Summer can be great in so many ways, but if you have a wee one, it can arrive with a tinge of anxiety. Places which you and your preschooler had to yourselves during the school year are suddenly overrun with “big” kids. Where can you go that’s especially for little ones?
Alamo Drafthouse – Village (2700 West Anderson Lane; Austin, Texas 78757), South Lamar (1120 S. Lamar; Austin, Texas 78704), Lakeline (14028 N. US Highway 183, Bldg F; Austin, Texas 78717) and Slaughter (5701 W. Slaughter Lane; Austin, Texas 78749) locations.
The Alamo Drafthouse offers Baby Day, for regular shows that start before 2:00pm, on Tuesday afternoons excluding National holidays and special festival screenings. Infants are welcome to these shows, and are allowed in for free. For baby day shows, the lights are up a bit, and the sound down a bit. Read about Catherine’s Baby Day experience here.
Austin Aqua-Dome – 1604 Fortview Rd., Austin 78704
The Aqua-Dome sells all kinds of fish — rainbow-hued, striped and spotted; fish with exotic, nonsensical names like Bushynose Pleco and Harlequin Rasboras and Albino Cory Cats; fish ordered straight from Bali, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. They also sell corals from places like Jakarta and Kupong. You can find shrimp as small as your pinkie nail and as bright-blue as cobalt glass, and plants and statues to turn an aquarium into a watery diorama with any theme imaginable. Read about Catherine’s experience here.
- Toddler Storytime for 18 months to 3 years:
- Tuesdays at 10:15am at Hampton Branch, Pleasant Hill and Spicewood Springs;
- Wednesdays at 10:15am at Howson, North Village, Old Quarry and Spicewood Springs and Twin Oaks
- Thursdays at 10:15am at Hampton Branch and Yarbrough
- Thursdays at 11am at Hampton Branch
- Preschool Storytime for ages 3-5:
- Tuesdays at 11am at Hampton Branch, Pleasant Hill and Spicewood Springs;
- Wednesdays at 11am at Howson, North Village, Old Quarry, Spicewood Springs and Twin Oaks
- Thursdays at 11am at Yarbrough
- Books and Babies for ages 0-18 months:
- Wednesdays at 2pm at Willie Mae Kirk Branch
BabyEarth – 106 East Old Settlers Boulevard, Suite D100; Round Rock, TX 78664
As the name implies, Baby Earth is a baby products retailer and specialty store with an eco-friendly focus. The store has events which are just for babies, including:
- Baby Play Group for non-mobile, crawling and/or cruising babies on Mondays at 3:30pm (free)
- Explore Music for preschoolers on Tuesdays at 10:15am ($5/child)
- Free-Time Play for preschoolers on Tuesdays at noon (free) and Thursdays at 3:30pm (free)
- Baby Sign & Play for ages 0-3 on Tuesdays at 2:30pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm; Thursdays at 9:30am and Saturdays at 9:30am ($7 per class)
- Music With Mar for children from birth through preschool on Wednesdays at 9:15am ($10/family)
- KinderDance for 12 months and up on Wednesdays at 10:30am ($5/child)
- Baby Sensory Play for 18 months and under on Wednesdays at 3:30pm (free)
- Interactive Story Time for 0-18 months on Fridays at 9:30am (free) and for 18 months and up on Fridays at 10:30am (free)
- Toddler Play Group on Fridays at 4:15pm (free)
Bartholomew Pool – 1800 E. 51st. St.; Austin, Texas 78723
Bartholomew has a shaded wading area for infants and toddlers. When the waterslides open at noon, the pool becomes more crowded. Check here for hours. Regular admission rates apply.
Bee Cave Public Library – 4000 Galleria Parkway; Bee Cave, Texas 78738
The Library offers Baby Bumblebees Storytime for ages 0-18 months the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, Toddler Tales on Fridays at 10:30am or 11:15am for ages 18 months to 3 years and Preschool Pals Storytime on Thursdays at 10:30am or 11:15am for children ages 3-5. Free.
