Catherine Prystup - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX

Catherine Prystup

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Winter is a fantastic time to plant trees and enjoy them in the landscape. Head to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center on Saturday, January 25th to celebrate Texas trees. 

Activities will include:

  • Family-friendly tree climbing (harness and ropes with expert arborists!)
  • walks and talks
  • s’more roasting, 
  • fort building,
  • native tree sale
  •  Educational demonstrations with Wildflower Center ecologists and arborists

Young explorers can learn, craft and explore all day! This year’s festivities will be centered around the special Fortlandia exhibition which closes January 26.

The Wildflower Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Winter Tree Fest activities (11 a.m. – 4 p.m.) are all free with admission. Admission is always free for members!
Winter Tree Fest
When: Sat.,Jan. 25, 2020, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Where: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Blvd., Austin

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and his menagerie of animal friends have arrived at ZACH! Little ones will go wide-eyed with excitement as they recite along to their favorite Eric Carle classics like Brown Bear, Brown Bear10 Little Rubber Ducks, and The Very Lonely Firefly. Each story is brought to life by an array of faithfully recreated puppets that will enchant and engage both adults and children as they leap off the page and onto the stage.

Recommended for children 12 months and up.

When: January 18–March 8, 2020

Where: The Kleberg at ZACH, 1421 W Riverside Drive, Austin, 78704

Tickets: $19 (Youth) and $27 (Adult) available at ZACH’s box office – (512) 476-0541 x1, zachtheatre.org

The Giveaway: Win a family four pack of tickets to see The Very Hungry Caterpillar at ZACH Theatre, valued at approximately $92. Winner must be over 18  years of age. The prize can not be transferred and has no cash value.

There are two ways to enter to win:

1. Complete the form below.

2. Enter via Facebook and/or Instagram.

A winner will be chosen on January 17, 2020. The winner will be notified by email or contacted on social media. The winner will have 24 hours to respond to claim the prize.

Looking for a fun way for the kids to discover art? Head to Brentwood Social House on Saturday, January 11, 2020 for a painting class with a local artist.

Kids 5 and up (parents, too!) are invited to take part in a step-by-step painting instruction with local artist Emy Leviege. Kids will leave with a one-of-a-kind creation that they painted! The class is $20/person and includes all materials, including a 9×12 canvas. The first 10 kids will get a free apron! No experience necessary.

Please arrive 30 minutes early to order food and drinks (must be purchased at Brentwood Social House and not brought in).

To reserve your spot, text your name and the number in your party to (512) 922-6822. Cash/credit paid at the event.

What: Painting Class for the Kids

When: Saturday, January 11, 2020 from Noon – 2 p.m.

Where: Brentwood Social House, 1602 W. Koenig Lane, Austin

More Information: https://www.facebook.com/Paintwithcolor/

This list has been updated in January, 2020.

Winter can be a dreary time to be outside, even in Central Texas. And summer…. we definitely need an indoor option for playtime to stay out of the brutal Texas heat. On those gray days and those oh-so-hot days, it’s nice to take the kids somewhere they can burn off some energy.  But where? This comprehensive list, brought to you by Indigo Play, will help you find indoor fun for kids of all ages!

Indigo Play is a unique indoor playground that is fun AND educational! The 19,000 square foot center features:

  • A three-level play structure where children and parents will learn about the world. Explore the tombs of Egypt, navigate through Aztec temples, and slide down a giant American flag!
  • A completely separate baby and toddler area where the littlest ones can safely practice tummy time or explore all the sensory features.
  • An imagination play section with an adorable coffee shop, fire station and more!
  • Amazing birthday parties that will WOW your guests!
  • A bookstore with beautiful, educational books that make the perfect gift.
  • A relaxed atmosphere parents love!

Location: 13530 Research Blvd #102, Austin

More Information: https://indigoplay.com/

Indigo Play in North Austin

North

Main Event – Rock wall, video games, mini golf, laser tag, bowling and more.

K1 Speed – Indoor go karting

PlayMazing – Formerly CatchAir, PlayMazing offers bounce houses, climbing structures, and more.

Top Golf –  Indoor driving range. May not work well if it’s storming but not a bad place to play when it’s drizzling outside.

Urban Air Trampoline Park – Indoor trampoline park.

The Coop – Ball pit, rope climbing tube, magnetic wall, reading area, dress up items, tee pee with bean bags, quiet play space.

iFLY – Skydive inside their wind tunnel.

Dart ’em Up – Indoor Nerf foam dart arena.

Little Land Play Gym – An indoor playground with developmental equipment.

Mt. Playmore – Huge play structure with a large variety of obstacles for kids to navigate. Smaller kid area available as well.

