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Austin-area entertainment spots

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Central Texas is bustling with historic sites, family-friendly attractions, theme parks to enjoy and caverns to explore. Many tours require reservations. Some are free; call for costs. Here are just some of the attractions tourists and residents alike can enjoy.


Austin BMX & Skate Park. A 30,000-square-foot park with a mixture of obstacles, including ramps, stairs, concrete pyramids, a skate bowl and more. 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd. 974-6700, .

Austin Duck Adventures. A narrated, 75-minute land-and-lake tour in an amphibious vehicle through downtown. 209 E. Sixth St. 477-5274, .

Austin Ghost Tours. Downtown themed walking tours of different haunted buildings and stories from Austin's past and present. Tour schedule on website; reservations required. 853-9826, .

Austin Nature and Science Center. Camps, exhibits and animal showcase. 301 Nature Center Drive. 974-3888, .

Austin Steam Train. Vintage trains make varied runs throughout the year. 401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Suite A-103, Cedar Park. 477-8468, .

Austin Zoo. Rescued animals from Texas and around the world, petting zoo and train. 10808 Rawhide Trail. 288-1490, .

Austin's Park. Go-karts, miniature golf, bumper boats, rock wall, batting cages, arcade games, laser tag, pizza buffet and more. 16231 Interstate 35 N., Pflugerville. 670-9600, .

Bats in flight. The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge over Lady Bird Lake is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Best mid-March through early November. The American-Statesman has a free bat-viewing area, 305 S. Congress Ave. Inside Line, 416-5700, category 3636, .

Bear Creek Stables Inc. Lighted arenas, English and Western riding lessons, guided rides and summer camp. 13017 Bob Johnson Lane. 282-0250, .

Bremond Block Historic District. A collection of 11 historic homes constructed from the 1850s to 1910 and bound by Seventh, Eighth, San Antonio and Guadalupe streets. The Convention and Visitors Bureau offers tours on weekends March through November. 800-926-2282, .

Capital Cruises. Boat tours on Lady Bird Lake. 208 Barton Springs Road. 480-9264, .

Capital Skate Park. 7500 square foot indoor skate park. 2008 Picadilly Drive, Round Rock. 251-4500, .

Chaparral Ice. Ice skating, video games and a hockey program. 14200 N. Interstate 35. 252-8500. 2525 Anderson Lane. 451-5102, .

Congress Avenue and Sixth Street. Guided walking tour of downtown includes historic buildings such as the 1915 Paramount Theatre and the 1886 Driskill Hotel. Wheelchair accessible; parking free on weekends. Call 48 hours in advance to register for a guided walking tour with the Convention and Visitors Bureau. 800-926-2282, .

J & M Aviaries. Home to more than 60 species of exotic birds and other animals. Animal encounter shows Saturdays and Sundays. 8647 W. U.S. 290. 288-2199, .

Kiddie Acres. Amusement park for families with children 10 and younger. Rides, miniature golf and concessions. Closed Mondays. 4800 W. Howard Lane. 255-4131, .

Lone Star Riverboat. Double-decker, paddle-wheel riverboat cruises on Lady Bird Lake. 327-1388, .

Mabel Davis District Park.Austin's first skate park with a skate bowl and streetscape elements, Olympic-size swimming pool, playscape and picnic area. 3427 Parker Lane. 974-6700, .

Main Event. Bowling alley, laser tag, rock wall, miniature golf, billiards and a restaurant. 13301 N. U.S. 183. 401-0000, .

Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex. Bowling, roller skating, arcade games, movie theater and more. 1156 Hargrave St. 472-6932, .

Mount Bonnell. Visitors can picnic atop this 775-foot limestone hill with panoramic views of Lake Austin, downtown and the University of Texas. 3851 Mount Bonnell Road. 974-6700, .

Old Bakery and Emporium. 1876 structure listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Gift shop and confectionery. 1006 Congress Ave. 477-5961, .

Peter Pan Mini Golf. Two miniature golf courses plus video games. 1207 Barton Springs Road. 472-1033, .

