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Fun Activities for Kids

Things to do with Little Ones in Austin

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Austin has experienced a population boom in recent years, and with that has come a baby boom of sorts. Just stroll down South Congress Avenue any weekend and you’ll see dads clad in Baby Bjorns, moms pushing Ergo strollers and 5-year-olds in the hottest new Converse styles. It’s never been hipper to be a kid – or to have a kid – in Austin. And if you’re trying to do it on a budget, you’re in luck, because there are loads of places that will welcome your family for little or no charge.

The Expedition School

Expedition School
There’s no better way to see Austin than from the top of a paddle board on downtown’s Lady Bird Lake on a dewy, beautiful morning. And thanks to the Expedition School, children and teens can take a two-hour lesson for just $25. If you don’t know what paddle boarding is, think kayaking meets surfing. And don’t worry about falling in – everyone wears a personal floatation device. The school also organizes birthday parties, spring break trips, summer camps and youth expeditions. Lessons meet at the Camacho Center, 34 Robert T. Martinez Jr. St.; (512) 626-6282; www.expeditionschool.com

Capital Gymnastics

Shake, rattle and roll! Miniature tumblers will feel right at home at Capital Gymnastics, which offers options for everyone from walking babies to teenagers. The best part? The $58 a month fee is far less than the local average, and you can take a free trial class before you commit. A Mom’s Day Out program, cheer classes, an after-school program and program targeted at home-schooled students are also available. Three Austin area locations; (512) 251-2439; http://capgym.com

Zachery Scott Theater

Long known as one of the best professional theaters in Austin, this local gem also has a fantastic program available for kids. The year-round Performing Arts School offers a variety of options for aspiring actors, including classes, camps and age-appropriate shows. Hour-long classes for all ages are offered in spring, summer and fall sessions and cost about $15 a class. Not sure if you’re little one is ready for a full session? Get tickets to one of the theater’s frequent family-centered shows and see how that goes over. Group and student discounts are available online. 1510 Toomey Rd.; (512) 476-0541; www.zachtheatre.org

Austin Nature Center

Ever wanted to discover dinosaurs, learn about the stars or cultivate your own green thumb? At the Austin Nature Center, a variety of camps and classes are available to young explorers and naturalists from ages 4 up. Most of the camps are offered in the summer, although special events are held throughout the year. Camp prices are affordable, and scholarship application available. Volunteer opportunities are also available to those 14 and up. 301 Nature Center Dr.; (512) 974-3888; www.ci.austin.tx.us/ansc/

Alamo Drafthouse

Does your family love to catch flicks? On the last Saturday of every month, the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, the Austin Chronicle, Ain’t It Cool News and Big Brothers Big Sisters host free screenings of classic, kid-appropriate films, complete with exciting prizes from beloved toy retailer Toy Joy. Recent screenings have included Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Valley of Gwangi and the Little Mermaid. In the summer, the fun amps up even more with free summer camp screenings every Monday through Thursday at both the Lamar location and the Alamo Village location. You’re going to love it! 1120 S. Lamar Boulevard; (512) 707-8262; www.originalalamo.com
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