Austin Parks and Gardens
(Austin, Texas - TX, USA)
Austin boasts an impressive collection of green areas and gardens in the city, including at least four parks inside the limits of the compact downtown area. Austin also contains a number of wooded nature reserves, some of which feature caves and sinkholes, while the massive Emma Long Metropolitan Park situated at the water's edge outside town is noted for its swimming, water sports and gardens.
Zilker Metropolitan Park is Austin's most visited park and is home to the outstanding spring-fed Barton Springs swimming pool. Here are Austin's main parks and gardens.
City of Austin Nature Preserves
There are several delightful and diverse natural habitats in the city of Austin that include the wooded Blunn Creek on St. Edward's Drive, with its spring-fed creek and lookout areas; the impressive Goat Cave on Deer Lane, which is pockmarked with sinkholes; and the pristine meadows and streams of the Zilker Preserve on Barton Springs Road. The preserve also comes with walking trails, but there are no rest rooms.
Open hours: daily - dawn to dusk
Zilker Metropolitan Park
Address: 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas TX, 78704, USA
Tel: +1 512 476 9044
Named after the rich German immigrant who originally donated some of this land to the city of Austin, Zilker Metropolitan Park comprises of almost 350 acres / 142 hectares of prime land south of the river and is one of Austin's most popular hangouts. The major highlight and centrepiece of the park is the Barton Springs Pool, with its bathhouse and gift shops, while the Zilker Botanical Gardens, Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, and Austin Nature Preserves are also here. Sports facilities are excellent at Austin's Zilker Metropolitan Park and include soccer, rugby and softball fields, as well as a nine-hole golf course.
Open hours: daily - 05:00 to 22:00
Admission: free, charge for pool, charge for parking on weekends and holidays between March and August
Zilker Botanical Gardens
Address: 2220 Barton Springs Road, Austin, Texas TX, 78746, USA
Tel: +1 512 477 8672
The Zilker Botanical Garden is loaded with attractions and beauty, such as a herb garden, a peaceful Oriental Garden and a butterfly garden, with April to October being the best months to see the migrating butterflies. In addition, the Hartman Prehistoric Garden features plants from the Cretaceous period, one hundred million-year-old dinosaur tracks and a bronze sculpture of an Ornithomimus, a very slender bird-like dinosaur from the Cretaceous period.
Open hours: garden centre - Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 17:00, Saturday - 10:00 to 17:00, Sunday - 13:00 to 17:00, grounds - 07:00 to dusk
Admission: charge, discount available for seniors and children between three and 12 years old, children two years old and under are free
Emma Long Metropolitan Park
Address: 1600 City Park Road, Austin, Texas TX, 78730, USA
Tel: +1 512 346 1831
Located to the west of downtown Austin, Emma Long Metropolitan Park sits in 1,100 acres / 445 hectares of woodland on the edge of the river and offers plenty of water-based activities and miles of walking trails. There is also a protected swimming area here as well as camping, while unrivalled views of Austin city can be discerned from 1,000 feet / 305 meters after a moderate hike.
Open hours: daily - 07:00 to 22:00
Admission: charge for vehicle
Address: 3505 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas TX, 78703, USA
Set on Lake Austin near Camp Mabry, Mayfield Park is a peaceful green area marked with tranquil lily ponds and easy walking trails through oak woods, while peacocks and other fowl roam about freely.
Open hours: 05:00 to 22:00