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day trips

Nothing cools you off on a hot summer day like a spring-fed swimming hole. Krause Springs in Spicewood (404 Krause Spring Road, Spicewood, 78669) is one of the best around! Located about 35 miles west of Austin off State Highway 71, Krause Springs has 34 springs that feed a man-made pool and a natural swimming area.

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You can visit just for the day ($7 age 12+, $5 ages 4 – 11, free for ages 0 – 3) or camp overnight ($14 age 12+, $6 ages 4 – 11, and $14 per RV camp site). Credit cards are not accepted at this time so bring cash. Guests sign a liability waiver upon entering.

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When we arrived, we took a look around the lovely garden near the office.

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We thought this caterpillar was pretty interesting.

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Next, we walked along the paths and saw many picnic areas surrounded by beautiful trees.

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From the path, we could see the manmade pool. It is fed by very cold spring water (68 degrees according to their web site). Get ready to get chill out!

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As you walk, you will be able to observe some of the springs flowing near the pool.

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The boys were ready to jump in! This pool has a shallower section (about 3 feet) and a deeper section (about 8 feet).

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Here’s a view of the swimming hole from an overlook.

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After swimming in the manmade pool for about an hour, we were ready to head down to the swimming hole.

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The stairs closest to the manmade pool are a little steep. There’s another set of stairs farther down the path.

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The swimming hole has both sun and shade. It was gorgeous!

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The waterfall surrounded by maidenhair fern was stunning. I haven’t seen anything else like it (in Texas at least)! The boys were fascinated by the “rainbow” that was created by the sun shining through the water as it fell. They played in this area a long time. We thought that the water here was not quite as cold as it was in the manmade pool above. When you are swimming, be aware that the natural swimming area has an uneven surface on the bottom. You can go from shallow to deep in one step.

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The rope swing was extremely popular.

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One thing to be aware of while enjoying the natural swimming area is that it is very slippery. Not only did we see a few people slip, my 12-year-old son hit the ground pretty hard near the end of our visit. That took the wind out of his sails. Definitely wear sturdy shoes that can keep you stable both in the water and out. To leave the swimming hole we went back up these stairs, which were less steep.

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We walked some more along the paths trying to find the second waterfall fed by the springs. From the map, we could tell it was slightly northeast of the swimming areas.

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We found plenty of springs!

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After some stubborn searching by this mom who wouldn’t leave without seeing the second waterfall, we finally located it. We couldn’t find a way to walk down the hill to get closer to it, so I took this picture with the zoom lens of my camera. (Yes, it’s a little hard to see.) With our mission accomplished, we were ready to head back to Austin after a quick stop at Opie’s to pick up some BBQ for dinner.

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Austin Active Kids Opinion: One of the prettiest swimming holes we’ve ever seen, just come prepared with sturdy shoes.
Outing Time: We stayed 2.5 hours but we might have been there longer if we’d have brought more food and drinks with us. Krause Springs could easily be a half-day or full-day outing. Since it’s got a campground, you could even stay overnight!
Reminders:
Don’t forget to bring cash for the admission fee since credit cards are not accepted. ($7 age 12+, $5 ages 4 – 11, free for ages 0 – 3) or camp overnight ($14 age 12+, $6 ages 4 – 11, and $14 per RV camp site)
It’s very important to bring sturdy shoes that can keep your feet stable in and out of the water.
There aren’t any lifeguards at Krause Springs. Swimming safety gear is a must for children still developing their skills. Also pack floats, sunscreen, hats, towels, and plenty of snacks and drinks. You could even bring along a picnic and take advantage of the many picnic tables provided.
While this is definitely one of those beautiful swimming holes I’ve ever seen, I would be hesitant about taking children under age 5 without the helping hand of at least one other adult. If your children are younger or still developing swimming skills, it’s probably a good idea to have a plan for how you will keep them monitored safely. Also, the natural swimming area is just that–natural. Don’t be surprised if you see fish, turtles or even a snake.
Summertime office hours are 9 am – 9 pm and the springs are open year-round. Here are some FAQs from the Krause Springs web site. It’s helpful to know ahead of time that Krause Springs has a “no dogs” policy.
Before you go, you might want to read Top Tips for Families Visiting Krause Springs by R We There Yet Mom? Here are more descriptions of Krause Springs from Austin Post, Austinot and CultureMap.
This 2012 Daily Texan article describes some of the history of Krause Springs.

