Things To Do In Austin With Preschoolers (Ages 3-6)


Got a preschooler and are looking for an excuse to get out of the house? Here are our ideas of things to do in Austin with your little ones:

  • Austin Nature & Science Center – The ANSC provides hands-on exhibits and activities to increase awareness and appreciation for the natural world. Preschoolers enjoy splashing in the creek, seeing the animals, checking out the Trading Counter and digging in the Dino Pit.
  • Austin Public Library – The library is a great way to get you out and in the larger world. The library’s website has lots of ideas for activities and allows you to find recommended books and reserve them to pick up at your closest branch. The library has several storytimes for this age group: Toddler Storytime for 18 months to three years, Preschool Storytime for ages 3-5, Pajama Storytime for 5 and under, All Ages Storytime for kids 5 and under and Dual Language (and Spanish) Storytime for kids of all ages. There is even a Sensory Storytime for children of all ages and abilities. Several library events are for ages 5 and up, including Lego Lab, Book Circle and Night Crafters. Check the calendar for more details.
  • Austin Steam Train – Take a ride on a piece of history as you watch Central Texas through your window.
  • Austin Zoo – This rescue zoo is a great place to take kids of all ages. In addition to seeing the animals, the preschool set may enjoy a train ride, feeding the goats and checking out what’s inside the Reptile House.
  • Blanton Museum of Art – For some parents of preschoolers, a trip to an art museum is doable. For others, it is not, so your mileage may vary. Keep in mind that Thursdays are free to the public.
  • BookPeople – This local bookstore has weekly storytimes, including their popular once-a-month Tiny Tales To You Petting Zoo storytime.
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum – In addition to exploring the museum’s hands-on exhibits, the Bullock offers drop-in storytimes for the tiniest Texans, game days and take-home art creations.
  • Camping – Experience the great outdoors at a nearby campground. Here is a post about our first experience camping and one list of places to go as a starting point.
  • Capital Cruises – Watch the bats emerge downtown from the comfort of a boat. No paddling required!
  • Central Market – Central Market’s North Lamar location is not only a place to shop, eat and listen to music. In addition to the playscape, preschoolers enjoy walking on the path to the east of the play structures, feeding ducks, climbing on the heritage oak and looking for other wildlife.
  • Classes – There are too many classes to list here, but a few are Heartsong Music‘s Big Kids, mixed-aged and intergenerational classes; Little Yoga House’s Groovy Ganesas class; Gymboree; The Little Gym and The Contemporary Austin’s Art School.
  • The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria is a magical place to walk around and explore the gardens and sculptures in the Sculpture Garden (just keep in mind that some cannot be touched).
  • Crowe’s Nest Farm – Located in Manor, this working farm helps cultivate a conservation ethic in children. In addition to open houses in the fall and spring, you can book a tour of the farm.
  • The Dinosaur Park – This outdoor museum, located in Cedar Creek, is lots of fun for dinosaur lovers. Walk by replicas, dig for fossils and enjoy a picnic on the grounds.
  • Fishing – Experience the thrill of reeling in a big fish at one of these recommended sites.
  • Fly a kite – You can fly a kite with thousands of your friends at Zilker Park in March, but you can also go to Zilker another time, or head to Mueller Lake Park, Brentwood Park and Circle C Park to watch your kite go up, up, up.
  • Flying Theater Machine – Kids can get their first taste of improv at these weekly shows.
  • French Legation – You can explore the grounds of the French Legation or check out one of the storytimes.
  • Garden stores – It’s empowering making something grow, so head to your local garden store to get started. Here are some ideas to get started.
  • Hoppin’ House – A fun indoor playground with a special area for littles.
  • Kiddie Acres – Preschoolers can enjoy all the attractions at this retro amusement park, although the mini golf may not hold their attention for as long.
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  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – Your wee ones can visit the Little House and scavenge for “bugs” in courtyard containers, swing in the Arboretum, have a picnic on a shady table, look for caterpillars in the insectary in the spring and summer, count the turtles and fish in the Wetland Pond, walk on the trails, look for butterflies and, of course, enjoy the flowers.
  • Little Helping Hands – This local nonprofit offers hands-on volunteer opportunities for children as young as three. Register on the organization’s website to receive emails when opportunities are available. Act quickly, as spots fill up fast.
  • Little Land Play Gym – This facility has equipment to help with sensory development and fine and gross motor skills. Little Land also offers classes for preschoolers.
  • Loco-Motion Inflatable Play – This indoor playground has inflatables and a kid’s play town.
  • Meadows Center – This is technically San Marcos, but close enough…right? Take a tour of the San Marcos River on a glass-bottomed boat.
  • Move Your Tale’s What’s The Story, Steve? – These weekly improv shows take kids through a journey of their own choosing.
  • Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch – Head down to New Braunfels for this fun, drive-through zoo. Read about our experience here.
  • Parks – This is a big one! There are so many parks to choose from in Austin. Our favorites for preschoolers are Bartholomew, Zilker, Northwest, Mayfield, Pease, Perry and Reed. During the summer months, enjoy splash pads at the parks.
  • Peter Pan Mini Golf – Spend the morning teeing off at Peter Pan, an Austin tradition since 1946.
  • Pioneer Farms – Any place with animals is a hit for preschoolers, and Pioneer Farms has barnyard animals and a life-sized teepee.
  • Pump It Up – Another indoor inflatable playground for when you want fun indoors.
  • Sweet Berry Farms – Having a preschooler is the perfect excuse to pick strawberries in the spring during the week at Sweet Berry Farms, so you can avoid the crowds. In the fall, you can enjoy the annual fall festival.
  • Texas Capitol – You can take your preschoolers to explore the state capitol building at your own pace. A picnic on the grounds is fun and for extra credit, you can roll down the grassy hill!
  • Texas Memorial Museum – This natural history museum, located on the UT campus, has dinosaurs and fossils, Texas wildlife and gems and minerals on display for visitors.
  • Texas Military Forces Museum – This free museum at Camp Mabry is huge and has lots of eye-catching exhibits, as well as space to walk around outside. Read more about it here.
  • Thinkery – Austin’s children’s museum offers lots of activities for preschoolers. Kids 3-6 will especially enjoy Currents, Light Lab and Our Backyard. Thinkery also offers workshops and classes for this age group.
  • Toybrary Austin – In addition to having a toy lending library, kids up to 5 years old can drop-in and play at Toybrary with their caregivers.
  • Toy stores – It can be a fun outing to head to a local toy store to check things out or for a little treat. A few of our favorites are Terra Toys, Toy Joy and Over the Rainbow.
  • Trains – In addition to what we have already mentioned above, we have a whole list of places to ride trains in Austin you might want to check out.
  • Umlauf Sculpture Garden – This museum is different than many in that the outdoor bronze sculptures has been washed and waxed for gentle touching. Climbing is prohibited, as is touching works of art inside the Gallery.
  • ZACH Theatre – ZACH Theatre’s Family Series presents top-notch productions for kids.
  • Zilker Botanical Garden – Stroll through the grounds to find your favorite flower. Dinosaur lovers will enjoy visiting the Hartman Prehistoric Garden.

What’s your favorite thing to do with your preschoolers in Austin?

About Nicole Basham 793 Articles
A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole uses her 10-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown through his eyes. In Thoreau's words, her mission is to "suck out all the marrow of life", or in her son's words, to cultivate in him a love of "advenchers".

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