Playland Skate Center. Roller skating and in-line skating. 8822 McCann Drive. 452-1901, .

Shore Club Volente Beach Water Park.Water rides, beach and lagoon on Lake Travis. April-September. 16107 RM 2769, Leander. 258-5110, .

Texas Capitol. Tours of the Capitol and underground extension. 11th Street and Congress Avenue. 463-5495,

Texas State Cemetery. Burial ground dating to 1851 for Republic of Texas founders, jurists, writers and elected officials. Monuments include the works of Charles Umlauf, Elisabet Ney and Pompeo Coppini. Tours available. 909 Navasota St. 463-0605, .

Texas Union Underground.Located on the University of Texas campus, the Union Underground offers bowling, billiards, arcade games and a laptop lounge. Texas Union, 24th and Guadalupe streets. 475-6670, .

Treaty Oak.500-year-old famed live oak is the last surviving tree of a grove that once sheltered Comanches and Tonkawas. The tree made international news in 1989 when it was poisoned. Fifth and Baylor streets. 974-6700, .

Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. 227-acre sanctuary for native plants, animals and birds, including some endangered species. Some trails are wheelchair accessible. Weekend, stargazer and moonlight tours. 805 N. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 327-7622, .

Zilker Botanical Garden. 30-acre botanical garden features a butterfly trail and themed gardens, including a pioneer village and prehistoric garden. 2220 Barton Springs Road. 477-8672, .

Zilker Park. Downtown park includes Barton Springs, a spring-fed swimming pool, picnicking, a hillside theater, playground and a miniature train. 2100 Barton Springs Road. 974-6700, .


Historic Georgetown.Three National Register Historic Districts. Georgetown History and Visitor Information Center, 101 W. Seventh St. 800-436-8696, .

Inner Space Cavern. Guided tours include the Explorer's Tour, which takes visitors on an extended cavern trail. Exit 259 off Interstate 35, a half-mile south of downtown Georgetown. 4200 S. Interstate 35. 931-2283, .

Johnson City

Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.Tours, exhibits, historical films and trails for visitors to get a picture of President Johnson's heritage, life and legacy. Intersection of Ladybird Lane and Avenue G, 50 miles west of Austin in Johnson City. 830-868-7128, .

Lake Buchanan

Fall Creek Vineyards. Winery near Lake Buchanan has tours, tastings and retail shop. 1820 County Road 222 in Tow, 80 miles northwest of Austin. 325-379-5361, .

Vanishing Texas River Cruise. Boat trips through canyons. 16942 RM 2341, 65 miles northwest of Austin on Lake Buchanan. 512-756-6986, .

New Braunfels

Animal World and Snake Farm.Primates, alligators, exotic hoof stock, birds, cats, snakes and more. 5640 S. Interstate 35. 830-608-9270, .

Landa Park.Miniature golf, walking/jogging trails, miniature train rides, playgrounds, paddle boats. Park Office, 110 Golf Course Road. 830-221-4350, .

Schlitterbahn. 65-acre waterpark with more than 40 attractions. April-September. 400 N. Liberty Ave. 830-625-2351, .

Round Rock

Shaylah Dame Skate Park. Bowl and street components for in-line skating, skateboarding and BMX biking. 1600 Gattis School Road. 218-5540, .

The Chisholm Trail. A historic district of eight buildings that predate the Civil War is part of the legendary cattle-drive trail. Sam Bass Road south to RM 620. 463-6100, .

San Marcos

Aquarena Center. More than 100 varieties of aquatic life. View aquatic life on glass-bottom boat tours. 921 Aquarena Springs Drive. 512-245-7570, .

San Marcos Skate Park. 10,000-square-foot skate park has a concrete skateboard area, with ramps, walls, rails and stairs. The park is free and open to the public during daylight hours. 627 E. Hopkins St. 512-393-8400.

Wonder World. Features a cave, miniature train, wildlife park and "antigravity" room. 1000 Prospect St. 512-392-3760, .