Do you have a kid who loves dinosaurs? We’ve got a round-up of all the best places to find our extinct friends from the past (or their bones) around town. These are our top spots for kids who love dinosaurs in Austin!
Austin Nature and Science Center, 2389 Stratford Dr, Austin. This place is the best. For starters, it’s FREE! There is so much to see and do while wandering the grounds of this Zilker Park gem, but my kids always gravitate towards the dinosaur-digging sand pit. There are plenty of shovels and sand toys laying around for them to use, but you can bring your own excavating tools and brushes if you’re really hard-core. It’s so big and there are many different sections to dig in and different dinosaurs to unearth. It’s hours of fun!
Zilker Botanical Garden, 2220 Barton Springs Rd, Austin. This is just down the road from the Austin Nature and Science Center, so you could easily spend and entire dinosaur-themed day at Zilker Park. The Hartman Prehistoric Garden within the grounds of the Zilker Botanical Garden is a Cretaceous habitat that even includes plants that represent the types that existed at the time of the dinosaurs. On Dino Island, you can see a life-size replica of an Ornithomimus, who actually roamed the grounds at the Botanical Garden (there are preserved tracks to prove it)! Aspiring paleontologists will be in heaven here. Garden admission is $1-3.
Champion Park, 3830 Brushy Creek Rd, Cedar Park. Located along the Brushy Creek Trail, this park offers more than just a cool dinosaur sand pit. There are fun-to-climb dinosaur structures throughout, as well. The nice thing about the sand pit here is that it’s shaded and there are usually community toys left there for all to use. There is also a small splash pad to cool off in if you get too hot digging for dino bones. It operates on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer. Read more about Champion Park here. FREE!
Dinosaur Park, 893 Union Chapel Rd, Cedar Creek. This amazing place exists just outside of Austin! See life-size dinosaurs while you go on a fun scavenger hunt throughout the park. Perfect for any dinosaur-loving kid, big or small! The littlest toddlers are fascinated by the size of the realistic replicas, and the bigger kids like reading the clues and finding the next stop along the scavenger hunt trail. This place is so unique and fun for everyone. There’s a playground and picnic tables outside, as well, so you could pretty much spend a day out here. The gift shop is really nice and has all things dinosaurs if you’re looking for a perfect gift for your little dinosaur-lover. Admission is $8-9 but children 23 months and under are FREE!
Texas Memorial Museum, 2400 Trinity St, Austin. Step back in time when you visit this museum on UT’s campus, a treasure trove of dinosaur fossils and experts to answer your future paleontologist’s questions. While you’re there, you’ll encounter the Onion Creek Mosasaur, a 30 foot aquatic reptile that swam in the shallow seas of Texas during the Cretaceous Period, as well as the enormous Pterosaur (look up). Participate in evolution activities on the top floor. Admission is $1-3 but children under 2 years old are FREE!
Chisholm Valley Park, 1201 Trey St, Round Rock. This park has a tiny sand pit that’s barely worth mentioning, but the park itself is really cool and this might be the perfect size for the tiniest diggers to play. There are dinosaur bones to discover under the sand, so don’t forget your brushes and shovels.