For sure and for certain Austin is one of my favorite places to visit. You gotta love Austinites and their quirky amazing city!

Monday seems to be the most open day on our schedule this summer, so fitting in long field trips might be the route we take for the next few weeks. Knowing that the Texas Memorial Museum at the University of Texas is slated soon to close for renovations (the 20th to be exact), we made plans with friends to check out two free, and fun, places.

We headed to the Austin Nature and Science Center first:

Because the center is free and located at Zilker Park visiting this site is sure to provide a few hours of fun.  There are plenty of places to sit and have a picnic lunch, though we opted to check out a large playground across the way. Parking is free at the foot foot of the center. I would bring sturdy hiking shoes, since there are trails, not sandals like I prefer. Plus, plenty of water (though there are water fountains around the property), bug and sun spray, and a zeal for discovery 😉

We explored the center for about two hours, first checking out the main center, which has an awesome room for hands on fun and learning. They do run a “shop” out of that portion of the center, but it only runs on certain days and we never have been able to make it. The premise is that if a child finds a cool nature thing on the grounds or off and brings it in they get credit and can spend it by purchasing items that others have brought in. It’s a neat idea and one I might incorporate into our campfire group next year.

There is a lot to see and do beyond the welcome center. There are hiking trails, rescued animals on displays, a dino digging pit, and a smaller building housing reptiles, birds, and other small creatures.

The center is definitely one of our fav spots to explore.

After a nice lunch at one of Zilker Park’s playgrounds (I’m assuming there has to be more than one) we headed across town to the University of Texas campus to check out the Texas Memorial Museum (also free) :

Usually we check out the museum on the weekend and we can find free parking in front of the facility. Since today was a weekday we ended up parking at the garage adjacent to the building. The cost seems to be 3 bucks per hour, so for a cheaper experience I say go on the weekend.

The Texas Memorial Museum is lots of fun. There is tons to see, including dino tracks from Glen Rose, Texas, lots of fossils, examples of Texas native wildlife, and more. There are also water fountains on hand and a small gift shop that my kiddos always want to check out.

My kiddos had a blast and it was nice catching up with an old friend. My kiddos were pretty tired by the time we made it to the car. We came home to a quick dinner followed by a movie on post, African Cats (which made BB pretty sad, though he did say he enjoyed it).

All in all today was a long, busy, fun day. I’m as wiped out as the kiddos!

A good day for sure!