Family Friendly Archives - 365 Things to Do in Austin, TX
Family friendly events in Austin, Texas are an ongoing occurrence. There are always great family friendly places and events to attend!

Since 2012, when the Circuit of the Americas (aka COTA) opened in Austin, fans have been clamoring for some IndyCar action. If you don’t know what that means—IndyCar is the country’s fastest, biggest, and baddest open-wheel racing series, sort of the All American version of Formula 1.

And now it’s finally here! The inaugural IndyCar Classic will take place at COTA March 22-24.

IndyCar Spring Training at COTA

There will also be three other series racing throughout the weekend. Indy Lights, which is the class just basically the minor league of IndyCar where future stars are developing. There’s also the Mazda MX-5 Cup and the return of an old X Games favorite, Stadium Super Trucks, which go off ramps on track at about 70 mph and get some serious air..

On top of all this, Muse will perform in Austin360 Amphitheater on Saturday night! The last time they played this venue, tickets sold out fast. Both the 3-day and Saturday-only IndyCar tickets will receive access to the 200 level section and the H-E-B Lawn for the show. Optional pit and seating upgrades are available for purchase, but you don’t need them to enjoy the show. Click here for more info.  

Lastly, there will be live music on the Lone Star Stage all weekend featuring local Austin legends like Asleep at the Wheel and Dale Watson to exciting up-and-comers like Jonathan Terrell.

So break out of your entertainment rut and get hip to the fun of IndyCar! It’s a crazy fun spectacle that everyone can appreciate.

 

Since 1938, Rodeo Austin has been the place “Where Weird Meets Western.” From Austin’s largest carnival and funnel cakes, to mutton bustin’ and amazing live music, there is something for everyone. Because the attractions and big-name acts seem to grow exponentially every year, we’ve compiled this rundown of everything you need to know about the rodeo before you go.

Put on your ten-gallon hat, and all the denim and turquoise you own—it’s time for the best time in Texas. Here’s the deal:

New This Year: Kick Open The Chutes – Party On The Dirt!

Rodeo Austin’s brand new event, Kick Open the Chutes, takes place March 15th at 6:30pm and officially kicks off the 2019 Rodeo season! This party on the dirt features live music concerts by Wade Bowen and Sam Riggs, rodeo eats, a cash bar, rodeo-inspired games, and silent auction – all on the arena floor! Your $20 ticket provides a sneak peek into rodeo action with a behind-the-scenes experience for true rodeo fans and there’s FREE parking!

Rodeo Austin Music:

Rodeo Austin has nearly 100 live performances throughout the month of March.

There are performances at the E2open Outdoor Stage, the 100X Dance Hall, and at the ProRodeo & Concert.

2019 ProRodeo Performances include:

  • March 16: Aaron Watson
  • March 17: Dia Del Vaquero with La Adictiva
  • March 18: Flo Rida
  • March 19: Midland
  • March 20: Chris Janson
  • March 21: The Struts
  • March 22: Randy Rogers Band
  • March 23: Josh Turner
  • March 24: Ronnie Milsap
  • March 25: Walker Hayes
  • March 26: Martina McBride
  • March 27: The Jacksons
  • March 28: Dustin Lynch
  • March 29: Parker McCollum
  • March 30: Kevin Fowler

New to the Fairgrounds:

On the Southside of the Fairgrounds, Rodeo Austin is excited to bring more entertainment that can be enjoyed by all! Watch feathered friends race to the finish line at the turkey races, enjoy excitement and laughter at the comedy stunt show, play in the sea of bubbles at the Bubble Bayou or sit back and relax at the Coors Cactus Saloon.

Rodeo Austin Carnival/Attraction Facts:

Rodeo Austin is proud to host Austin’s largest Carnival. Rodeo Austin brings great entertainment to the Fairgrounds each year with over 80 rides, games and other amusements.

