Yesterday we went to the Austin Nature and Science Center. I love this place, it’s on the other side of Austin from us, so I tend to not remember how cool it is.
There are about five different areas in there to explore, and even spending 2 hours we did not spend anywhere near all the time we could have.
First there’s a visitor’s center with three areas:
1. a recreation of the natural habitat with a cave to walk into and rocks to climb on and a tree that you can lift up pieces and see what’s inside. My kids have easily spent an hour there enacting different adventures they’ve come up with. It’s really hilarious.
2. an explore nature center, you can pull cleaned animal bones, rocks, various other artifacts off shelves and look at them under big microscopes and feel them. Also you can bring in artifacts to be examined and earn points to take home some of the stuff they have on exhibit.
3. An exploratory center with different animal skins, some animal bones (including a huge cow bone that my kids insist is a dinosaur bone), antlers, and turtle shell. There’s a tripod magnifying glass that you can put stuff under and examine it.
This is the first time we actually looked at the animals they have here. They’re all native animals that have been rescued, so there’s quite a few birds and coyotes and such. There’s also the world’s cutest racoon that used to be a pet, and now loves to play games with the visitors. They had so much fun talking about the different animals.
Princess happily using her pink shovel
There’s a dino dig site. They’ve made cast replicas of some dinosaur bones found in the area and you can dig it out of the sand and pebbles. There’s a nice supply of shovels to be used. My kids love this area. Of course we did this backwards, we should have gone here first and then the water, but we just did the water twice.
The water area is really just a shallow stream that you can walk through and jump from rock to rock. At it’s deepest it get to about knee level on my 2 year old. It’s perfect.