There are many amazing and fun things to do in Texas with kids from dinosaur attractions to wildlife safari parks and from river tubing to the Space Center.
In fact, the abundance of kid-friendly activities is one of our favorite parts of living in Texas.
The Lone Star State is simply perfect for planning a family vacation with the kids.
On a visit, kids of all ages can enjoy a wide range of activities from roller coasters to building sandcastles.
On a visit to Texas, kids can see the butterflies and spot shorebirds or beach comb for shark teeth or learn history at the State Capitol.
Also Read: Best beaches to visit in Texas
Families can enjoy produce picking or biking or hiking or even floating down the many rivers in Texas.
And then there are the amazing Texas coastal towns – spend a day building sandcastles or swimming in the Gulf of Mexico.
Have dinosaur crazy kids?
In Texas, you can see dinosaur skeletons, walk in their footsteps, see animatronic dinosaurs roar and move, and even go digging for dinosaur fossils!
Or the visit the amazing dinosaur museums in Texas for a fun time.
Explore the best places in Texas to visit with kids now.
Also Read: Ultimate Texas Road Trip Itinerary
Best Things to do in Texas with Kids
Here are our favorite activities to do in Texas with kids to add to your bucket list.
From zoos and museums to parks and beaches, plan your next family vacation to Texas to these fun places.
Meet an astronaut at the Johnson Space Center
Johnson Space Center, Houston is one of our favorite places to visit in Texas with the kids.
Located half an hour’s drive away from the city, the Space Museum is a must-visit for those who love aerospace, rockets and space crafts, and science.
The gigantic educational complex has over 400 space exhibits and artifacts.
Kids can look at the different collections, touch moon rocks and soil samples brought from the moon’s surface, see real astronaut uniforms used in previous space programs, tour the Mission Control room of the International Space Station, and learn about astronaut training.
The Space Center has several other space related exhibits, attractions, and educational programs dedicated to encouraging STEM education and offers many hands-on activities for the entire family.
Also Read: Best Things to do in Houston, Texas
Take a boat cruise on the San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk is one of the best places to visit in Texas.
The river walk’s colorful sites and sounds enthrall kids of all ages.
There are many thing to do on the river walk with kids including Legoland, boat cruises, Rainforest Cafe, and ice creams!
Explore the caves at Natural Bridge Caverns
The Natural Bridge Caverns, located near San Antonio, offers thrilling cave tours, spectacular limestone formations, as well as bat flights!
The caverns are popularly known as the ‘largest underground attraction’ in Texas and are definitely worth visiting with kids.
While kids of all ages appreciate the many attractions at Natural Bridge Caverns, preteens and teens especially love the guided cave tours.
They can descend into the cave systems and see stalactites, stalagmites, flowstones, and other formations.
For more fun, you can opt for the Adventure tour which involves crawling and scrambling through narrow passages – this is a hit with adventure loving kids.
The attraction grounds also has zip-lining, rope courses, and mining for gems and fossils.
The adjacent Natural Bridge Wildlife Safari is also good to visit while in San Antonio.
Here’s what you need to know before planning a visit: the temperature inside is significantly lower and you should take jackets and dress in layers.
Also, Natural Bridge may not be ideal for babies and toddlers as it can get dark, scary, and quite humid inside the caverns.
Also Read: Best Bat Caves in Texas
Enjoy a play date at the Children’s Museum of Houston
The Children’s Museum of Houston is a great place to take younger children.
Here you will find a variety of hands on kids activities including play grocery store, play cities, giant blocks, fossil dig pits, and more to keep the kids occupied for hours.
Find interactive exhibits spanning science, math, social studies, languages, and more in the Houston museum.
The museum is located in the Museum District near the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Cockrell Butterfly Center, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Health Museum, and more.
Also Read: One Day in Houston Itinerary
Spend a day on the beach at South Padre Island
The beach town of South Padre Island offers the ultimate beach vacation for the family.
Tourist attractions on the island include beach combing, building sand castles, kayaking trails, birding, horseback riding, and more.
The island is also awesome for learning about nature and wildlife.
You can take an eco friendly cruise to spot dolphins and other marine life. Other opportunities include learning about sea turtles and seeing rescued alligators.
Also Read: 14 Charming Beach Towns in Texas
Visit the Dallas World Aquarium
The Dallas World Aquarium is a great place to visit if you’re looking for an educational and entertaining day out.
The aquarium has more than 500 animals, with fish, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and mammals on display in one of the world’s largest freshwater tanks.
There is also an underwater tunnel where guests can watch sharks swim overhead or catch a glimpse of sea turtles swimming past them!