Pinballz Arcade – Large selection of arcade games.

South

Altitude Trampoline Park – Trampolines, rock wall, foam pit, battle beam and more.

Blazer Tag Adventure Center– Laser tag and arcade.

Hoppin House – Inflatable playground.

LocoMotion Inflatable Play – Inflatable playground.

Epic Fun – Elevated ropes course, mini bowling lanes, arcade games, ballocity, bumper cars and laser tag.

Jungle Island Family Fun & Entertainment Center – Large play structure and arcade games.

The Jumpy Place (Kyle) – Inflatable playground.

Central

The Escape Game Austin – Escape rooms are sure to include riddles and puzzles but The Escape Game Austin takes it to a whole other level – every game takes you on an adventure.

BookPeople – Storytime and a nice tunnel for kids to climb through.

The Thinkery – Austin’s children’s museum, packed with daily activities and new things to explore.

Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex (MYEC) – Open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, MYEC offers skating, a movie theater, bowling, an arcade, and a food court.

Round Rock

Altitude Trampoline Park – Ropes course, recreation wall, trapeze swings, trampolines, and more!

Escapology – Solve the clues to bust your way out of this escape room! Several rooms to choose from.

IKEA – Drop the kids off at Smaland for 60 minutes of supervised playtime while you shop. See restrictions.

Pump It Up – Inflatable playground with open play times available during weekdays.

Jungle Movement – Indoor mixed martial arts gym. Non-members can play during open gym hours.

PlayMazing – Formerly CatchAir, PlayMazing offers bounce houses, climbing structures, and more.

Rock Sports Arena – Skating rink. Check their even calendar for open skate times.

Monster Mini Gold & Laser Tag – Mini golf course and laser tag.

Legion of Foam – Indoor nerf arena. (Only open to the public on Fridays from 5:30-7:30pm).

Pflugerville

Spare Time – Bowling, laser tag, and arcade.

Austin’s Park n’ Pizza – Bowling, rock wall, virtual reality, and arcade games, with additional rides outdoors when weather is nice.

Cedar Park

Inflatable Wonderland – Inflatable playground located inside Lakeline Mall.

Jumpstreet – Indoor trampoline park.

Almost Grown Play Cafe & Coffee Bar –  Coffee bar with open play area for children.

Some other indoor play ideas

Head to your local library for storytime and crafts.

Bowling with bumpers for the kids is always a fun rainy day activity.

Fast food restaurants have fun indoor playscapes for children.

Visit a local toy store. Kids can spend hours looking through all of the toys and many of the locations below have a play area or events to entertain the kiddos for a while.

Terra Toys – North

All Things Kids – Georgetown

Toy Joy – Central and Downtown

Learning Express – Bee Cave

Anna’s Toy Depot – South

Over the Rainbow – Central

The LEGO Store – South in Barton Creek Mall

Lions & Tigers & Toys – South

Feel like skating? Hit up Playland Skate Center or Chaparral Ice, both located in north Austin, to burn some energy. Austin’s Roller Rink in south Austin is a great option too.

And if you need some caffeine, check out our list of the 10 Best Coffee Shops in Austin for Families.

10bestcoffee

Come for the art, stay for the fun!

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar celebrates 44 seasons of treating around 40,000 Texans and tourists to a fun, holiday shopping experience for art and live music lovers. The 2019 show allows attendees to meet and shop from nearly 200 artists and, enjoy local food, new interactive activities, and live music daily. This year’s music lineup is filled with 36 bands ranging from breakout musicians, touring singer-songwriters and Austin legends over 12 days.

Experience new additions to the event,including photo ops by local artists, kids coloring station, an art concierge service, a shopping scavenger hunt, and wishing trees all while listening to live music, sipping a craft beer or cocktail and enjoying food from local eateries.View a photo gallery of Armadillo Bazaar artists’ works and make plans with the 2019 music lineup.

What: Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

When: December 13-24

Where: Palmer Events Center, Austin, Texas

Cost: Single-day tickets are $10; Season Passes are $50. Free admission for children 12 and under.

More information at ArmadilloBazaar.com.

Fröhliche Weihnachten! The 24th Annual German Christmas Market Arrives this Weekend

This Saturday the German Free School will be transformed into a traditional German Christmas market, complete with handcrafted German ornaments and decor; German food, beer, and wine, and much more.

Hosted by the German-Texans Heritage Society, the Market is a truly unique shopping experience that features authentic hand-carved and hand-blown Christmas decor, Schwibbogen (decorative metal candle holders), nutcrackers, advent calendars and more. Shoppers can feast on traditional sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels, and stollen, then visit the beer hall for German beer and Glühwein (hot spiced wine), a holiday must!