In addition to the carnival, the Fairgrounds offer a variety of things to do. From a Beer and Wine Garden, Butterfly and Parakeet Encounter and rotating food trucks to a petting zoo, pony rides, Swifty Swine pig races and more, there is a little bit of something for everyone!

WILD WEST TENT:

Rodeo Austin’s Wild West Tent will feature Tomás Garcilazo – The Charro, a world-renowned, traditional Mexican Charro whose rope artistry and horsemanship skills are among the best in the world. Also appearing in the Wild West tent Every Saturday at 3:00, is Mutton Bustin’ Mania! Sign your children up online or on-site at the Wild West Tent.

The Wild West Tent will also feature Tricked Out. The well-known Kimzey family has teamed up to bring an equestrian act that is so daring and fast-paced, it is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat! The tricks will keep you in suspense while they bring the “Wild West” back to life.

Competitive Events:

Rodeo Austin has over 8,000 entries for this year’s competitive events, which includes the Junior Livestock Shows, Open Livestock Shows, Horse Show, Gold Stirrup Horse Show, Longhorn Open and Youth Show and Ultimate Scramble Championship.

Avenue of Breeds:

The Animal Science Center features the Avenue of Breeds, an educational exhibit showcasing a variety of animals found in Texas that originated from various places across the globe.

Visit the Hank The Cowdog exhibit to learn about ranching and Texas heritage through the eyes of a loveable dog, Hank!

The first week, Row of Champions will be empty however, the second week, Row of Champions will display the Grand Champion Junior Market animals from the 2018 Junior Livestock Show.

100X Dance Hall:

After the ProRodeo and main stage concert, head over to the 100X Dance Hall for even more live music as you dance the night away at Rodeo Austin’s exclusive after-hours honky-tonk. 100X Dance Hall opens at 5 p.m. on weekdays for dancing, drinks and live music! Open at 11 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays with live music all day!

A new addition 100X Dance Hall is Jack’s Front Porch, where you can enjoy an evening on the front porch under the stars.

Special Deals:

Get half-off ProRodeo & Concert tickets March 25-27.

Carnival Wristband Spring Break Special – March 18-21, 11 a.m. –5 p.m.

$2 Tuesday – $2 Fairgrounds admission and $2 carnival rides

The beauty of living in Austin is that you don’t have to go far to feel worlds away. One of our favorite escapes is  Hyatt Regency Lost Pines & Spa, a gorgeous 405-acre property on the banks of the Lower Colorado River between Austin and Bastrop. It’s just a 20-minute drive to paradise!

And now the resort is embracing the “staycation” trend and offering a ton of—and we mean like endless—activities to entice families to bail on city life for a few days give ourselves a much-deserved break. They’ve just announced its lineup that offers everything from outdoor survival skill classes, moonlight stand-up paddle board tours of Lake Bastrop, and special rates for horseback rides!  

Younger guests can also take part in the “Pony Trail Ride Adventure,” an abbreviated trail ride experience where children learn about horses while being led side-by-side by an experienced handler. Trail rides are $85 per person, and the “Pony Trail Ride Adventure” costs $45.

Led by a naturalist with the LCRA, the one-hour survival class will teach children the basics of outdoor survival skills including fire building, water filtration, shelter building, edible plants and insects, cordage and knot tying, as well as wilderness first aid. The organization will also feature “Extreme Teen Challenges” where teenage guests and their parents can take part in some of the LCRA’s most daring activities including zip lining at Zip Lost Pines, rock climbing, and gladiator challenges.

A new moonlight stand up paddle board tour of the nearby Lake Bastrop is an amazing experience. As the resort is directly connect to the Colorado River, guests can take the “Kayak the Colorado” excursion in which they are led by a guide who discusses the local scenery, wildlife, and foliage of the area, or enjoy the “Sunset Raft Trip” tour which takes place at dusk when local animals are most likely to be seen in their natural habitat.

