I’m a career nanny in Austin, TX, currently with the same family for five years now. As my little guy is constantly growing and changing interests, I’m always looking for fun and exciting outdoor budget-friendly activities in the area!
Mueller Lake Park and the surrounding area is at the top of my list for kid-friendly Austin adventures! (It’s great for adults and visitors too!) The best part about the area is that you could go for a quick picnic or spend the entire day there!
Before heading out, I pack a backpack with the essentials - sunscreen, water, snacks, DIY scavenger hunt, picnic blanket, bike, helmet, mini first aid, wipes, duck food (since bread is not safe to feed ducks, we usually bring lettuce or sliced grapes).
A nature scavenger hunt that we check off while at the park and then can color in when we get home
Another nature hunt, where we collect the items or take pictures with them. For more easy, educational ideas, check out my nanny Instagram: @your_virtual_nanny
Our first stop is Mueller Lake Park because there’s so much to do within the 30 acres! The park itself is absolutely gorgeous with a huge lake surrounded by paved, stroller-friendly paths. The park is picturesque with lush greenery, wildlife, covered picnic areas, an amphitheater and a playground. We like to start the day by biking around the lake.
While biking, we make some pit stops along the way to feed the birds and ducks, run around the wide open grassy area, pick flowers and count turtles balancing on logs in the lake.
Once Jack (name changed for privacy) has biked up an appetite, we walk over to our favorite restaurant, Bao’d Up. The Mueller area is great because there’s so much food within walking distance - Halcyon Coffee, Lick Ice Cream, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Lady Quackenbush’s Bakery, a food trailer park and a handful of beautiful, upscale restaurants. We take the bao and a bubble tea (for me) to go and head back over to the park where we set up our picnic blanket.
Don’t forget to get a dessert bao and extra to bring home and freeze!
After lunch we head over to The Thinkery, an incredible two-story indoor children’s museum that can entertain little ones for hours! There are so many interactive, educational exhibits that are great for any age. Our favorite spot is the Light Lab, which is a dark room with many different sized light blocks. If you loved Light Bright as a kid, this might be your favorite exhibit too! If you have a younger child, I’d recommend checking out Baby Boomers, which is when the museum only allows 0-3 year olds. We loved going when Jack was younger because he could crawl around and play without having to compete with the big kids.
The Thinkery is CLOSED on Mondays. Saturdays 8-10AM is Baby Boomers (ages 0-3).Tickets are $14 for non-members ages 2+, free for 0-2. Be sure to check their website for updates.
If you’re coming on Sunday, I recommend stopping by the farmers market (10-2PM). There’s both indoor and outdoor vendors with wonderful local food, flowers, produce, art, dog treats and so much more!
After a busy day in Mueller, we pack up the car and head home so we can rest and recharge for our next adventure! Join us on our next trip by following @youratxnanny on Instagram. If you’re interested in easy DIY learning activities such as my scavenger hunts, check out @your_virtual_nanny!
HOW TO: Mueller Lake Park
TO DO BEFORE YOU GO:
No reservations needed! You'll need to purchase tickets for the Thinkery but you can do so right when you get there!
Backpack that fits: sunscreen, bugspray, picnic blanket, water, mini first aid, duck food (NOT bread, sliced grapes, lettuce, oats).
I make a scavenger hunt drawing - usually 12 items and they check off or color in what they see. For example, something red, something smaller than your hand, the letter C. Water WOW coloring pages are great because you just use water pens so no mess. Animal figurines or cars. When all else fails, iPad.
We wait to eat until we are at Mueller Park because there are many fun places for coffee and lunch! Our favorite spot to eat is Bao'd Up or Kerbey Lane and Halcyon for coffee and a snack.
Free parking as well as paid garages (a lot of businesses will validate).
BONUS – ADVENTURE STAPLES:
First Aid Kit, snacks/water, face wipes, Melissa & Doug Water WOW coloring pages, natural motion-sickness patches, iPad with headphones, window stickers, DIY scavenger hunt, sunscreen, bugspray, extra change of clothes. I keep a box of secret tiny toys like animal figurines so if kiddo is getting bored, I can "surprise" him with something "new."
This incredible article was written by Alicia DiMatteo. You can find more helpful adventure tips and tricks on Alicia's Instagram (@youratxnanny)