Parents and their children may have vastly different schedules and responsibilities, but there’s one place on the calendar where they can often look forward to together: the weekends! School’s out and the office is left behind as a memory until Monday rolls around. But these exciting excursions can often lead to a bit of a dilemma: where should we take the family to next? Not to worry! Texas has no end of activities that will please the kids. Finding activities that will keep young minds’ attention while also engaging adults is a snap in the Lone Star State. This is especially true in places like Austin and San Antonio – and it goes beyond what you may expect.
We are talking about awe-inspiring natural retreats which will leave jaws agape and spark imaginations. Unbelievable attractions and events beckon the fun-loving of all ages, offering hours of discovery and adventure. And there are even ways to make learning so much fun, the kids will forget they’re being educated. Indeed, Texas offers a treasure trove of family getaways suitable for those weekend excursions or longer trips where enough days are banked to really take advantage of what’s waiting for you out there! Here’s a look at just a few great ideas to get you started.
Under the Big Sky
There’s plenty of natural attractions all over the Lone Star State just as a consequence of the sheer size of the place. With ocean coasts in the southeast to long stretches of desert westward, there are forests and even subterranean features for kids and parents to mount expeditions into. Kayaking rivers can be found just outside of major cities like San Antonio. Nature hikes are available in places like Government Canyon State Natural Area and Barton Creek Habitat Preserve. Then consider what lies beneath: amazing cave systems. Such surreal underground escapes can be found all over Texas like the famous Caverns of Sonora or Longhorn Cavern State Park outside of Austin.
But you don’t have to go way out of town to find some outdoor fun. There are amazing parks to be found even in big cities like San Antonio which features authentic Japanese Tea Gardens in Brackenridge Park. Or maybe enjoy a colorful kite festival as you stroll through Zilker Park, which offers theater in the summers. Looking for more of a swim? Try out one of the natural pools in Balcones Canyonland Preserve. Or perhaps hike up to some waterfalls in McKinney Falls State Park. There’s camping just about everywhere, plenty of lakes to explore and more all across the great state of Texas.
Museum Mayhem & More
Remember we mentioned that maybe we could even get kids to learn while they’re having fun? Well, we weren’t kidding! The Lone Star State is famous for all manner of recreation which doubles as education. Check out some of the many zoos found in the major metropolitan areas. There are even aquariums to satisfy the young minds craving interaction with our undersea friends. Science museums trick kids into picking up math, chemistry and physics via fun interactive explorations that can have them experimenting like real researchers. It’s a real win-win for parents!
On a more traditional note, there are of course natural history museums to pass the time away in. After all, what child isn’t mesmerized by giant fossil exhibits and space exploration installations? Historical landmarks are also a favorite. Relics of the past spark wonder in children as they walk on antiquated paths and are surrounded by 19th-century fort walls that are still standing (remember the Alamo!). Even a botanical garden or two can provide enough pretty flowers and unusual trees to keep both adults and kids engaged for hours. There are even unexpected delights like toy museums, performing centers for kids and more!
Laws of Attractions
We cannot leave our Texas outing without mentioning the incredible array of mind-blowing attractions found here. Theme parks boast rides ranging from children’s carousels to rumbling rollercoasters which are not for the faint of heart! Waterparks are another common sight in these parts with winding waterways several stories high ending, of course, with a splash! Artificial rock-climbing walls are popular within the city limits of Austin, San Antonio and many more large cities. And of course, mini golf remains the perennial family pleaser! You can even find a park with – wait for it – life-sized dinosaurs! In the words of every kid ever: are we there yet?