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If packing a lot of equipment and staying overnight are not in the cards for you but you’d still like to have a Texas state park experience, give Blanco State Park a try. This 104-acre park is located on US Highway 281 in Blanco, about 50 miles west of Austin. (The address is 101 Park Road 23 but use 29 Main Street, Blanco, TX, for GPS.) The primary feature of the park is the beautiful Blanco River.

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Blanco State Park opened in 1934. You can read more about the park’s history here.

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The Civilian Conservation Corps helped create the infrastructure for the park during 1933-34, including this pavilion.

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Before jumping in the water, we wanted to explore the Caswell Nature Trail (shown on this park map).

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The trail has its own parking area and this picture shows where to enter.

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There is some shade on the trail, which is under 1/2 mile long.

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When you are halfway along the trail, look for this access point heading down. Your return trip is closer to the river.

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Check the events calendar for trail walks with a master naturalist. We had just missed one scheduled for the previous day.

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After we finished the trail, we headed toward the eastern section of the park to explore the river. Many families were enjoying picnics and activities along the riverbank.

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We then walked back toward the western side of the park, which is visible when you driving along US Highway 281. This area has a dam and a “pool” (pictured below). While the water in the pool is very shallow, the water above the dam is pretty deep. Trees along the riverbank provide some shade when you swim in that area.

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Austin Active Kids Opinion: Blanco State Park is easy to get to and easy to enjoy, too!
Outing Time: About 2 hours (not including driving to Blanco) but you definitely could stay longer.
Outing Distance: About a 1/2 mile
Reminders:
Blanco State Park is open 8 am – 10 pm for day use visitors. Office hours are 8:15 am – 4:45 pm. To pay the entry fee for day use after 4:45 pm, look for the “iron ranger” which is a red steel post that says “pay here.” It’s on your left as you drive in, on the side of the headquarters building. The admission fee is $4 per adult. Kids 12 and under are free.
There are no lifeguards on duty at Blanco State Park. Make sure to bring your children’s swimming safety gear as well as floats, inner tubes, hats and sunscreen.
Pack plenty of snacks and drinks, especially water. There are several picnic areas throughout the park so you can bring a picnic along if you’d like.
Pets are allowed must be on-leash.
Tube and canoe rentals are available at the park.

Read more about Blanco State Park from CultureMap, about.com, and Hill Country Outdoor Guide.

We’d heard there was a nature center in San Marcos so we decided to see what it was like. Not to mention, we can never turn down a chance to see the beautiful San Marcos River!

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The San Marcos Nature Center is located at 430 Riverside Drive in San Marcos, right off of I-35.

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The nature center is relatively small but my sons really enjoyed examining the different creatures. Here’s a snapping turtle.

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These tree frogs were pretty cute.

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Even this rough green snake wasn’t too scary.

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There’s a “Wildscape” behind the nature center, featuring native plants from the area.

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The nature center is adjacent to Crook Park.

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From there, we followed a path that led us to the Wildlife Habitat Park.

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We wondered where this trail would lead.

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Wow! A perfect spot to sit and enjoy the river.

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This area is part of Ramon Lucio Park, which also has baseball and softball fields.

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It was a relaxing place to take a break.

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We then backtracked and crossed Cheatham Street to Rio Vista Park (555 Cheatham Street).

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There are three “drops” or falls, that make up Rio Vista Falls. The kayakers going over the falls were pretty impressive. In warmer weather, this area is full of people enjoying the river on tubes and floats.

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We could not get over how the river was flowing. We are already talking about making sure we visit San Marcos again in warmer weather so we can find a nice spot to go swimming!

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Austin Active Kids Opinion: Fun nature exploration just a short trip from Austin!
Outing Time: Under 2 hours (not including driving to San Marcos)
Outing Distance: About a mile
Reminders: Admission to the San Marcos Nature Center is free. Hours are: Monday – Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
When you’re around the San Marcos River, remember that it’s a natural body of water and that there aren’t lifeguards on duty. For questions about swimming or tubing in the San Marcos River, call the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau at 512-393-5930 or visit their web site.
Check out this map link for a close-up of the area where we walked around.
San Marcos has a lot of greenspace to explore. Here’s a comprehensive list.

Texas state parks aren’t just for summertime! We recently visited Pedernales Falls State Park (2585 Park Road 6026 78636) near Johnson City. While we didn’t go swimming, we found plenty to do! The park is open 7 days per week with admission $6 per person age 12 and up. Kids under age 12 get in for free. From the entrance, we had a lovely Hill Country view.

