Free & Budget-Friendly Field Trips in Austin

The more Austin grows, the more opportunities we have to get out and learn about our historic buildings, discover new favorite spots, and even learn how to make ice cream! Here are our favorite FREE and budget-friendly field trips in Austin.

governors mansion

The Governor’s Mansion offers free tours, with advance reservations.

FREE Tours:

Amy’s Ice Creams – Tour the Austin Amy’s Ice Creams Production Facility. Tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., by reservation. Maximum capacity for the tour is 30 people (kids and adults combined). Tours are designed for ages 5 years and up. The tour itself is FREE! The tour concludes with a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream with M&Ms as a topping for $2 per scoop. A non-dairy option is available with prior notice. Tours are booked a month in advance (meaning that, for example, October tour reservations open at midnight on September 1). Reservations are first come, first served. Call 512-458-3188 to schedule a tour. 2109 Northland Dr, Austin.

Austin Energy Power Plant Facility Tours – Austin Energy offers group tours at two natural gas power plants in Austin, as well as a few of the utility’s district cooling plants which use chilled water to cool buildings. Power plant tours are hosted by Austin Energy power plant employees who provide an inside look at how electricity is produced and transmitted via high voltage power lines to homes and businesses. District cooling facility tours include an inside look at how district cooling works and the thermal storage tanks which allow Austin Energy to produce chilled water during off electric peak hours. To request a tour, email outreach@austinenergy.com. Tours must consist of a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 25 people, grade 4 or higher. One supervising adult is required for every 8 minors.

Austin Fire Department – AFD will accommodate visits to fire stations for small groups. No minimum number of visitors is required. Normal hours for station visits are 9-11:00 a.m. and 1-6:00 p.m. To arrange a tour, contact the Public Education Office to schedule at least a week in advance.

Blue Baker – Take a tour of Blue Baker in The Arboretum. During this FREE bakery tour, kids go behind the scenes to learn about the artisan baking process, see how the equipment works, and get some flour on their hands by shaping their own loaves of bread. After each tour, Blue Baker will let the loaves slowly rise, bake them in the oven, and have them ready for pick up. A minimum of 10 children are required to conduct a tour, but groups of up to 20 children with adult supervision are welcome. Tours last up to an hour and they wrap up with warm, freshly baked-from-scratch cookies. If you have an interest in a bakery tour, please email bakerytours@bluebaker.com or fill out the form here. 10000 Research Blvd, Austin.

Bullock Texas State History Museum – All students and teachers in reserved school groups receive FREE exhibit admission and discounted group rates for films and programs. To be considered a school group, you must gave at least 10 students of similar age, grades K-12; be enrolled in an educational institution (includes organizations such as home schools); make a reservation at least 2 weeks in advance; and have at least one teacher/chaperone for every 10 students. Students and teachers get in free, but chaperones must pay $12. 1800 N Congress Ave, Austin.

Colorado River Foundation and the Wilkerson Center for Colorado River Education at Redbud Center – Learn how the river influences our lives in Austin, and vice versa. The five-acre riverside grounds offer FREE public tours that feature exhibits teaching the importance of the river, interactive water features that demonstrate flooding and water supply, and water conservation systems. The park grounds are open Monday through Friday from 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The grounds are open to the public free of charge, but the Colorado River Foundation also offers several programs for youth and educators. The Colorado River Foundation joined with AISD and LCRA to develop TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills) – aligned student field experiences perfect for 3rd through 5th grade students, with exciting, hands-on activities as they teach about important earth and physical science and social studies concepts. 3601 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin.

Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium – FREE self-guided tours. (Guided 75-minute tours are also available for $10 per person.) The suggested starting point is at The Frank Denius Veterans Memorial Plaza at the corner of 23rd St and San Jacinto. Click here for the self-guided tour route (at the bottom of the page). 3500 Jefferson St # 315, Austin.

