2001 Kids' Summer Fun Guide

Austin Zoo
Austin Zoo (Photo By John Anderson)

Think Like the Animals: Fun Furry Places to Take Kids

Austin Zoo

10807 Rawhide Trail, 288-1490

Although most of the Austin Zoocademy sessions are filled for the summer, there's still plenty to see and do at Austin's premier zoo. In addition to the big three (lions-tigers-bears), the zoo features capybara, baboon, kinkajou, marmoset, coati mundi, and even New Guinea singing dogs! Don't miss the milking in the dairy barn (11am) and the relaxing little train ride.

J&M Aviaries

8647 Hwy. 290 W., 288-2199

Not just for feathered friends, J&M also boasts quite a lineup of lemur, llama, and monkey. There are also plenty of volunteer opportunities for kids during the summer.

White Egret Farms

East Austin, 276-7408

This fully operational goat farm (mmmmmm, goaaaat cheeeeese!) also features pigs, cattle, turkeys. Call ahead for info and volunteer opportunities. To get there, take MLK (Webberville Rd./FM 969) east from I-35, cross Hwy. 183, and continue east for 6.6 miles. Turn left at the big purple and white sign.

Dog Parks

NW corner of Riverside & I-35; Pease Park, 24th & Lamar

Contained canine environments where owner and pet can enjoy leash-free freedom are great places to see axioms like "Can't we all just get along?" in action. Sure, there's the occasional dogpile and growl fest, but, hey, that's life.

Noah's Land
Noah's Land (Photo By John Anderson)

Humane Society/Town Lake Animal Center

124 W. Anderson, 837-7985/1156 W. Cesar Chavez, 708-6000

Let these places be a lesson to Junior about the horrors of incarceration. That, or pick a pooch or kitty to love and call your own. The lessons about commitment and responsibility begin once Fifi wee-wees all over your kid's Playstation.

The Bats, Of Course

Congress Avenue Bridge

You know all about the best seats in the house to see the nightly flight of Austin's resident Mexican Free-tail bats, but do you know the best seats to hear them? Standing room only, under the bridge. Bats click and clack and flit and flee every evening before their long night's journey.

Noah's Land

Harwood, 830/540-4664

Noah's Land lives up to its heady title. With over 400 animals from over 50 species from all over the globe, including impala, giraffe, camel, bear, aoudad, emu, and tigers, tigers, tigers, this big-hearted wilderness park is a de facto refuge for animals abandoned by the dummies who took them in as pets. This terrific day trip, with its petting zoo and 400-acre drive-through safari, is one the kids will never forget.

Austin Nature Center

301 Nature Center (in Zilker Park off Stratford), 327-8181

Austin's truly interactive nature center has volunteer opportunities and summer camps for all ages, or just drop by Mon-Sat from 9am-5pm or Sunday noon-5pm. The focus is native Central Texas flora and fauna, including more than 90 native Texan beasts, like Rufus the Racoon and Bogart the Bobcat.

Snake Farm

5640 I-35 S., New Braunfels, 830/608-9270

More than 500 reptiles slither, but, hey, this joint's not just for the cold-blooded. Monkeys, birds, llamas, and Texas Longhorns represent for the warmer blooded beasts. Open daily during summer 10am-7pm; closed Tuesdays.

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