Texas makes an ideal family holiday destination with its temperate climate, numerous water parks, and family attractions. Here we take a look at a selection of the best family-friendly amenities Texas has to offer.
The Austin Nature & Science Center, Austin
Situated on the fringes of Zilker Park and Nature Preserve, the Austin Nature & Science Center’s aim is to educate children and increase environmental awareness through a range of interactive educational exhibits. Studies show that children who play and learn in nature are happier, healthier, and learn better at school. Austin Nature & Science Center provides environmental science education programs to local schools, hosting homeschool groups, camps, scout troops, adventure programs as well as a range of family events. Admission is free for both children and adults.
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science is a fascinating day out for visitors of all ages. Permanent exhibits include the Moody Family Children’s Museum, which features a miniature farmer’s market, indoor nature trail, and water play table. Meanwhile, the Rose Hall of Birds comprises rare bird fossils and footprints, demonstrating the link between prehistoric dinosaurs and birds of today. Admission to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is free for children aged 12 and under.
Dinosaur World, Glen Rose
Dinosaur World is a prehistoric playground that makes a magical day out for children of all ages. Wander through the Bone Yard, or grab a bucket and try your hand at Dino Gem Excavation, where you can sluice for treasures like arrowheads, minerals and even real gems, all of which you can keep. The Fossil Dig is a guided activity where children can hunt for fossils in a specially stocked area before taking away their three best finds, which could range from gastropods to Mosasaur teeth.
Reunion Tower, Dallas
There is no better place to take in the Dallas Skyline than from Reunion Tower’s GeO-Deck. From 470 feet up, visitors can experience 360-degree views across the city through telescopes and zoom cameras. Constellation, Reunion Tower’s interactive experience, allows visitors to use a touchscreen monitor to leave their name and comments on a star, adding to their virtual constellation with every visit. Reunion Tower features a café as well as a high-end restaurant on its top floor, where visitors can appreciate the stunning views while enjoying contemporary Asian cuisine.
Six Flags Fiesta, San Antonio
Six Flags Fiesta is an amusement park that features a range of family and rollercoaster rides. Thrill rides include some of the tallest, fastest rides in the country, including Batman: The Ride, the world’s first free-fly 4D roller coaster. Scream is a 205-foot-high freefall tower, while the Texas Gunslinger propels an open-air seating capsule 200 feet into the air.
For kids, the Wave Runner is a classic scrambler, perfect for younger children accompanied by an adult. When you need a break from all the thrills, the Whistlestop Train is a real working train that takes guests of all ages on a leisurely tour of Whistlestop Park.
Space Center Houston, Houston
This nonprofit gateway to NASA educates children about the space program through a range of engaging, interactive teaching methods, presenting mathematics, technology, science, and engineering in a fun and inspiring way. The Space Museum houses over 400 important space artifacts, including the largest public collection of lunar samples and moon rocks.
Lady Bird Lake, Austin
Lady Bird Lake is named after Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady of the United States. It lies on the Colorado River, creating a 416-acre reservoir that is chiefly used for recreational purposes. On its banks lies Zilker Park, with Barton Springs feeding the lake. Paddleboards, kayaks, and even dragon boats are available to rent. The Ann and Roy Butler Trail is popular with bikers and hikers alike.
Big Bend National Park, Big Bend
Located in Southwest Texas, Big Bend National Park features colossal limestone canyons and solitary mountain ranges surrounded by stark desert. This scenic stretch of Texan backcountry offers exciting outdoor adventures, from ranger programs and dirt road drives to fossil hunting (some impressive prehistoric finds have been unearthed in this area). Big Bend is too large to cover in a single day.
Highlights include the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive, providing impressive views across the Chihuahuan Desert and ending at the Rio Grande. Chisos Basin is popular with hikers, who enjoy day hikes across the Lost Mine and Window Trails. Boquillas del Carmen provides an unforgettable taste of traditional Mexican village life right across the border for those who remember to pack their passport.
The Alamo, San Antonio
Lying at the heart of San Antonio, the Alamo is the most visited landmark in Texas and arguably the most important historic landmark in the whole of the United States. Jim Bowie, William Barret Travis, Davy Crockett, and José Gregorio Esparza all died here fighting for freedom. A former Spanish mission, this 300-year-old fortress is free for families to visit all year round.