The Dallas World Aquarium offers special attractions for kids too – most notably the interactive Stingray Bay exhibit which allows children to touch these fascinating creatures while learning about their habits and habitats.
See dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park
Have dinosaur crazy kids?
Take them to Dinosaur Valley State Park where they can see a giant sculpture of T-Rex or spot real dinosaur footprints and even step inside one!
The footprints of these giant reptiles that once walked the earth are located in the Paluxy riverbed.
Visitors can hike through the knee-deep water to see the dinosaur tracks, making it especially popular in the hot summer months.
Dinosaur Valley State Park is located an hour’s drive from Dallas near Glen Rose, Texas.
Apart from the footprints, the park also offers a wide range of activities including swimming holes, camping, and biking.
You can have a picnic on the river banks while taking in the attractions and the scenery.
The park offers ranger programs as well as dinosaur themed activities for kids.
The nearby Dinosaur World in Glen Rose is also a must visit while in the area.
Understand the history of Texas at the Alamo
There is no better place to introduce kids to the history of Texas than at the Alamo Mission in San Antonio.
This is one of the best historical sites in Texas and the sight of the famous Battle of the Alamo.
This was the pivotal event in the Texas Revolution.
The Alamo is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.
Entry to the Alamo in San Antonio is free for all visitors.
Once inside, you can pay respects to those who died in the battle, learn more about the significant event, visit the chapel, and tour the museum.
Inside the museum, you can see many artifacts and exhibits including weaponry, paintings, flags, and more.
There is also a gift shop where you can purchase Alamo-related merchandise and souvenirs.
Also Read: Christmas in San Antonio, Texas
Ride the roller coasters at Kemah Boardwalk
The Kemah Boardwalk is one of the best amusement parks in Texas.
Located on the Texas Gulf Coast, Kemah makes an excellent day trip for Houston area families.
Kemah offers beautiful waterfront views of the Galveston Bay as well as an exciting array of rides, video games, and other attractions.
But the best part? Entry to the boardwalk is free and visitors just have to pay for individual attractions.
Kids love riding the boardwalk Buller, a high-speed wooden roller coaster – one of its kind in Texas!
You will also find boat rides, Ferris wheels, and carousel at the boardwalk amusement park.
Along with the amusement rides, Kemah Boardwalk also has several shops and restaurants.
One of our favorites is the Aquarium where you can dine around marine life in gigantic fish tanks.
The marina has many other opportunities for entertainment that will appeal to all ages.
Families can attend live music events at the boardwalk or attend one of their themed festivals that take place throughout the year.
Kemah, undoubtedly, makes one of the best family vacations in Texas!
Also Read: 16 Best family-friendly beach vacations in Texas
Attend the famous Houston Rodeo
When in Texas, you rodeo!
The Houston Rodeo is one of the best in the country.
It has an exciting lineup of events, concerts, and even family-based attractions.
From the Houston Downtown Rodeo Parade to the cookouts, there is something happening every day at the Houston Rodeo.
The rodeo is a great chance to learn about western / cowboy traditions in Texas.
But kids can participate in the fun themselves at Mutton Bustin’ – where kids between ages of 5 and 6 can compete to ride sheep!
This is one of our favorites things to do with kids in Texas!
The Houston Rodeo is also one of the biggest livestock shows in the world and a great place to interact with different animals.
The rodeo also has a petting zoo for kids, an area where they can see miniature animals, as well as educational opportunities such as cow milking demonstration.
There are many other family fun attractions at the Rodeo including carnival rides, kid friendly food stalls, games, and animal events.
Enjoy a float trip down the Guadalupe River
Did you know that Texas has several rivers for floating and all of them are just perfect for the summer?
Our favorite is the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels in the Texas Hill Country.
This is a fun and relaxing activity to do with older kids and teens.
You can float down the river on a rubber tube and admire the surroundings.
Even younger kids (older than 5) can share a tube with their parents and participate in the excitement of floating down the river.
Just make sure the company you’re renting your gear from offers tubes with ‘floors’ where you can seat the little ones.
You can also tie the children’s tubes to yours for safety.
Various companies provide tubing services for floating down the Guadalupe River.
Some of the most popular ones are Rockin ‘R’ River Rides, Tube Haus, Seguin Tubing, River Sports Tubes, and Whitewater Sports Tubing.
They all also offer shuttle services.
The longer floats take 3 to 6 hours while a short float can be completed in under an hour.
Also Read: Best Things to do in the Texas Hill Country
See the animals at the Houston Zoo
The Houston Zoo, located in Hermann Park, is one of our favorite places to visit with kids in Texas.
At the zoo, youngsters can see a variety of animals, birds, aquatic animals, reptiles, as well as explore the local fauna.
