Schlitterbahn Water Park

Regardless of your kids’ ages, you can never go wrong with the water park. Make sure you pack a towel for yourself, as well, because there is a good chance you’ll find yourself hitting the water slides right next to the kiddos.

5. Austin Nature & Science Center

Escape to the planetarium and IMAX theatres or sit back and learn about the latest innovations in robotics, clean energy, medical, and biotech. Your local museum of science is the perfect escape for both parents and children.

6. An Austin City Tour

Often when we live near a big city, we take for granted the many historical monuments, buildings, and museums that tell the story of the city history. Hop on a tour bus/boat, or grab a spot in line behind one of those dressed up tour guides you always see. You’ll be surprised how many new things you and your children will discover along the way.

7. lake Travis Boating/Sailing

Grab your Nantucket reds and your favorite shades, and schedule the family for a boat tour or sailboat charter along your local coastline, riverway, or lake. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture some photos of the surrounding wildlife and a perfect family photo – may be your next holiday card.

8. Hike River Place Nature Trail

Adults can always use the extra workout and let’s face it, kids have plenty of energy to burn. Open up your local state map and start circling exciting trails. Make sure to pack a lunch, bug spray, your camera, and a first aid kit.

9. Camping at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Hill Country, TX

C’mon, when was the last time you went camping? Turn your cell phones off (bring them though for emergencies) and round up the troops for a weekend-long camping excursion somewhere extra fun. Pack the bathing suits as there are likely some swimming holes nearby — and don’t forget the marshmallows!

10. Family Road Trip to Bandera

Vacation travel can get fairly pricey when you start to figure in the cost of airline travel for your whole family. Rather than wait for the big-ticket vacation, save up just enough money for a short family road trip. Pack a cooler for lunches and maybe even a tent if you pass a campground along the way. Oh and before you go, cozy up with your favorite Griswald Family Vacation movie 😉

11. The Austin Shrine Circus

Get online and find out when the next circus is coming to town. You may need to travel a few towns over, but come on, it’s so worth it! You and your children will get absolutely lost in the sea of acrobats, trained animals, trapeze and tightrope act, jugglers, and stunt-oriented artists. Summer is the season of the circus. Don’t miss it!

12. The Carnival/Local Fair

Similar to the Circus, the local carnival/fair only comes around once or twice a year. Make sure to look this up in advance and book it in your calendar before it fills up with summertime commitments. Your kids will go bonkers for the Ferris wheel, shoot the prize games, and cotton candy.

13. Round Rock Express Ball Game

Catch a major league game or save some dough and hit up your closest minor league stadium. What’s better than indulging in an ice-cold fountain soda or draft beer in the hot summer while your kids wave foam hands in the air and scream for strikeouts and home runs?

Alright, this is enough to get us all started on summer adventures. If you have other ideas, please share them! And have fun ladies!

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