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Our first stop was a short 1/4 mile trail to the Twin Falls overlook.

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The trail was very scenic and had helpful markers along the way. We had a fright when we heard a rattlesnake’s rattle! We didn’t see the snake and we quickly proceeded down the path, away from where we heard the noise. Stay on the path at all times where you can clearly see what’s in front of you. We were certainly glad we did!

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You can’t actually go down to Twin Falls; you view it from an overlook.

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These steps take you to the overlook.

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What a pretty view!

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The fall foliage enhanced the scenery.

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Now it was time to head back up.

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Next we drove to the main attraction: Pedernales Falls. This section of the river has stunning views and a beach-like area. The path to the river is easy to follow.

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We could see the river down below from an overlook area.

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Just a few more steps and we’d be there!

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The river washes over layers of limestone. According to the park’s web site, “These river limestones belong to the 300-million-year-old Marble Falls formation, and are part of the southwestern flank of the Llano uplift. These layers of limestone were tilted by the uplift, then eroded long before early Cretaceous seas 100 to 120 million years ago covered this part of Texas and deposited sands, gravels, younger limestones and marine fossils.”

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We were amazed by the water cascading out of a spring and into the river.

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My 11-year-old son found a cute little frog.

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The Pedernales River was flowing beautifully. While the water might be enticing, there is no swimming in this section of the park.

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This almost looks like a doorway, doesn’t it?

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Once over the falls, the water is calmer.

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The beach area was a magnet for the boys!

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They were so excited about spotting this cool lizard, blending in with the sand.

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We walked along the river bank and came across this beautiful scene.

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Over 150 bird species have been spotted at Pedernales Falls State Park, including this blue heron!

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We did a lot of exploring during our short visit to Pedernales Falls. The late fall season had darkness creeping up on us quickly. The only downside to an afternoon at Pedernales Falls is the climb back up the bluff. My 8-year-old son put it succinctly, “Everyone hates up.”

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Austin Active Kids Opinion: A wonderful (and close-by) outdoor experience!
Outing Time: About a 1-hour drive from Austin in no traffic. We spent a little over two hours there but easily could have spent much more time.
Outing Distance: About 1 – 2 miles during whole visit.
Reminders: The full range of activities available at Pedernales Falls State Park includes picnicking, hiking, river swimming, tubing, wading, mountain biking, fishing, bird watching, and horseback riding. There are many trails to hike in Pedernales Falls State Park. Since we were visiting for a relatively short time, we weren’t able to explore the park fully. Always remember that you are in a natural environment and you might run across animals who call the park home.
When visiting Pedernales Falls State Park, it’s important to keep this reminder from Texas Parks & Wildlife in mind: “The Pedernales River running through the park can flash flood with little or no warning. The water in the river can rise from a placid stream to a raging torrent in a few minutes. If you are in the river area and notice the water beginning to rise, you should leave the river area immediately. Flash flooding is a common phenomenon in the Texas Hill Country, and park visitors are encouraged to be alert to weather conditions.”
The park offers a variety of educational opportunities. There is a calendar of upcoming events and you can contact the park for special tours. We didn’t check one out, but the park has Junior Ranger Explorer Packs available for free.
Please note that the park will be closed to the public the following upcoming dates for wildlife management activities:
Monday December 2 at 8 a.m. until Friday December 6 at 8 a.m.
Monday December 16 at 8 a.m. until Friday December 20 at 8 a.m.
Monday January 6 at 8 a.m. until Friday January 10, 2014, at 8 a.m.

Wimberley’s Blue Hole is the perfect summer swimming spot, with cool, clear water shaded by huge cypress trees. The swimming hole is part of 126 acres of parkland along Cypress Creek preserved and beautified by the City of Wimberley along with many other partners and volunteers.

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Blue Hole is located on Blue Hole Lane and there is plentiful free parking. Wristbands are sold from the office pictured below. Admission fees are: kids 0-3 free, ages 4-12 $4, ages 13-59 $8, and 60+ $4.

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We took a short, gently sloping walkway down to Cypress Creek.

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The boys couldn’t wait to jump in!

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As you can see, the water’s so clear my son’s feet are visible. We entered the creek in a shallow area where many younger children were playing.

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Blue Hole was a like an oasis from the hot Texas sun. The water was very refreshing.