Additionally, the resort will provide a jam-packed itinerary of family-friendly spring break activities including tractor-drawn hay rides, family movie nights, magic shows, an inflatable bounce house, glow-in-the-dark putt-putt and glow dance parties, nightly s’mores by the firepit, and scavenger hunts, as well as arts and crafts sessions with everything from slime making to tie-dying shirts. It’s camp for everyone! Families can also take part in friendly competition with lawn bowling tournaments, volleyball and soccer games, as well as several giant yard games including Jenga, Connect 4, chess, and more.

Kids and their parents will also get a chance to meet the resort’s mascots, including two Texas longhorns, an American mustang, miniature horses, and alpacas.   

As always, guests can relax at the on-site Crooked River Water Park. The water park features an activity pool with a sandy beach for building sand castles, a 1,000-foot lazy river, and two-story water slide. It also includes a splash pad for children and an adults-only section with a relaxing pool and whirlpool.

The resort also provides Camp Hyatt, a kid-friendly program that introduces young travelers to the Lone Star State. While children are enjoying a fun-filled time with arts and crafts, games, and sports, parents can enjoy a round-of golf at Wolfdancer Golf Club or escape to total relaxation with customized treatments at the on-site Spa Django.

To learn more and reserve your staycation to find your #LostPinesMoment, click here or call or call 512-308-1234.

 

If you resolve to move your body more in 2019, the most fun and fulfilling way to do it is to welcome a furry friend into your family. Nothing will motivate you more to get out of bed and get some fresh air—every single day! Plus, you know, you’ll have more love in your life than ever before.

Austin Animal Center is celebrating this new trip around the sun with New Year’s Rescue-lution! The perfect pet is waiting for you now and adoption fees are only $19!! And all pets at the shelter are eligible!

In addition, on New Year’s Eve day they’ll have crafts available from 12-1:30 p.m. Join us on December 31 to craft cat, dog, and rabbit toys!

When: Today, December 29th

Time: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.

Location:
Austin Animal Center
7201 Levander Loop
Austin, Texas 78702

It’s almost impossible to believe, but Austin’s beloved Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is celebrating its 43rd year of existence! This famous fine art market and musical fest features national and local award-winning artists, at least three bands performing live each day, two full bars, and local food. The holiday atmosphere gets merrier every year.

There is no better place to pick up unique gifts for the people on your list. The event features more than 175 contemporary touring visual artists and local favorites showcasing their work while the Armadillo Bazaar stage entertains shoppers with national touring acts and Grammy nominated musicians. With lights down low, spirits high, and the music just right, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar makes holiday shopping fun.

The 2018 bazaar will also give back to local nonprofits in a big way! Feel good about throwing your money around this year—and shop for gifts that could only be found right here in Austin.

To save time and snag your tickets online, click here!

When: December 13th–24th

Time: 11 a.m.–10p.m. daily

Cost: $10 for General Admission | Free for kids 12 and under

Location:
Palmer Events Center
900 Barton Springs Rd.
Austin, TX 78704

This year a whopping 280 artists (that’s a record!) submitted their applications for Austin’s famous Cherrywood Art Fair! This beloved ATX holiday event just gets bigger and better all the time.

Come shop for the most unique and meaningful gifts at Maplewood Elementary school in the Cherrywood neighborhood. The hallways and sidewalks will be lined with handmade ceramics and pottery, eclectic art, stylish apparel, one-of-a-kind jewelry, natural skincare, playful pet products, and whimsical children’s merchandise. More than just shopping the Fair offers live music and entertainment, kids crafts, and local eats.

