(Austin, Texas - TX, USA)
Austin has plenty of fine museums spread around the downtown area and farther afield, still within the city's environs. Families staying in Austin tend to favor the dinosaur displays, fossils and wildlife dioramas at the Texas Natural Science Center, while others enjoy the political and presidential exhibits housed within the LBJ Library, both of which are free to enter.
You can trace the history of Austin through the excellent Bullock Texas State History Museum, admire the intricate sculptures in the famed Umlauf Sculpture Garden, or perhaps enjoy the fun hands-on exhibits at the Children's Museum, which stands close to the Congress Avenue Bridge and the City Hall.
The Bullock Texas State History Museum
Address: 1800 North Congress Avenue, Austin, Texas TX, 78701, USA
Tel: +1 512 936 8746
Located not far from the capitol building, the Texas State History Museum was the brainchild of Texas's 38th lieutenant governor, Bob Bullock, who died before its completion. The complex covers a huge area and includes various exhibits and documents from other museums throughout Austin and Texas, such as letters written by Sam Houston, Indian artifacts and a wealth of archaeological finds.
Open hours: Monday to Saturday - 09:00 to 18:00, Sunday - 12:00 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount for seniors, students and children between four and 17 years old, children three years old and under are free
Address: 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin, Texas TX, 78723, USA
Tel: +1 512 469 6200
Located in the Mueller community of Austin, the Thinkery opened in December 2013 and is the new Austin Children's Museum, replacing the facility previously sited on Colorado Street. This excellent and highly enjoyable attraction is specifically designed for kids and features various hands-on exhibits for all ages. The main exhibits within this huge, state-of-the-art museum include the Innovators' Workshop, challenging younger visitors' building skills, the Spark Shop, aimed at older children, a Kitchen Lab and so much more. Also of note at the Thinkery are regular, comprehensive and educational workshops.
Open hours: Tuesday to Friday - 10:00 to 17:00, Saturday and Sunday - 10:00 to 16:00
Admission: charge, children two years old and under are free
LBJ Presidential Library and Museum
Address: 2313 Red River Street, Austin, Texas TX, 78705, USA
Tel: +1 512 721 0200
Devoted to the 36th president, Lyndon Johnson, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum covers the long political career of this distinguished man from his days as state representative and the Kennedy assassination to the Great Society legislation and his resignation over the Vietnam War. A life-size model of Lyndon Johnson provides additional appeal in the narrative and his collection of political cartoons in a rotating exhibit is a highlight. The LBJ Library contains interactive exhibits along side various other photographs and documents from his tenure and the American Civil Rights era, while views of Austin from his office are also worth a look. In December 2012, the Library's core exhibits reopened after a multi-million dollar redesign.
Open hours: daily - 09:00 to 17:00
Admission: charge, discount available for seniors, students and children between 13 and 17 years old, children 12 years old and under are free
Texas Natural Science Center / Texas Memorial Museum
Address: 2400 Trinity Street, Austin, Texas TX, 78712, USA
Tel: +1 512 471 1604
Located within the Texas Natural Science Center, the exhibits in the Texas Memorial Museum are chiefly devoted to natural science, with the impressive dinosaur models, which include a 30-foot / 9-meter mosasaur and an even longer pterosaur, being the focus of attention. The limestone building itself holds particular appeal, with its smattering of art deco, while the interior, featuring brass doors, marble walls, floors and ceilings, and plenty of glass, is nothing less than elegant. In addition to the dinosaurs there are also several excellent diorama settings.
Open hours: Monday to Thursday - 09:00 to 17:00, Friday - 09:00 to 16:45, Saturday - 10:00 to 16:45, Sunday - 13:00 to 16:45
Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum
Address: 605 Robert East Lee Road, Austin, Texas TX, 78704, USA
Tel: +1 512 445 5582
The Umlauf Sculpture Garden in Austin was originally the home of the famed art instructor, Charles Umlauf, who taught at the University of Texas for many years and later created the museum, donating many of his works in the process. Beautiful gardens display most of his work and feature many sculptures made from a variety of materials, while a portrait of Farrah Fawcett, one of his students, is also on show. Provisions for the blind and hearing impaired are also provided here.
Open hours: Wednesday to Friday - 10:00 to 16:30, Saturday and Sunday - 13:00 to 16:30
Admission: charge, discount for seniors and students, children six years old and under are free