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This tree stump was popular with kids of all ages, especially because the water is pretty deep here.

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My son had fun on the rope swings.

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When it was time to rest and have a snack, we went to the beautiful lawn and relaxed in the shade.

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There are a few picnic tables but they were all occupied when we arrived. Just take along a picnic blanket or camping chairs and you’ll be all set. While you can bring in your own food and drinks, glass is prohibited.

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A master plan for Blue Hole Regional Park was approved by the Wimberley City Council in 2007. The thoughtful planning process is demonstrated in the beautiful facilities……

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…..and extra details like this inviting scenic overlook.

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In addition to the remarkable swimming hole, Blue Hole Regional Park also has a playscape, trails, basketball court, volleyball court, and athletic fields.

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THE RUNDOWN:
Austin Active Kids Opinion: Just about the most perfect swimming hole you can imagine!
Outing Time: About a 45-minute to 1-hour drive from Austin in no traffic. We spent two hours there but easily could have spent the whole day.
Reminders: There are many volunteers supporting the operations of Blue Hole Regional Park but there aren’t any lifeguards on duty. Remember to pack swimming supports for children who need them and bigger kids (and parents) would probably enjoy having floats to relax on, too! Also pack sunscreen, picnic blanket or chairs, snacks or lunch, and drinks. With your wristband, you can leave and come back until Blue Hole closes for the day. Click here for hours and admission fees.
Free Fun in Austin visited Blue Hole earlier this summer and you can read more from CultureMap, Austin360.com, and Texas Highways. If you’d like to make some other stops while you are in Wimberley, other attractions to consider are: Jacob’s Well Natural Area, Cypress Creek Nature Trail Park, scenic and historic downtown district, the cowboy museum or a drive along River Road.

If you’re ready for an all-day adventure, plan a visit to Waco’s Cameron Park Zoo and Mayborn Museum Complex. Cameron Park Zoo, located at 1701 North 4th Street, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.

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Every detail has been planned out at the 52-acre natural habitat zoo, from the beautiful animal enclosures to this colorful shade canopy.

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We loved watching the Galapagos tortoise, who was staying cool in the mud.

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Kids can stay cool, too, with this small splash pad and shaded treehouse playscape.

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Don’t miss the huge Brazos River Country exhibit! You might not be able to tell by the entrance but this leads to a substantial section of the zoo.

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The boys loved the aquarium.

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The alligators were just “hanging out.”

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Farther along, we saw these Huaco (or Hueco or Waco) Indian huts.

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Don’t miss this exhibit as you walk along: the Brazos at Night!

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Next was the bison exhibit, a display reflecting the Brazos River through the High Plains/Cap Rock area. In addition to viewing buffalo in the exhibit, we also saw a teepee and informative sign describing how different parts of the bison animal were used by nomadic Native American tribes.

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Next we went to the Herpetarium, where a rattlesnake appeared to be watching us closely.

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We were running out of fuel after all of our exploring, so we stopped at the Treetops Cafe for a snack and drink. Just past the cafe, we saw this friendly giraffe, who was practically posing for the camera.

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As you can see, the giraffe has room to wander!

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There is a lot of helpful and educational information at the Cameron Park Zoo.

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The elephant was very majestic.

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We saved the best for last: Mysteries of the Asian Forest!

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Here’s the Sumatran Tiger.

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We loved the Komodo Dragon!

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The kids were enchanted by these chimes you could stomp on at Jungle Jim’s Playground.

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We drove a short distance east on University Parks Drive to the Mayborn Museum Complex (1300 S. University Parks Drive). I had heard so many fantastic reviews about the museum that it seemed impossible the facility could meet our expectations.

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Not to fear! This amazing place is like visiting three museums in one: a natural history museum, a historic village, and a children’s museum. We started our adventure at Strecker’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

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Check out this huge whale skull…..

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….and this 75 million year old marine turtle fossil!

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The walk-in diorama of the Waco Mammoth site, where a herd of Columbian mammoths was trapped and buried about 65,000 years ago, was very impressive. It featured an educational video about the site as well as a plaster replica of the excavation under your feet.

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This is the exploration station for archaeology.

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We all were pretty interested in the cross-section of a Huaco Indian hut. Unfortunately, my picture of the inside did not turn out so you will just have to go see it for yourself!

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We went outside to the graceful back porch of the museum. The kids ran full-speed ahead to check out the unique buildings in the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village.