The Market is fun for the whole family with entertainment and activities throughout the day. St. Nick will be there handing out gifts, too!

Parking is limited; ride sharing is encouraged.

When: Dec. 7; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Where: The German Free School, 507 E. 10th St., Austin

More Information: http://germantexans.org/events/christmas-market/

It’s not Christmastime until you do a syrup shot with Buddy the Elf, right?!

Bring the kids and join us for our annual Buddy the Elf Brunch Boat on Sunday, December 8, 2019. Our favorite Buddy the Elf impersonator will be on board reciting your favorite quotes, posing for pictures and serving up syrup shots!

Included on Every Cruise 

Check-in at the YETI Flagship store, all of our guests receive 30% off all YETI product purchases the day of their cruise, so you can get a jump on holiday shopping!  Also, if you bring an Austin Pets Alive donation, YETI will gift you a free drink! 

Open Bar-Style Service, featuring local favorites to get you in the holiday spirit:

Non Alcoholic Beverages:

Austin Brunch Favorites:

Entertainment: 

  • DJ from Bat City Beats playing your holiday favorites and requests
  • Photo Booth (with some strategically placed mistletoe..)

Giveback Opportunities: 

What: Holiday Brunch Boats

Where: Capital Cruises, Hyatt Regency Boat Dock, 208 Barton Springs Rd., Austin

Time: 11am-1pm (family-friendly); get a babysitter and attend the adult-only Brunch Boat from 2:30-4:30 pm.

Cost: $59 for adults; $39 for children ages three and up. Children under two may attend the Buddy the Elf Brunch Boat for free, but please notate how many children you’re planning to bring in the Special Requirements section. All children must be accompanied by an adult (one child per adult).

Tickets for Children: https://austintourcompany.rezdy.com/242181/children-2-buddy-the-elf-brunch-boat-tickets

Tickets for Adults: https://austintourcompany.rezdy.com/206029/holiday-brunch-boats

Head to The Domain on Saturday, December 7, for the holiday event of the year! The Jingle Bell Jamboree is FREE for all to attend! The event will feature live music from Austin’s own Joe McDermott and the much-loved Koo Koo Kanga Roo.

In addition to live music, children of all ages will enjoy:

  • Face painting
  • Balloon twisting
  • Holiday crafts
  • Airstream photo booth
  • Games
  • Stilt walkers

What: Jingle Bell Jamboree

When: Saturday, December 7

Time: 3-5 p.m.

Where: Century Oaks Terrace near The Park

Cost: FREE

Presented by: Do512Family

Chula League’s Cherrywood Art Fair is an art-filled two-day event showcasing local artists, live music, kids activities, and great food in a free, family-friendly environment.

Wick Habit

Since 2002, Cherrywood Art Fair has served as an Austin holiday tradition— offering a festive, eclectic destination for the community to gather, celebrate, play, shop and support Texas’ diverse creative community. The 2019 fair will continue its legacy as a can’t-miss holiday event for families and discerning holiday shoppers with a vibrant lineup of unique shoppable booths, live music and performance art programming, local food trucks and plenty of interactive kids activities including onsite crafts and face painting. CAF will also feature a silent auction benefiting Chula League. Auction items include goods from CAF artists and artwork from Little Artists who have participated in the non-profit’s Little Artist BIG ARTIST mentorship program.

The full lineup of artists at the 2019 event can be found here.

Koke Gardens

Proceeds from the event benefit Chula League’s nonprofit arts programming.

When: Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Maplewood Elementary School, 3808 Maplewood Ave., Austin

Cost: FREE

 

Black Friday … Cyber Monday… how about YMCA Bids for Kids! This feel good way to shop helps to raise money during the YMCA’s annual campaign fundraising event. All proceeds from Bids for Kids go to help the local community through YMCA of Greater Williamson County’s Annual Campaign fund.

This year’s event will bring together a wide range of homemade goods, baskets, artwork & so much more! Come out, shop for good, and get your holiday shopping out the way!

Bidding opens on November 29, 2019 will close at 12pm on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. Individuals with winning bids will be contacted by phone. Payment must be collected by 12pm on Friday, December 13th or the next person on the bid sheet will be notified.

To check out the silent auction items and place bids, click here.

The YMCA of Greater Williamson County provides a safe, nurturing environment for all children by promoting healthy character development of spirit, mind and body. We work collaboratively with families, communities and school districts to ensure that each child receives a consistent set of life skills for success. To meet these goals, our program incorporates the Y’s Core Values (Caring, Honesty, Respect, Responsibility & Faith) as well as the 40 Developmental Assets set forth by the Search Institute and the experiential learning model.

For more information on Bids for Kids: https://www.facebook.com/events/559442358200676/