City Guides

Krysten Ritter’s Guide to Austin With Kids

Some cities are more kid-friendly than others, but few cities are as convenient, easy going and fun (for both children and grownups alike) as Austin, Texas. In honor of Father’s Day, we asked Krysten Ritter, star of Marvel’s Jessica Jones, mom to a 3-year-old toddler, and recent Austin resident, to give us the low down on the city’s best spots for parents with young kids—because as anyone with a toddler will tell you, half the battle is knowing how to keep them active (without taking every last ounce of energy out of you, the parent).

“Since having my son, we have gotten to relocate to three different cities for extended periods of time with the support of my work. Moving with a little one in tow is always an adventure with its fair share of challenges, but I always try to make the best of it. Our latest adventure has us in Austin, Texas, which we are loving because it feels like it’s totally built for kids. Summer months are hot as hellfire, but there is so much fun stuff to do. Everything is 15 mins away (including the airport), there’s great food, it’s super walkable, convenient, charming, and the people are really nice. The town slogan is” Keep Austin Weird” (which it shares with another one of my favorite places, Portland), and I’m fully embracing the laid-back, nature-loving, cowboy boot-wearing vibes. Because my life revolves around my toddler, it’s all about the toddler Austin to-do list for me.”

NATURE OUTINGS

BARTON SPRINGS

“Barton Springs is absolutely magical. It’s especially nice to see the same locals there for their daily swim. My son says, “Hi Jerry” to a group of swimmers, and even I have been inspired to jump in. I went in a few days after the freeze, and I was so cold my body was totally numb, but I felt really good about myself! We also love to walk the trail, hit the playground, splash in the water, and rent kayaks at Zilker Boat Rental. As you kayak down to Lady Bird Lake there are so many turtles sunbathing along the water’s edge—you can’t even believe it, and it’s always hoppin’ with kayakers and paddle Boarders.”

Barton Springs Rd / Austin, TX 78704 / 512.974.6300

DINO PIT

“If you have a kid that loves to dig (like mine), there’s the Dino Pit at Zilker Park Nature and Science Center, which is basically a huge giant sandbox where they can get in and dig up full-sized fossil replicas. The grounds are also just gorgeous and there’s a small hands on nature and science museum with some other birds and animals and it’s right in Zilker Park.”

2389 Stratford Dr / Austin, TX 78746 / 512.974.3888

CROWS NEST FARM

“Another fun outing is driving out to Crows Nest Farm where you can feed goats and llamas and pigs and walk the grounds of the entire ginormous farm. You can even see a cow milking demonstration done by farmer Eric or take a hayride out to see bison and an Emu further out on the property. They also have a fabulous gift shop in a huge barn, really nice people run it and they have a reptile room in the back with snakes.”

Photo Courtesy of Crow Nest Farm

10300 Taylor Ln / Manor, TX 78653 / 512.272.4418

THE BEST PARKS

“All the playgrounds in Austin are so beautiful and thoughtful and creative and wildly different from each other. Zilker Park, The Alliance Children’s Garden, Liz Carpenter Splash Pad, Pease Park, and Little Zikler are all in regular rotation.”

ZIKLER PARK

2207 Lou Neff Rd / Austin, TX 78746 / 512.974.6700

THE ALLIANCE CHILDREN’S GARDEN

1000 Barton Springs Rd / Austin, TX 78704

LIZ CARPENTER SPLASH PAD

1000 Barton Springs Rd / Austin, TX 78704 / 512.974.9331

PEASE PARK

1100 Kingsbury St / Austin, TX 78703

LITTLE ZILKER

1100 Kingsbury St / Austin, TX 78703 / 512.974.9590

INDOOR RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES

AUSTIN AQUARIUM

“The Austin Aquarium is also pretty great. It’s small, but there’s a lot of hands-on stuff to do and a lot of opportunities for kiddos to feed fish and interact with birds and other animals.”

Photo Courtesy of Austin Aquarium

13530 US-183 Hwy #101 / Austin, TX 78750 / 512.222.5586

URBAN AIR

“A really cool trampoline park that has a Friday morning toddler session from 10am to 1pm where only the 0-3 year olds and their parents are there, so they aren’t overwhelmed by the big kids.”

Photo Courtesy of Urban Air

4500 S Pleasant Valley Rd Bldg. 1 Suite #106 / Austin, TX 78744 / 737.209.7096

A PERFECT SUNDAY OUTING

“Another one of our absolute favorite things about Austin is the Thinkery museum. Every time we go, we end up closing the place down. My son loves this place. It’s a hands-on science museum that has a cute water play room where the kids can put on smocks and crocs while they get wet; a dark room, a huge play structure, and Mueller Lake and playground are right across the street. Sundays have Community Night which is free from 3-5 and if you plan ahead, getting a reservation at farm-to-table Italian restaurant Loca Dora at 5:30 makes the perfect kid friendly Sunday outing.”

THINKERY MUSEUM

Photo Courtesy of Thinkery Museum
Photo Courtesy of Thinkery Museum

1830 Simond Ave / Austin, TX 78723 / 512.469.6200

MUELLER LAKE

4550 Mueller Blvd / Austin, TX 78723 / 512.703.9202

L’OCA D’ORO

Photo Courtesy of L’Oca d’Oro

1900 Simond Ave / Austin, TX 78723 / 737.212.1876

GO-TO KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANT

FRESA’S

“I love that almost all the restaurants have great outdoor spaces and kids’ menus. We went to Fresas the other day and basically asked what’s fast and quick for kids and they had several taco options that could be whipped up in just a few minutes. People just seem to love the energy and spirit of children running around.”

Photo Courtesy of Fresa’s
Photo Courtesy of Fresa’s

Multiple Locations