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The village is made up of nine wood-frame buildings that represent life in an 1890s community. The buildings were moved from Liberty, Texas, in 1986. The kids were thoroughly fascinated by this water pump and the church bell.

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The commissary was of particular interest, with lots of goods on display typical for a rural general store.

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The kids ran back into the museum through this hallway with a musical soundscape. We couldn’t wait to explore!

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There are 17 discovery rooms, all with different themes.

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This friendly guy was in the vertebrates room.

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Next, we went to the communication room.

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The transportation room was a favorite!

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And so was the energy room!

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In each room, you will find descriptive information.

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The water and bubbles room was an absolute favorite! I think the kids could have stayed at the water table all day.

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Creating the human-size bubble took patience and skill.

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A foot-friendly piano was in the sound room…..

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…..and so were these classic tube telephones.

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DJ Mixmaster B is in the house!

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The simple machines room was really a hit. This display shows how pulleys work.

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Also in this room, the kids found blocks to create a catenary arch. Teamwork saved the day!

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More fun in the simple machines room.

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In addition to the above, there are also discovery rooms for TV News and Weather, Health, Native Americans, Pioneers, Recycling, People of the World, Optics and Aunt Blanche’s Tea Room. As if that’s not enough, there’s also a massive train set!

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Through September 2, 2013, the museum features a special exhibit: Goosebumps, The Science of Fear. The kids had a blast scaring themselves silly.

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THE RUNDOWN:
Austin Active Kids Opinion: These two Waco wonders are well-worth the drive up I-35!
Outing Time: About 2 1/2 hours at Cameron Park Zoo and 3 hours at Mayborn Museum Complex. We spent 2 hours each way on I-35 (in no traffic) driving from Austin.
Reminders: We arrived at the zoo around 11 a.m. and the museum around 2 p.m. We definitely could have spent more time at either place! Cameron Park Zoo fees are $9 for age 13+, $6 for kids 4-12, FREE for children 3 years and under, and $8 for age 60+. Here’s the full schedule of Mayborn Museum Complex fees. With the traveling exhibit included, the cost for me and two boys was $20 total. The Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Historic Village hours of operation are slightly different from the main museum’s. The Mayborn Museum Complex is located on the Baylor University campus so check before you go for any upcoming special events (like football games) that will cause traffic jams. Here are links to maps of the Cameron Park Zoo and the Mayborn Museum Complex. Both facilities have gift shops.
Take along a change of clothes and towels if you think your kids won’t be able to pass up getting soaked in the splash pad at Cameron Park Zoo. It’s also a good idea to bring along sunscreen, water, and snacks.
If you have time to spare, you might be interested in these Waco attractions: Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Dr. Pepper Museum, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco Mammoth Site, and Cameron Park (the park totals 400 acres and has much to offer in addition to the 52-acre zoo).

Visiting Landa Park in New Braunfels isn’t just a day trip…..it’s a “stay all day” trip! This historic 196-acre park provides an array of fun options for families and features beautiful Comal Springs, the largest group of natural springs in Texas, and 14-acre Landa Lake. We arrived around 11:30 a.m. and decided to start at the playground. This playscape is for younger children.

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Not many children can pass up playground equipment disguised as a fire truck.

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There are two playscapes for older kids.

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This one had had a lot of opportunities for climbing.

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My 11-year-old son thought the zip line was a blast.

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After eating our picnic lunch, we walked toward Landa Park Aquatics Complex. The kids were immediately attracted to the beautiful Comal River, which is the shortest navigable river in Texas, traveling only 2 miles before joining the Guadalupe River.

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We crossed Landa Park Drive and the boys went back to the river again. This time, to hunt for crawdads.

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Mission accomplished.

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Now we were ready to go swimming! The Landa Park Aquatic Complex (350 Aquatic Circle New Braunfels, TX 78130) has something for everyone: a springfed pool, a zero depth pool, and an olympic pool. The bathhouse facility has restrooms, changing rooms, and showers. The complex is only open during the summer season. Hours are 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. (except Saturdays when the pools open at 10 a.m.) and fees are $4 for adults and $3 for kids age 3 and up. Hours can vary so check the schedule before you go. (For example, the olympic pool is closed on Mondays and the spring fed pool is closed on Tuesdays.) Read all the details for Landa Park Aquatics Complex here.

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Closest to the entrance is a pool for young kids. The maximum depth is 2.5 feet.