Kids love seeing the lions, monkeys, rhinos, birds, elephants, as well as reptiles.
The zoo is also home to some exotic animals, such as komodo dragons, orangutans, and white-faced Saki monkeys that will certainly amaze both babies and teens.
Kids also love feeding the giraffes.
The zoo also hosts special exhibits and events throughout the year including animatronic dinosaurs and holiday lights.
There are several other kid-friendly attractions inside and around the zoo including splash pads, paddle boats, a toy train ride, etc.
Admire the Texas State Capitol in Austin
The Texas State Capitol, located in downtown Austin, is an essential place to visit in the state.
This is perfect to introduce kids to the state’s history, government, and legislature.
Completed in 1888, the state capitol is an iconic building and on the National Register of Historic Places.
The huge 3-storied domed structure is over 300 feet tall and incredibly majestic.
On a visit, adults and kids alike can admire the building’s Renaissance Revival style of architecture.
The State Capitol offers free guided tours for visitors on weekdays.
We highly recommend taking this tour to learn about the building and its importance.
On the tour, you can also see many paintings and sculptures as well as the whispering gallery in the rotunda.
The capitol grounds are also worth exploring.
The park near the entrance has many monuments dedicated to the history of Texas including the Heroes of the Alamo monument.
Other area attractions such as peaceful trails around Lady Bird Lake, Barton Springs hot springs swimming pool, and peacocks at Mayfield Park are also great things to do in Austin, Texas with kids.
Visit the State Fair of Texas in Dallas
Deep-Fried Soda? Pumpkin Pie? Eating giant flags and corn on the cob?
These are just some of the curiosities visitors can find at the State Fair of Texas!
You will love this place, and your kids will too!
The annual Texas Fair is one of the biggest fairs in the country, so there is something any goer will enjoy.
It is definitely one of the top things to do in Texas with kids.
Visit a dude ranch in Bandera
Bandera, Texas is known as the Cowboy Capital of the World.
This is a great place to enjoy cowboy culture, learn horse riding, and have a fun filled family getaway in Texas.
Admire the nature at Big Bend
Big Bend National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in America.
The park has spectacular desert scenery and a dark night sky.
It also has many hiking trails for all difficulty levels.
Take the kids on the paved trails around the park, drive the scenic drive, and search for fossils in Big Bend.
The national park also has a Junior Ranger program for kids.
Also Read: Best national parks in Texas
Enjoy the thrilling rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Did you know that the famous Six Flags amusement and theme park originated in Texas?
In fact, the park gets its name from the sovereign flags of 6 different nations that once flew over Texas!
There are a lot of fun attractions inside the parks and we recommend spending a whole day here to get your money’s worth.
At the park, you can enjoy a variety of roller coasters, water-based rides, mechanical games, shows, and seasonal events such as Fright Fest during Halloween.
Have younger kids? Let them splash at the Pirate Ship Play Area.
Up for a thrilling adventure? Try the Batman or other thrill rides.
Six Flags also has family rides such as lazy river where everyone can have fun at the same time.
The park has multiple locations in Texas including San Antonio and the original one in Arlington near Dallas.
The Arlington location even has a separate onsite water park and is a favorite in the hot summer season.
Stargaze at the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis
The McDonald Observatory is located in the Davis Mountains near Fort Davis in West Texas.
It is a must-visit for families who love astronomy and planetary research.
The observatory is a research unit of the University of Texas at Austin and conducts many astronomical research programs.
On a trip to the observatory, you can visit the Frank N Bash Visitors Center.
The observatory organizes many educational events and activities for kids including telescope events and star parties as well as special spring break programs in March.
Kids love looking at the moon, stars, and clusters through a real telescope on a dark sky night.
Drive the Bluebonnet Trails at Ennis
Going on a road trip to see the famous Texas bluebonnets is a rite of passage for everyone living in Texas.
You should absolutely take a family photo with the kids in a sea of bluebonnets and there is no better place to do it than Ennis.
Every year in the month of April, Ennis hosts the Bluebonnet Trails Festival.
The 40-mile long driving trails are open to the public and all around you can see the bluebonnets in full bloom.
It is a beautiful sight and one of our favorite family trips come spring.
Just make sure you don’t trample the flowers and stay on designated trails to avoid trespassing.
Visit the Ennis Visitor Center to get up to date trail maps and know the status of the blooms.
You can also find a detailed map of the driving trails on their website.
The bluebonnet festival has many other attractions for the whole family.
You can attend live music performances, enjoy children-friendly activities, wine tasting, and arts and crafts fairs and celebrate the spring season the Texan way.
Visit the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library & Museum
Located on the campus of the University of Texas in Austin, the LBJ Library and Museum teaches visitors about US history during LB Johnson’s presidency.