So you can plan ahead, here are some of the participating artists:

HB Ceramics produces organically formed and textured vessels inspired by nature.
Jamie Billman McCormick paints public lands, Austin landscapes, and life outside.
Hatton Henry is a fourth generation leather maker offering classic bags and accessories.
Rebekah Vinyard Jewelry designs and produces wearable art in geometric shapes.
MC Shave Gear crafts distinctive wooden razors, brushes, and luxurious shave products.
Las Ofrendas showcases handmade flower crowns, headdresses, and multimedia art.
Nailivic Studios designs colorful folk art inspired lasercut engravings, etched into wood.
Floating Forest Studio creates whimsical pins, greeting cards, and stickers.
Lucy & Lester represents globally inspired edgy children’s clothing.
Tisa’s Creations sells modern and playful stationary and paper goods.

This is always one of our favorite events in December, because it strengthens local businesses, connects families, and supports aspiring young artists. The proceeds from Cherrywood Art Fair benefit Maplewood Elementary School and Chula League’s Little Artist BIG ARTIST program, a free 10-week mentoring program pairing professional artists with East Austin 5th and 6th graders to turn ideas into art and art into business.

Skip the megastores, and go hyper-local with this Austin tradition. There’s really nothing else like it.

When: December 8th and 9th, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Location:
Maplewood Elementary
3808 Maplewood Ave
Austin, TX 78722

One of the best holiday experiences in town is back and better than ever! Bundle up the kiddos and take them to see over a million LED lights kick off the Christmas season. The people at Mozart’s go absolutely nuts and over-the-top this time of year and we love them for it.

Since it’s a coffee house, they will have plenty of hot chocolate and warm treats. They’ll also have a German Market in the parking lot serving up all kinds of goodies. New this year is a cobalt blue piano that will be played by pianist all season long and a gigantic coffee mug!

This is essential holiday fun in ATX, so don’t miss out.

When: Now–January 1st

Time: 6 p.m.–12 a.m.

Location:
Mozart’s Coffee
3826 Lake Austin Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78703

The 5th annual Waller Creek Conservancy Creek Show is on! Take a stroll along the edge of the creek downtown and see how various artists have lit the way with their original work. It’s a newer Austin tradition and it’s a great way to kick off the holiday season. The location of the art is a little different this year—so take note!

In addition to the amazing art installations, attendees can check out the Creek Show Lounge with a bar and a diverse lineup of Austin bands at Symphony Square. Attendees can also participate in free activities and games for the whole family at the Doyle House and attend an Artist Talk from 6 – 8 p.m. on  Thursday, November 15 at CB’s Lounge at Stubb’s.

When: Friday, Nov. 11th – Saturday, Nov. 17th | 6 – 10 p.m. nightly in Austin.

Location:
Waller Creek between 9th and 11th Streets

Did you wake up thinking: Today would be a wonderful day to find a kitty friend? Well you are in luck! The Tarrytown location of Austin Pets Alive! is full so they are waiving adoption fees.

They’ll have both kitties with FeLV and kitties without FeLV for you to meet. Fosters and adoption counselors will be on hand to introduce them and let you know what it’s like to have a cat with Feline Leukemia in your family.

See you there! Mrow!

Time: noon – 6 p.m.

Location:
Austin Pets Alive Tarrytown Adoption Center
3108 Windsor Rd.
Austin, Texas 78703

It’s actually chilly in Austin and that can only mean one thing—Christmas is right around the corner! And nothing says Christmas in ATX more than our favorite holiday tradition, the Trail of Lights at Zilker Park. For its 54th year of merriment, the trail will run from December 10 – 23, with the first look for those doing the Trail of Lights Fun Run on December 1. You gotta Instagram yourself under the giant rainbow tunnel of lights or it didn’t happen.

Since it began in 1965, the Austin Trail of Lights has grown into one of the city’s largest events, attracting an average of 400,000 people per year. There are over two million lights, 65 displays, 30 food trucks, three entertainment stages, 50 private holiday parties, and interactive experiences throughout the park. Calendars for ticket availability, special programming, and online ticket purchases are here. We highly recommend the ZIP pass, which lets you cut the line and go through the trail an hour before the masses. Worth every penny!

There are a bunch of special nights to keep in mind. Click here for the complete rundown.