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Older kids will want to dive into Coach E.E. “Bud” Dallman Olympic Pool, with depths ranging from 4 feet – 7 feet.

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In our opinion the “star” of the Landa Park Aquatics Complex is the natural pool fed by Comal Springs. The water stays 72 degrees year round. Built in the early 1900s, it is one of the oldest and most historic bathing pools in Texas, with depths up to 9 feet. This pool is a “natural aquatic environment,” meaning algae and aquatic life like fish are present.

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Here’s the shallow end, where many young children (including my 7-year-old son) were having a blast.

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This is the Wet Willie slide. It was closed for most of our visit but it looks pretty exciting!

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Many older kids enjoyed climbing up this rope to the cargo net.

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My 11-year-old son loved the zip line, which has a 54-inch height requirement.

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There’s also a rope swing and a shaded playground.

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After we were thoroughly chilled by the cool waters of the Comal, we headed to the train depot for ice cream and train tickets.

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The train ride was a steal at $2.50 per person. After riding the train, we had a better idea of what we wanted to see next in the park: the wading pool.

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We walked west on Landa Park Drive toward the wading pool. We saw this lovely creek and many friendly ducks and geese. (The train depot has duck food for 50 cents per bag.)

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We walked north and crossed a little bridge. Looking out from the fishing pier, we could see the paddle boats.

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Landa Lake was really gorgeous. As you can see, swimming and tubing are not allowed here, as the area is environmentally sensitive.

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The wading pool is located right off of Landa Park Drive in the southwest section of the park. The water is cold! My kids could not resist getting wet (again). While the words “wading pool” might make you think of ankle-deep water, the water is closer to waist-high for most kids. The wading pool does not have lifeguards.

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Now that we had cooled off a little, we explored the park some more. We found a tree that was perfect for climbing.

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This neighboring cypress tree was pretty impressive.

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To top it off, a little spring was running near the roots!

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From 1756-1758, a Spanish mission was located in the area. The historical marker led us to quite a sight…..

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After walking all the way to the marker, we came upon this beautiful spring-fed creek.

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A gazebo provided a scenic spot to view Landa Lake. The gazebo is slated for repair as part of the Landa Park River Front Rehabilitation Project.

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We were running on empty after all of our adventures but my son still wanted to take the time to say “goodbye” to his new friends before we left.

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THE RUNDOWN:

Austin Active Kids Opinion: Run…don’t walk…to your calendar and plan a day trip to Landa Park!

Outing Time: About 6 hours at Landa Park plus driving time (45 minutes – 1 hour) to and from New Braunfels. We easily could have stayed longer and taken advantage of the mini golf or paddle boats.

Outing Distance: Less than one mile walking around the playground area and the river.

Reminders: Click here for driving directions to Landa Park from Austin. Even if you get off course, the City of New Braunfels has numerous directional signs to area attractions like Landa Park. It’s probably a good idea to bring this park map or have it easily accessible on your phone.

If the Landa Park Aquatic Complex parking lot is full, you can find parking spots throughout the park including near the playground and by the wading pool.

For the aquatic complex, visitors are allowed to bring in their own food, drink, and coolers as long as no glass, styrofoam or alcohol is brought. Lawn chairs and folding tables are allowed as long as they are not staked to the ground and do not impede a walkway/public access point. No canopy tents except by city permit. Remember that the aquatic complex is only open during the summer season. If you have any questions about pool hours, just call the aquatic complex at 830-221-4360.

For your day trip, you should plan to bring: water, other drinks, snacks, picnic lunch or dinner, hats, sunscreen, floats, swimming supports (like lifejackets for kids still developing swimming skills), change of clothes, swimsuits, and towels. Camping chairs could be useful, too.

You might want to pack your items in different bags (pool bag and picnic bag) so you aren’t carrying one huge bag around the whole time. We started out with our picnic in the park. Then, we traded out our picnic bag for the pool bag before “downsizing” to the backpack for the train ride and walking around.

In addition to the train ride and paddleboats, Landa Park also has miniature golf. Click here for the hours and fees for all of these Landa Park attractions.

Around the playground, we saw many signs stating that some picnic table sections can be used by reservation only. The City of New Braunfels web site mentions that individual picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis and that park rangers will come by to collect a $10 fee. We did not encounter park staff at the playground and were not asked to pay this fee but you should be aware that is their stated policy.

Here are some other takes on visiting Landa Park from Free Fun in Austin and R We There Yet Mom?