Brilliant Sky Toys & Books – 701 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Suite D-480; Austin, Texas 78746
Mondays at 11am Dr. Candra leads Storytimes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and the adults who love them. Free.
Buda Public Library – 303 Main Street, Buda, Texas 78610
The library has a toddler storytime (18-36 months), preschool storytime (3-5-year-olds), family storytime, and homeschool storytime (K-5th grade). Free.
Cabela’s – 15570 IH 35, Buda, Texas 78610
Littles love the big fish swimming in Cabela’s in-store aquarium. Free.
Cedar Park Library – 550 Discovery Blvd.; Cedar Park, Texas 78613
The library offers a lapsit storytime (ages 0-15 months) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9:45am; toddler storytime at 10:30am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Preschool Storytime for ages 3-5 years at 11am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Free.
Elizabeth Milburn Pool – 1901 Sun Chase Blvd.; Cedar Park, Texas 78613
Beginning June 8 and ending August 21, 2015, parents or guardians may bring their children ages 5 and younger to the pool between 10am and noon for Tot Time. During this time, young ones can have the pool to themselves. All individuals entering the facility must pay the pool admission fee. Ages 3 and under are free, ages 4-8 are $1, adults are $3 and seniors (60+) are $1.
Emler Swim School – 10700 Anderson Mill Rd. #207; Austin, Texas 78750 and 3267 Bee Caves Rd.; Austin, Texas 78746
Emler offers swim classes, starting at 6 months. You can attend a free Waterbabies (6-35 months) orientation class.
Georgetown Public Library – 402 W. 8th Street; Georgetown, Texas 78626
The library offers Baby & Me storytime for ages 0-12 months on Wednesdays at 9:30am. Storytime for ages 0-5 takes place on Thursdays and Fridays at 10:30am. Free.
Gymboree – Southwest and Central Austin (4220 S. Lamar Blvd., #150; Austin, Texas 78704), Arboretum Crossing (9333 Research Blvd., Suite C-240; Austin, Texas 78759) and Cedar Park Gymboree (1335 E. Whitestone Blvd., #S120; Cedar Park, Texas 78613)
Gymboree offers Play & Learn Classes for 0-5 years, Music for 6 months to 5 years, Art for 18 months to 5 years, Sports for 3-5 years and School Skills for 3-5 year olds. The first class is free.
Heartsong Music – 2700 Anderson Ln.; Austin, Texas 78757
Heartsong Music provides Music Together to families in Austin. Heartsong offers Music Together for Babies (8 months and younger), Music Together Mixed-age (birth to 5) and Intergenerational Music Together Classes (birth to 5). The first class is free.
Hop N Happy – 10401 Anderson Mill Road, Suite 110A, Austin, Texas 78750
The preschool set will enjoy exploring two inflatables where only children age 5 and under are allowed to play. Only children up to age 10 are allowed in the play area. Regular admission applies. Parents and infants are free.
Hoppin House – 4040 South Lamar Blvd., Suite B; Austin, Texas 78704 and 5151B Industrial Way; Buda, Texas 78610
Both stores have toddler areas with 1-2 inflatables for kids under 3. Regular admission rates apply.
Inflatable Wonderland – 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr.; Cedar Park, Texas 78613 (lower level of Lakeline Mall, in between Sears and Stride Rite)
Inflatable Wonderland has a toddler play area and inflatables for younger visitors. Regular admission rates apply.
iPlay Austin – 8816 Cullen Lane; Austin, Texas 78748
iPlay is an indoor inflatable program with Toddler Town, reserved for ages 3 and under. Regular admission rates apply. Kids under 2 years of age are free.
Jumpoline – 13801 Mopac Expy; Austin, Texas 78727 and 6405 South IH-35; Austin, Texas 78744
Both locations have separate areas for younger children. Regular admission rates apply.