Some of the highlights not to be missed are the replica of the oval room of the White House, the presidential limousine that LB Johnson used in 1968 while he was in Austin, and several graphic documents of that time.
Young learners will love to hear the stories and jokes told by an animatronic resembling LBJ.
Tour the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum
Located in Dallas, on the campus of Southern Methodist University where visitors can learn everything about life and the presidential career of President Bush and exhibits about the history of campaigns and elections in the US.
As with most historical museums, this one is not a good idea for small kids, however, it is a valuable and educational attraction for teens and adults interested in history.
Guided tours available.
Climb to the top of the Port Isabel Lighthouse
The 72-foot Port Isabel Lighthouse was constructed in 1852 to help sea captains navigate the Texas waters.
To access the wide view of South Padre Island beaches, visitors have to climb 75 spiral stairs and some ladders.
Children older than 4 years old and those who love heights will find it a fun and easy attraction with plenty of opportunities to take nice photos.
To enter the lighthouse, children must be at least 4 years old and 38” tall. The administration does not permit carrying babies inside.
Sample the flavors at Blue Bell Creamery
Blue Bell Creameries, founded in Brenham, has earned the hearts of Texas sweet treats’ lovers.
All the curious kids can observe the process of ice cream being made at the Ice Cream Parlor, taste some samples and learn about the long and rich history of the creameries at the Visitor Center in Brenham.
There is also a Country store where you can purchase Blue Bell Creamery-related gifts and merchandise.
Brenham makes the perfect day trip from Austin for little ice cream fans!
See the reptiles at Gator Country in Beaumont
Gator Country is an alligator adventure park in Beaumont, East Texas.
It is home to more than 450 alligators as well as other reptiles, most of them rescued ones.
There is a reptile exhibit too and kids can even feed the animals some snacks purchased at the store located at the attraction.
The bravest kids may even get a chance to hold a snake or a baby gator.
Also Read: Best Things to do in East Texas
Visit Moody Gardens on Galveston Island
The Moody Gardens theme park in Galveston is an attraction for the whole family, even the smallest members.
As you tour the park, you will encounter the pyramids that are replicas of different natural environments.
The Aquarium Pyramid is where you will find many marine animals of the Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific and the Caribbean.
In the Rainforest Pyramid – many tropical and endangered rainforest animals, such as Saki Monkeys, Giant Amazon River Otters, parrots and more.
Watch a Sea Turtle Release at Padre Island National Seashore
This reserve on the South Padre Island is unique and beautiful, very clean, has plenty of opportunities to have fun and features a windsurfing area as well as wide beaches.
In addition to all that, this is where you can have a truly one of a kind experience – watch baby Kemp’s ridley sea turtles being released into the sea!
These turtles are the most endangered turtles in the world.
Children will love to see these little creatures making their way into the water and being swept in by waves.
Also Read: Padre Island National Seashore Travel Guide
See the cattle drive at Fort Worth Stockyards
It is a fun place to visit as a family, featuring museums and rodeos that reveal what life was like for cowboys at that time.
The whole area, including the original brick walkways, bars and restaurants, the famous horses and Longhorns allow visitors to feel the spirit of the West in the old days.
There are numerous attractions including the Fort Worth Herd, a petting zoo and musical performances.
Some of the events specifically aimed for families are Billy Bob’s Texas, Cowtown Cattlepen Maze, Fort Worth Stockyards Adventure among others.
The Stockyards make an excellent day trip from Dallas.
Enjoy Christmas in Grapevine
If you are travelling in Texas around Christmas time, consider celebrating this beautiful holiday in Grapevine, which is sometimes referred to as “the Christmas Capital of Texas.”
The lighting of the main street and other spectacular decorations, the concerts, the Christmas parade, the Christmas shops, great food and Christmas music along the avenue is truly something worth living.
Children will have the time of their life riding a magic train to Reindeer Ridge to meet Santa, ice skating, snow tubing, decorating cookies, marveling at the lights and so much more!
Also Read: Best Christmas Towns in Texas
Visit Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo
Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo is a must if you happen to be travelling along Route 66.
It is one of the most recognized landmarks for the amount of videos, films and photos in which it appears.
Bruce Springsteen even wrote a song titled Cadillac Ranch making reference to this place.
Teens and young adults will love to see a colorful half buried Cadillac display in the field.
All the cars have been painted in graffiti by commissioned artists. It is a great opportunity to take some cool photos.
From free family nights to watch movies in the Texas cities to amazing train rides and thrilling theme parks, we hope you liked our list of best things to do in Texas with kids.
Did we miss any fun things to do with kids in Texas? Let us know in the comments.