Oh, Austin. From your people to your outdoor spaces to your laid-back vibe, it’s no wonder people are flocking to our town in droves. For parents, a great way to get out of the house is by exploring parks with our kids. That said, it can be easy to go to the same parks over and over again. Why not try to mix it up and try out a new park? We’re going to highlight our favorite parks in different parts of the city. Here are our top 5 parks in east Austin:
Bartholomew District Park – 5201 Berkman Drive
You may have been to Bartholomew to check out the recent upgrades to the pool, but there is much more to the park than swimming. There is a (shaded) splash pad, several playgrounds, a creek, picnic areas, a disc golf course, and plenty of picnic tables. When my son was a toddler, he loved playing in the pretend train car in a shady area of the park. This park is large and has plenty of room to explore. At times I have noticed some trash here and there, but the neighborhood and community organizations organize periodic cleanups to keep the park clean.
Mueller Lake Park – 4550 Mueller Blvd.
If your kids can last all day long, the perfect twofer is to head to the Thinkery in the Mueller development and then head outside to play at the Lake Park. The Park is enclosed, which is really nice if you have kids who tend to scatter. The playscapes are unique, so they are not the same plastic structures you see at many other parks around town. Some of the features appeal to older kids, which is nice if you are trying to entertain both younger and older children. Bonus: bathrooms and water fountains are right nearby. The pond is a nice place to feed the ducks and if you need to push a stroller, you can do so on the loop trail. Don’t forget to check out Nessy, the new mosaic sculpture located right outside of the Park’s gates.
Metz Park – 2407 Canterbury St.
Metz has a lot to offer in the summer, with a partially shaded splash pad and a neighborhood pool next door. The Recreation Center hosts events, including movie nights. The playscape has a fun cannon for kid to sit and play on, in addition to other fun equipment. Down the hill from the park is a bridge that lead to the hike and bike trail, if you feel like a ride. There are also sports fields if you feel like hosting a pick-up kickball game.
Patterson Park – 4200 Brookview Rd.
Patterson is located right outside of the Mueller development in the Cherrywood neighborhood. The playground is very shady, as is a pavilion for parties. The park has a concrete mini-ramp for skateboarders which was built by volunteers. The neighborhood pool has a beautiful flamingo mosaic piece of art on the wall. There are also tennis courts and sports fields, and we have enjoyed playing checkers on concrete tables on the western edge of the park which have boards etched into the top.
Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park – 400 Grove Blvd.
Believe it or not, Roy G. Guerrero is larger than Zilker Park. If you head down to the water, you will find the “Secret Beach”, which is not so secret anymore (and really for wading/splashing and not swimming). There is a playground with nature-based features which is entirely fenced in and a separate playground for older kids. There is a trail that is part of the Hike and Bike Trail, a disc golf course and baseball fields as well.
What’s your favorite park in east Austin?