Governor’s Mansion – FREE guided tours of the Texas Governor’s Mansion are available Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays from 2-4:00 p.m. Tours last 30 minutes and are subject to availability. Reservations must be made at least one week in advance and no walk up tours are available. To schedule a tour, visitors can call the Mansion Reservationist at 512-305-8524 or send an email to Mansion.Tours@tspb.state.tx.us. Read about Leigh Ann’s experience with the tour here. 1010 Colorado St, Austin.

Harry Ransom Center – Tours offer an in-depth guided experience of the current exhibitions and the Gutenberg Bible and the First Photograph, which are on permanent display at the Ransom Center. Admission and tours are FREE! Your donation supports the Ransom Center’s exhibitions and public programs. To schedule a prearranged tour or to alert Ransom Center staff of your visit, click here for a tour request form or contact hrctours@austin.utexas.edu. Public tours take place at noon daily; 6:00 p.m. Thursdays; 2:00 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Private tours can be scheduled to take place between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between noon and 5:00 p.m. on weekends. Teachers can view the useful education resources online at the Primary Source Education Modules page. 300 W 21st St, Austin.

H-E-B – Be A Healthy Buddy! is a FREE, educational field trip to promote smart food choices, good nutrition, and physical activity. Content includes building healthy habits, understanding portion size, making balanced meal choices, and the benefits of staying active. Trips vary in length and content based on upon the grade level of the participants.

KUT – The local radio station can accommodate many types of educational student tours which focus on specific areas within KUT. All tours are led by wonderful volunteers and require a reservation made at least two weeks in advance. Tours are provided (with a prior reservation) during regular business hours, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information on group tours, please contact volunteer@kut.org. 300 W Dean Keeton St, Austin.

LBJ Presidential Library – Guided tours are available FREE of charge, September through May, on weekdays to school groups with reservations. Guided tours generally last ninety minutes and cannot be provided to groups smaller than 15 or larger than 60 students at a time. Guided tour reservations must be made at least a month in advance. If interested, fill out this online Group Tour Registration Form. 2313 Red River St, Austin.

Leander Fire Department Tours (Leander) – The Leander Fire Department offers tours to residents in the Leander fire district by reservation. During the tour, firefighters explain the equipment on the trucks so kids gain an understanding of the gear and learn about the role of firefighters as first responders. Tours are available on a first come, first served basis after approval from the on-duty Battalion Chief.

Microsoft Store at the Domain – Public, private, and homeschool students can sign up for field trips at the Microsoft Store, centered around Microsoft Office Products, such as creating short stories in Word, choosing your own adventure in PowerPoint, game designing, movie making, and picture taking. To learn more please call 512-582-6500. 3309 Esperanza Crossing, Ste 104, Austin.

Texas Capitol Tours – Tours are generally 30-40 minutes in length and are available during the following times: Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, Noon – 3:30 p.m. Capitol tours are conducted daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Easter. Reservations for groups of 10 or more should be made in advance by calling (512) 305-8402. Special group tours are also available through the Capitol Visitors Center. Check the website for specialty tour times, which vary by month. Read about the tour here. 1100 Congress Ave, Austin.

Texas Military Forces Museum – Open Tuesday – Sunday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The 45,000-square feet museum displays uniforms, weapons, tanks, artillery, aircraft, helicopters, and more. Admission is FREE! Adults must show photo ID to enter Camp Mabry. 3038 W 35th St, Austin.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum – The Umlauf is FREE to all independent school districts and are available for students in 1st-12th grades. This includes the Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI), Texas School for the Deaf (TSD), special needs students (offered education until age 25), Communities in Schools (CIS) programs, and other community organizations associated with children’s education and students with special needs. Private school student groups are $1 per person. Tours include the largest touchable bronze collection in Texas, a docent-led tour of the gardens, a video explaining the bronze casting process, and a Sculpture Safari. One-hour tours are available Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 605 Robert E Lee Rd, Austin.

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