Journey Into A Magical Land Of Faeries At Zilker Botanical Garden


Looking for a way to make your summer magical? From now through August 1, you can venture into a whimsical land of fairies, trolls, and gnomes at Zilker Botanical Garden’s Woodland Faerie Trail . The trail is FREE with paid garden admission ($3-6)

The garden will be open with limited admissions in order to maintain safe and appropriate social distancing. Advance reservations are required to guarantee a spot. You can purchase tickets here.

Editor’s note: this article was written by Free Fun Contributor Emily D and first published in 2017. Info related to planning your visit has been updated as of June 2021.


Here’s what you can expect when you visit the Woodland Faerie Trail!

After years of visiting the Woodland Faerie Trail, this year my family decided to go all in and build a fairy house of our own. We agreed that we wanted to keep our house as natural as possible, but that was about all we could agree on when we started. We scoured Pinterest for ideas, debated, drew plans, changed plans. And we all learned a lot about flexibility and compromise (and power tools!) along the way. In the end, we created an awesome house–cleverly titled “Fairy Home Companion” by my 10 year-old–that we’re all really proud to show off! 

Wandering the paths of the Woodland Faerie Trail is a delight. There are houses built by families like ours, by scout troops, by garden clubs, and even by professional designers and architects. Some houses are easy to spot while others blend into their surroundings. Some use all natural materials while others incorporate store-bought goodies. Some are scaled for the tiniest fairies while others are a bit better suited for trolls. It’s such fun to see how different people can approach the same project in so many unique ways! But the real magic of the fairy homes is in the details. Take the time to study every cute little nook and cranny. There are teensy hand-written signs, swings made of seashells and acorn tops, spaces created exclusively for insect friends, and more.

The gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays. The garden is closed for major holidays and typically during Austin City Limits Music Fest. 

The 26-acre gardens are beautiful and full of open spaces to explore. In addition to the plants and flowers, there are always butterflies, turtles, and birds to be seen. And the best part? There’s an abundance of shade, so it’s bearable even during the summer months! Here are my family’s favorite kid-friendly exhibits:

Pioneer Village

Log cabin built by the first Swedish settler in Texas.

Butterfly Trail and Garden

Prehistoric Garden

Plants representative of what existed at the time of the dinosaurs, plus a fun dino sculpture.

Japanese Garden

View of Austin’s skyline from the Teahouse.

Rose Garden

This cupola once topped one of Austin’s first public schools. The pond is a primo spot for turtle watching.


The Butler Window was removed from a house built in 1887. It contains granite used in the construction of the Capitol.

Don’t miss this magical experience! 

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