Jumpstreet – 12617 Ridgeline Blvd., Suite B; Cedar Park, Texas 78613
The Earthquake Kids Zone has been designed specifically for children 7 and under (no one over the age of 7 is allowed) to provide them with a safe, fun place that is all their own. The Kids Zone includes a smaller version of Jumpstreet’s trampoline system, bounce houses and a fun play area. Regular admission rates apply.
Kaleidoscope Toys – 110 North IH35, Suite 375; Round Rock, Texas 78681
Signing Storytime with The Signing Connection takes place on Mondays at 10am for children 0-5 years and their parents. Free.
Kyle Library – 550 Scott Street; Kyle, Texas 78640
The Kyle Library offers Spanish for Preschoolers on Mondays at 10:30am (free), Preschool Express on Wednesdays at 10:30am, Rockin’ Read Storytime for ages 0-5 on Wednesdays at 11:30am, Baby Lapsit (0-18 months) on Thursdays at 10am and Toddler Time (18-36 months) on Thursdays at 11am. Free.
Lake Travis Community Library – 1938 Lohmans Crossing; Austin, Texas 78734
Book Babies is for ages 3-24 months on Wednesdays at 10:30am, Tales for Tots is for ages 2-3 on Tuesdays at 10:30am and Bookaneers is for ages 4-6 on Mondays at 10:30am. In addition, on the second Thursday of the month at 10:30am, the library offers Little Yoga for 3-6 year olds. Free.
Laura’s Library – 9411 Bee Cave Rd.; Austin, Texas 78746
Laura’s Library offers Infant Storytime (birth to one year) on Mondays at 10:30am. On Wednesdays at 10:30am, there is a Tot Time Storytime. Preschool storytime for ages 3-5 happens on Tuesdays at 10:30am. Free.
Leander Public Library – 1011 S. Bagdad; Leander, Texas 78641
On Monday mornings at 9:30am, HitMaker Music School with Mr. Mike presents a musical adventure of songs, stories, and fun for ages three to five. On Tuesday mornings at 9:30am and Friday mornings at 10:00am, Baby & Me with Cindy storytime and playgroup is for children under 24 months and their parent. On Wednesday mornings at 10:00am, the Goddard School Toddler & Pre-school storytime includes crafts to go along with great stories. Free.
The Little Gym – locations in north and south Austin, Round Rock and Kyle
The Little Gym offers parent-child classes for infants to age 3. Preschool to kindergarten and Sports Skills Development is also available for ages 3-6. First class is free.
Little Land Play Gym & Pediatric Therapy – 13776 N. Highway 183, Suite 107, Austin, TX 78750
Little Land has a small play area designated for babies. Regular admission applies. Save $1 on admission by mentioning Free Fun in Austin!
The Little Yoga House – 1211 Parkway; Austin, Texas 78703
The Little Yoga House offers Mom & Baby Postnatal Yoga, Parent & Tot Classes for ages 12-18 months, Parent & Toddler Classes for ages 18 months to three years and Hanuminis for ages 3-6. Prices vary.
Little Stacy Wading Pool – 2000 Alameda Dr., Austin, Texas 78704
This wading pool is adjacent to a playground and a larger neighborhood pool. Read Sarah’s review here. Open June 15-August 16, 2015 from 1-8pm, although the pool is closed on Wednesdays. Free.
Locomotion Inflatable Play – 6800 Westgate Blvd.; Austin, Texas 78745
Locomotion has a separate infant and toddler area. Regular admission rates apply.
Micki Krebsbach Pool – 301 Deepwood Drive, Round Rock, TX 78681
This pool has a huge shallow area for small children, with a beach entrance. The main attraction in the shallow pool is a 26-foot long pirate ship, which offers 2 slides and water cannons. Closed Tuesdays. Regular admission fees apply.
Mt. Playmore – 13609 North IH35; Austin, Texas 78753
Mt. Playmore has a 1400-square-foot area with age appropriate toys, activities and play elements for toddlers. Regular admission rates apply. Children under 2 get in free.
