Austin Nature & Science Center
Nature Center Main Building
Austin Nature and Science Center
301 Nature Center Drive
Public Parking: 2389 Stratford Drive
(Near MoPac bridge)
Austin, TX 78746
Since 1961, the Austin Nature and Science Center has provided a focal point for nature-based education and experiences for children and teenagers. It is sited on 18 acres at the edge of Zilker Park featuring natural spaces, museum exhibits, and live animals.
Audiences: Ages 3 – 17 (Camps and activities); Families (Exhibits); Schools/Home Schools (field trips and classes) .
Exhibits: Free exhibits open to the general public include: 1) the Dino Pit, a life-size model of a paleontology dig; 2) indoor exhibits of fossils, preserved plants, mammals, birds, insects, plants, furs, bones and geological specimens; 3) live animals and birds (that cannot survive in the wild); 4) the Monarch Waystation butterfly gardens; and 5) the Nano exhibit, interactive displays to explore nanotechnology.
School Programs: Grades Pre-K – 5. Classes held at interested schools, the Center, the Splash Exhibit at Barton Springs Pool, or Pease Park. Classes include terrestrial and aquatic wildlife; dinosaurs and fossils; astronomy; and geology. 2019 costs ranged by number of students and location, but highest cost is generally $375-450. Title 1 schools receive 50% discount for grades Pre-K – 3.
Home School Programs: Ages 4 – 12. October – February, M – W, either from 10 to 11:30 AM or 12:30 to 2 PM. Once per month sessions in Zilker Park area on anthropods, water, weather, science jobs, and math. 2019 cost of $54 for Austin residents.
Physical activities (for 4 hours on 3 consecutive Thursdays) for ages 8 – 11. There are 3 separate themes: caving, climbing, and general outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and archery. 2019 cost of $75 for Austin residents.
Nature’s Way Pre-School: Ages 3 – 5. September – May. This is a nature-based enrichment program, not day care, offered up to 4 days a week, Monday – Friday, 9 AM to 1 PM, and Tuesday and Thursday, 2 to 5 PM.
Summer Camps: June – August, weekdays. All camps except Tadpoles run from 8 AM to 5 PM. Many include field trips and overnight camping, and include swimming or wading. Apply early – registrants are taken in order.
- Tadpole Camps: Ages 4 – 5. Half-days from 8 AM to 12 PM and 1 to 5 PM. Rotating themes include: animals; science; prehistoric life; and water. 2019 cost of $162 for Austin residents.
- Pollywog Camps: Ages 5 – 6. Rotating themes include: nocturnal animals; gravity and tree climbing; water ecosystems; and wildlife (both prehistoric and existing). 2019 cost of $188-232 for Austin residents.
- Frog Camps: Ages 7 – 8. Rotating themes include: natural and human history; water habitats; and wildlife. 2019 cost of $188-232 for Austin residents.
- Adventure Camps: Ages 9 – 10. Rotating themes include: team building; outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and climbing; and observing water life, often while snorkeling and canoeing. 2019 cost of $262-306 for Austin residents.
- Explorer Camps: Ages 11 – 12. Rotating themes include: observing animals; nature photography; outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and climbing; and observing water life. 2019 cost of $212-342 for Austin residents.
- Specialty Camps: Ages 13 – 14. Rotating themes include: advanced climbing; bicycle riding and maintenance; orientation to outdoor jobs; and rock climbing. 2019 cost of $238-282 for Austin residents.
- Counselor in Training: Ages 15 – 17. A one-day training course for teens who want to assist the Center’s teachers in conducting camps. 2019 cost of $40 for Austin residents.
Spring Break Camps: Ages 5 – 11. Five-day camp in March from 8 AM – 5 PM. Themes, depending on age, include hiking and wilderness skills. 2019 cost of $250 for Austin residents.
School Holiday Camps: Ages 5 – 8. Three-day camp about Earth and Space during Thanksgiving holiday. 2019 cost of $150 for Austin residents. Two-day Tinker Time camp during winter break. 2019 cost of $150 for Austin residents.
Art by Margaret Campbell Bamberger
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