- October 15, 2012

Free and Inexpensive Indoor Fun in Austin

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We all know that Austin is a beautiful city for getting outside, but what about when you need to stay indoors? Like when it’s raining, or during the blistering hot months of summer? We polled Austinites on our Facebook page and put together this handy list of our readers’ favorite indoor fun.

Texas Memorial Museum

Texas Memorial Museum

 

Museums and Science Centers

  • Texas Memorial Museum — With 5.7 million collected specimens from research conducted at the Texas Natural Science Center, exhibits focus on prehistoric life, evolution, rocks and minerals, and Texas wildlife. Admission is $1-4. (2400 Trinity St)
  • Thinkery — Admission is $9 for age 2 and up; children under 24 months are free. Community Night Wednesdays from 4 – 8 p.m. offer admission by donation (suggested donation of $1). (1830 Simond Ave)
  • Free trade counter at the Austin Nature & Science Center — Located on the western edge of Zilker Park, the ANSC offers kids the chance to take in treasures they have found in nature, learn a little about them, and trade them for points to spend on new and more exotic treasures from the store. For more information, view the trade counter brochure. FREE; donations accepted. (301 Nature Center Dr, on the western edge of Zilker Park)

Libraries

Indoor Playgrounds and Bounce Houses

  • Hoppin’ House — With 3 locations in Lakeway, Cedar Park, and South Austin, Hoppin’ House is a small, yet fun bounce house, complete with foam pit and enclosed toddler play area. $5.50 for children under 3, $8.50 for children 3 – 11. For locations, visit their website.
  • Big Bounce — Located in Cedar Park, the Big Bounce is full of inflatables of all sizes. $7 per child M-F, $10 per child on Saturday and Sunday. Under age 2 is always free. (1754 Bagdad Rd, Cedar Park)
  • Locomotion — Inflatable play in South Austin. $7 for ages 1-3, $8 for ages 4-10. Adults and kids under age 1 are free. Groups of 10 or more are only $5 per child, and you can also save on multiple visit punch cards. Visit their website for more details. (6800 Westgate Blvd)
  • Safari Champ — Fun indoor playground in Round Rock with plenty of climbing, and even a toddler play area. $3 for ages 12 – 23 months, $7.50 for age 2 and up. Groups of 8 are $5 each for kids 2 and up and $3 for 12-23 months. Admission is only $3 every Wednesday. (1400 E Old Settlers Blvd #200, Round Rock)
  • Pinballz Arcade — A good old fashioned arcade with classic and new arcade games, redemption games, and other multiplayer games like air hockey, foosball, and skeeball. All games range from 2 to 4 tokens for game play (or $.50 – $1). (8940 Research Blvd, Ste 100)
  • Jumpoline — With 2 locations in Wells Branch and South Austin, this trampoline park will wear the kids out! Admission M-F is $7 for the 1st hour and $5 for each additional hour for ages 5 and up; $5/$3 for under 5. Admission Saturday and Sunday is $10/$5 for age 5 and up, and $7/$5 for under age 5. For locations, visit their website.
  • Jumpstreet — Similar to Jumpoline, Jumpstreet is an indoor trampoline park near Lakeline Mall. Admission for ages 8 and up: Monday/Wednesday $8 first hour/$6 each additional hour; Tuesday/Thursday $10 for 2 hours; Friday – Sunday (and holidays) $12/$6. Admission for ages 4-7 (Earthquake access only): Monday-Thursday $8 all day (no re-entry); Friday-Sunday $6 per hour. (12617 Ridgeline Blvd, Suite B)
  • Extreme Fun — North Austin inflatable play with foam pit and toddler area. Admission Monday-Friday is $7 for ages 1-10; Saturday and Sunday $8 (plus tax). Under age 1 is always free. (10401 Anderson Mill Rd, Suite 110a)
  • Inflatable Wonderland — Located in Lakeline Mall, Inflatable Wonderland is a huge maze of fun. Admission is $7 plus tax Monday – Friday and $10 plus tac on Saturday and Sunday. (11200 Lakeline Mall Blvd, inside Lakeline Mall, lower level between Dillards and Sears)
  • Kidz n’ Play — Central Austin inflatable playground, across from Highland Mall. $5 for under age 3, $8 for age 3-10. Every Wednesday is $1-$2 off day. (6100 Airport Blvd)
  • Pump It Up — Usually reserved for private parties, Pump It Up does offer pop in play times at their Austin and Round Rock locations (generally from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday – Friday; sometimes from 3 – 6 p.m. as well), for $6 per child. Visit the Austin website or Round Rock website for location information and to double check their events calendar for pop in playtimes.
  • The Jumpy Place — Inflatable play place with locations in Kyle and New Braunfels. Admission is $7 all day for ages 1-10. Under 12 months is free with another paid admission. Closed Tuesdays.
  • Wazoo’s — 15,000 square foot inflatable play facility in South Austin. Admission is $8 per child to play all day, $6 per child for groups of 10 or more. (8816 Cullen Ln)
  • Chuck E Cheese — One reader says the best time to go is before noon. Kids can play games of all age ranges. Tokens available for purchase. See the three Austin area locations here.

More Indoor Fun

  • Barnes & Noble — Barnes & Noble has always had a great kids’ section, but now they’ve integrated a pretty big toy section into most stores, complete with a LEGO Duplo table. Hopefully a store near you still has a train table too! Grab a coffee and treat while you’re there.
  • Half Price Books — A lot of locations have expanded their kids’ sections for a little more staying and browsing power. To find a location near you, visit their website.
  • BookPeople — Whether there’s an event going on or not, BookPeople has tons of shelves for browsing and a wonderful kids’ section, which boasts a mini theater for storytime with a tunnel for kids that runs under the seats. Visit the kids’ calendar for story times. (603 N Lamar)
  • Cabela’s — An “educational and entertainment attraction,” Cabela’s features museum quality animal displays, a huge aquarium, and trophy animals. (15570 IH 35, Buda)
  • Lakeline Mall — Lakeline boasts a free indoor play area for kids, a fun carousel ($2 per ride or $5 for 3 rides), an indoor train ($5 per ride or 3 rides for $10), as well as a slew of coin fed rides by the food court, not to mention Inflatable Wonderland!  (11200 Lakeline Mall Dr)
  • Anna’s Toy Depot — One reader says that she loves taking her kids to Anna’s Toy Depot to play with a few toys, and she can usually get out of there for under $10! (2620 S Lamar Blvd, #B). On that note, I’d have to throw Brilliant Sky Toys & Books in there as well, with a fun corner of toys to play with and lots of educational play things. (701 S Cap of Tx Hwy, Suite D-480). Kaleidoscope Toys (1601 S IH35 Ste 325 Round Rock) and BabyEarth (D-100, 106 East Old Settlers Boulevard, Round Rock) also allow kids to play with an array of toys.  Check their websites for upcoming storytimes and events.
  • Round Rock Cinemark 8 — Catch a movie at the discount theater! Ticket prices range from 50¢ – $2.25. (2132 N Mays St, Round Rock)
  • Fire stations — Call ahead of time, and most local fire stations will be happy to conduct a tour. Perfect for play dates as well.
Check out the Anytime Free Fun page for even more options for local indoor activities.
Did we leave off your favorite rainy day/indoor activity? Let us know!