Looking ahead to the summer: My top 5 things to do with kids in Austin


There’s a lot of family activities to do this summer. Here are my Top 5 things we’re looking forward to this year:

1. Spend the day at Barton Springs Pool, then head over to Zilker Hillside Theater for the Zilker Summer Musical. This year “Shrek: The Musical” takes the stage Thursdays through Sundays at dusk July 8-Aug. 13. It’s free, but donations are appreciated. zilker.org

Explore pollinators and other creatures during Wildflower Center's Nature Nights.
Explore pollinators and other creatures during Wildflower Center’s Nature Nights.

2. Explore nature at the Wildflower Center for Nature Nights. The free weekly program explores a different topic 6-9 p.m. each Thursday night, beginning June 9. Learn about the power of fire from the Austin Fire Department and Texas A&M Forestry Service on June 9; understand the lifecycles of plants and animals, June 16; discover po;linationators like bees and butterflies, June 23, and meet predators like birds of prey and snakes, June 30. Wildflower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave. wildflower.org

3. When the weather heats up, head indoors to the movie theater for low-cost family-friendly movies. The Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp is happening daily with a different movie at each theater each week. Reserve tickets for $1-$3 donation online. drafthouse.com. Regal Summer Movie Express happens 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Westgate Stadium 11. Tickets are $1 and movies run June 9-Aug. 3. regmovies.com/movies/summer-movie-express. Cinemark Summer Movie Clubhouse offer $1 movies Monday through Thursdays at Round Rock 8 and Cedar Park, 6-Aug. 11. cinemark.com/summer-movie-clubhouse

4. Hear the symphony at work. Children’s Day Art Park happens 9:30 a.m. every Wednesday, June 8-July 27, at Symphony Square Amphitheatre, 1101 Red River St. It’s 50 cents a kid, but you get to hear local musicians Sara Hickman, Beto and the Fairlanes, The Hey Lollies, Joe McDermott, the Flying Balalaika Brothers, Mr. Will Music and Staci Gray. You also can make art, and touch and try musical instruments. You also can see the symphony for its annual July 4 concert and fireworks begining at 8:30 p.m. at Auditorium Shores and 7:30 p.m. every Sunday at the Long Center City Terrace for the Hartman Foundation Concerts in the Park, June 5-Aug. 28. www.austinsymphony.org

5. Try a new-to-you museum. Sometimes we get stuck in the rut between the Thinkery and the Bullock Museum — both great, and if you haven’t been to

Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton's WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle. Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman
Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton’s WorkLab on in 2014. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle.
Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman

either, what are you waiting for? But if you’ve been a thousand times, try something new. Head to the Blanton Museum for their 3ft Deep art program for ages 3-5, Tuesdays, June 14-28; Artists and Authors for ages 5-8, Thursdays, June 16-30; and Deeper Dives for ages 8-12, Fridays, June 17-22; or play in the WorkLab, Wednesdays June 15-27. blantonmuseum.org. Go to the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, which now has Kids Kraft program on Saturday afternoons for kids kindergarten through second grade, or the Family Day on June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14. umlaufsculpture.org. Hit Contemporary Austin’s Laguna Gloria for Families Create! Saturdays on June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13. thecontemporaryaustin.org. Farther afield, explore science at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology in Cedar Park and the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City. TXMOST has the Genesis exhibit its unpacking with many dinosaurs as well as a planetarium. txmost.org. Hill Country Science Mill lets you create an avatar as you become a scientist. sciencemill.org

And for adults, the Austin360 team is putting together a Camp Austin360 guidebook filled with adult fun to have in Austin.  You can earn the Camp Austin360 badge and have a whole lot of fun getting to know your city better.

Look for the guide May 27 and online at austin360.com.

Author: Nicole Villalpando

Nicole Villalpando writes about families in the Raising Austin blog and the Raising Austin column on Saturdays. She also offers a weekly and monthly family calendar at austin360.com/raisingaustin. She tweets at @raisingaustin.

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