Just when you thought summer was winding down, this weekend is jam packed with FREE fun! From art making and musicals to science and celebrations of Japanese culture, there’s something for everyone. Plus, back to school events are in full swing. There are too many to fit on this list, so be sure to check out our roundup of 2017 Back to School Events in Austin. Last, but not least, don’t forget to get your back to school shopping on during this Tax Free Weekend!
A big thanks to our sponsor, Austin STEM Academy. If you’re curious to see what preschool STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education looks like, this Saturday, August 12, is your chance to get a hands-on feel for “a day in the life” of an Austin STEM Academy student. Austin STEM Academy’s staff will be on site leading science experiments, a tinkering station, and art activities for your preschooler. Families are welcome to drop in between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. during their Open House event.
Weekend Top 10 Free Events in Austin:
- Zilker Summer Musical: The Wizard of Oz – Final Weekend! – Friday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m. For more than a century, The Wizard of Oz has enchanted readers, theater, and movie goers alike. Now, Zilker Theater Productions will bring this cultural treasure to the historic, outdoor theater at The Zilker Hillside. This summer, the ZTP team looks forward to welcoming over 45,000+ Hillside audience members to follow the yellow brick road “over the rainbow.” ZTP’s The Wizard of Oz is FREE to the public (donations gratefully accepted) during its six-week run. The “curtain” goes up right around dusk at 8:15 p.m., but arrive early with your low-backed chairs and blankets to get your spot. Zilker Hillside Theater, 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin.
- Sábados en Familia – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Celebrate Familia with culturally relevant arts and wellness activities appropriate for families with children ages 4 and up, plus a FREE healthy lunch. This month, explore: The Land That We’re From. FREE! Emma S Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St, Austin.
- Saturday Drawing Salon – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to noon. These salons are FREE and open to all, even if you’ve never picked up a pencil in your life. The museum will provide the tools and instruction you need to master the forms that Elisabet Ney so graciously provided over 100 years ago. Learn to draw in her studio. Each week will feature a different activity, but feel free to just come sketch! FREE! Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E 44th St, Austin.
- Austin Summer Musical for Children: The Jungle Book – Saturday at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Austin Summer Musical for Children is excited to present The Jungle Book! The show is geared towards children 2-12 and lasts about an hour. You do need a ticket but the good news is that tickets are FREE. Tickets are handed out 30 minutes before the show to the first 130 patrons in line, and online reservations are offered for the 2:00 p.m. shows only. Boyd Vance Theater at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina Street, Austin.
- Second Saturdays are for Families: Ice Painting (RSVP) – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Chill out with other cool artists as you create drippy watercolor paintings using ice cubes. Then relax in the shade with a live ice sculpture demonstration courtesy of local sculpting pros. Reservations are requested for art-making workshops. Recommended for ages 2–11. FREE! The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria, 3809 W 35th St, Austin.
- Oita Japan Festival – Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. The Austin-Oita Sister City Committee is hosting this special event. Activities include: Japanese food and sake, noodle eating contest, kids activities, anime festival, artisan and festival marketplace, cultural performances including taiko, tea ceremony, kendo, kimono show, seminars, and more. A Planet Cinema screening of The Tale of Princess Kaguya follows at 4:00 p.m. FREE! Asian American Resource Center, 401 Cameron Rd, Austin.
- Super Science Saturday – Saturday from 1-4:00 p.m. Drop by the Carver Branch Library and the Carver Museum for a full day of science based activities. Learn about the different types of engineering, create a carnival themed ride with littlebits gizmos, attend an astronomy show in a mobile planetarium, and so much more. This is a super science opportunity you won’t want to miss! Everyone in the family is encouraged to attend. FREE! Carver Branch Library, 1161 Angelina St, Austin and George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina St, Austin.
- National Breastfeeding Month Proclamation Concert – Saturday from 5:30-9:30 p.m. It’s that time of year again! Join the Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin (MMBA) for an amazing night of music from White Ghost Shivers, a National Breastfeeding Month Proclamation, information from both MMBA and the Central Texas Breastfeeding Coalition, and an evening of amazing family fun celebrating breastfeeding moms. FREE! Central Market North, 4001 N Lamar Blvd, Austin.
- UMLAUF Family Day – Sunday from noon to 4:00 p.m. Family Days are designed for families and friends to explore and create. This month, build kinetic sand castles and sculptures, sing along with Armstrong Community Music School and Rock Lab School of Music, watch a puppet show, and stretch your mind and body with yoga and story time. FREE! UMLAUF Sculpture Garden and Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road, Austin.
7th Annual Austin Splash Mob – Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Start dry, get wet! Bring your squirt guns, all filled up. Bring water balloons, a water cannon, laser-seeking water grenades, a truck with a water tank and hose, or whatever you’ve got. It’s going to be a soakin’ good time. FREE! 6th and Trinity Streets, Downtown Austin.
Bonus Fun That’s Free For Kids 8 & Under:
11th Annual Austin Ice Cream Festival – Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. The 11th Scoop will include lots of games, activities, contests, and live entertainment, as well as what we all scream for–ice cream! Cost: $15 entry with free ice cream. Kids 8 and under are FREE! Purchase tickets here. Fiesta Gardens, 2101 Jesse E Segovia St, Austin.
More Fun Beyond Austin:
- End of Summer Pool Party (Brushy Creek) – Friday at 6:00 p.m. Enjoy live music by Braden Guess Trio from 6-8:00 p.m., along with free food and drinks. FREE pool admission begins at 7:00 p.m. and a screening of Moana begins at sunset. FREE! Sendero Springs Park, 3002 Luminoso Ln E, Round Rock.
- Music on the Square (Georgetown) – Friday at 6:30 p.m. Dance on over to Georgetown and enjoy a concert by Folkwine Band. Grab your friends, take some food to go from one of the local spots, and settle in for an experience that is bound to be music to your ears. (No glass please.) FREE! Historic Georgetown Square.
- Music in the Park: Jaqui Walker Band (Pflugerville) – Friday at 6:30 p.m. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, picnic baskets, friends, and neighbors for a FREE evening of music, entertainment, and relaxation. Pfluger Park, 515 City Park Rd, Pflugerville.
- Movie Night: The Lego Batman Movie (Hutto) – Friday at 9:00 p.m. Bring your family and friends and enjoy The Lego Batman Movie. There will be free sodas and lemonade and free popcorn. FREE! Hutto Lake Park, 805 Estate Dr, Hutto.
- Hands on History (Georgetown) – Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. It’s hot in August! Beat the heat the old fashion way, with a hand fan. Design your own fan and learn how the secret language of fans. FREE! West Side of The Historic Williamson County Courthouse Lawn, Georgetown.
- Cookie Cutters Grand Opening (Round Rock) – Saturday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Join Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids for a Opening Celebration with face painters (10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.), balloon twisters (noon to 2:00 p.m.), a snow cone truck (noon to 4:00 p.m.), and a raffle to win a $200 Visa card! What’s more, haircuts will be only $9.95 all day. Admission is FREE! Cookie Cutters Haircuts for Kids, 2200 E Palm Valley Blvd, Ste 115, Round Rock.
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