Austin Nature & Science Center

#15 in Best Things To Do in Austin
Austin Nature & Science Center picture
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Key Info

2389 Stratford Dr

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
3.9

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Parents aiming to cultivate a passion for science will appreciate the offerings at the Austin Nature & Science Center. The center provides hands-on exhibits designed to foster connections with the natural environment. One outdoor option is the Forest Trail, which includes information about the 45 types of native trees planted along the path. Visitors with kids should not miss the Dino Pit, which allows children to dig up an assortment of fossil casts, introducing the field of paleontology. The Austin Nature & Science Center also houses several animal exhibits, including small fish and reptiles, a variety of birds and mammals like bobcats.

Recent travelers appreciated how well the park caters to children, as the array of exhibits are sure to keep even the antsiest kids entertained. What’s more, admission to the Austin Nature & Science Center is free. Visitors are welcome Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The center sits in the Zilker Metropolitan Park, east of downtown Austin. The park is accessible via public transit like the No. 30 bus, which drops visitors within walking distance of the center. To learn more about planning a visit to the Austin Nature & Science Center, be sure to check out its website.                                                               

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Type
Time to Spend
#1 State Capitol

Standing stoically in the heart of central Austin is Texas's legislative center, the State Capitol. Opened in 1888, this pink-granite landmark stands 14 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Much of the capitol, including the 218-foot rotunda, the chamber of the Hall of Representatives and the governor's receiving room, still look the same as they did when the capitol opened.

The structure underwent a large-scale restoration starting in the 1980s, including replacing the zinc statue of the Goddess of Liberty that sits atop the dome with an aluminum one. The restoration also included a 667,000-square-foot underground extension that was completed in 1993 to accommodate how much the state government had grown. Many visitors say it's the most impressive state legislative building they've ever seen, but they also warn it can be crowded at times. If you want to learn a bit of Texas history without having to pay an entrance fee, you can't beat a visit to the capitol building, according to past travelers. The building is also a featured stop on many of the best tours in Austin.

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