Patterson Pool – 1400 Wilshire Blvd.; Austin, Texas 78722
This neighborhood pool also has a small fountain that littler ones can enjoy. Before you make a trip just for that, please note that the fountain can be closed if the pool is short-staffed. Check here for the pool schedule. Closed on Wednesdays. Free.
Reed Pool – 2600 Pecos Street; Austin, Texas 78703
This neighborhood pool also has a small fountain that littler ones can enjoy. Before you make a trip just for that, please note that the fountain can be closed if the pool is short-staffed. Read Sarah’s review here. Check here for the pool schedule. Closed on Tuesdays. Free.
Round Rock Library – 216 E. Main Street; Round Rock, Texas 78664
The library offers Babytime from birth to 18 months old. At 9:30am on Wednesdays, Babytime takes place for 12-18 month-olds. At 9:30am on Thursdays, Babytime takes place for 0-12 months At 9:30am Friday, Babytime takes place for 12-18 months. Toddlertime is for ages 18 months to three years. Each week, Toddlertime takes place at 9:30am on Wednesdays and 10:30 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Preschool Storytime is for ages 3-6 and takes place at 6:30pm on Monday (pajama-friendly session), 10:30am on Wednesday, 9:30am on Thursday and 10:30am on Thursdays. Free.
Safari Champ – 1400 East Old Settlers Blvd. #200; Round Rock, Texas 78665
A separate Toddler Safari area is for toddlers and infants. Regular admission fees apply. Children under 12 months get in free.
San Marcos Public Library – 625 E. Hopkins St.; San Marcos, Texas 78666
Storytime for preschoolers is at 10:00am & 11:00am on Tuesdays. Storytime for toddlers is at 10:00am & 11:00am on Thursdays. Free.
Scott Mentzer Pool – 901 Old Austin Hutto Road, Pflugerville, Texas 78660
This pool is fun for all ages, but preschoolers will enjoy the small splash pad and beach entrance. There is also a small slide in the shallow end of the pool. Life jackets are free to borrow from the pool. Closed Wednesdays. Regular admission fees apply.
Shipe Wading Pool – 4400 Avenue G; Austin, Texas 78751
This partially shaded wading pool is adjacent to a playground and a larger neighborhood pool. Open June 16-August 16, 2015 from 1-8pm, although the pool is closed on Mondays. Free.
Thinkery – 1830 Simond Ave.; Austin, Texas 78723
The Thinkery offers several opportunities for its youngest visitors to experience what the museum has to offer:
- Baby Bloomers (Mondays 9am until noon and Saturdays from 9-10am) is an opportunity for children age 0-3 and their families to experience the Thinkery together in an environment focused on early learners. Storytimes, sing-alongs and the Little Explorers Lab are designed to engage the Thinkery’s youngest visitors in fun learning and investigation. In addition to these special activities, families are invited to explore a portion of the Museum reserved exclusively for Baby Bloomers participants. Tickets: Members $2.50 each / non-members $4.50 each.
- Early Learners Workshops (12-36 months, depending on the workshop) take place on Saturdays at 10:30am. $15 and up.
- Early Learners Series (ages 0-3) takes place during the school year and offers fun, dynamic learning experiences that involve science, technology, engineering, art and math. Classes are 45 minutes in length and are offered with flexible enrollment to fit each family’s specific needs. Sign up for a few classes or the entire 10-week session.
Toybrary Austin – 7817 Rockwood, Suite 101, Austin, Texas 78757
Toybrary is a toy lending library with a great play area stocked with tons of toys. Non-members can drop in and play for $5 per child. You can also plan to stop by for an engaging event (prices vary).
Wells Branch Community Library – 15001 Wells Port Drive; Austin, Texas 78728
Baby Bookworms for 0-18 months takes place on Mondays at 10:30am and Mondays at 11:15am for 12-24 months. Toddler storytime (18-36 months) takes place on Fridays at 10:30am and preschool storytime happens on Fridays at 11:15am for ages 3-6 years. Free.