The amazing attractions in Zilker Park are nearly endless, but that didn’t stop us from picking our favorite ten. From gorgeous trails, places for your pets and nearly everything in between, Zilker Park is a 350 acre edenic space for locals and visitors alike. For residents of the 78704 zip code, they can always spend a lazy day exploring the nooks and crannies of this lush space.
Take a minute to review our favorite spots and see how closely our top ten matches up with your own. Odds are we have more than just a few in common…
1. Barton Springs Pool:
Fed by three natural springs, Barton Springs Pool is a three-acer pool which services the Austin area year round. It is perfect for both swimmers who use the pool for personal fitness as well as residents just looking for a cool place to escape the heat.
For the first few seconds, the water is brisk. Eventually it becomes simply refreshing. That’s because the natural springs that feed the pool are at a constant 68-70 degrees, year round. During the heat of summer, it’s the perfect cure for the beating sun.
There is also a spot reserved specifically for floating and relaxation. For our little ones, there is a shallow area to keep them safely wading in and out of the water.
The bottom of the pool is maintained carefully to retain the natural vegetation and life on the floor. If you look closely enough, you can even see fish and turtles making their way along the bottom of the pool. For those interested in nature, bring a pair of goggles and a snorkel.
2. Kayak on Lady Bird Lake at the Rowing Dock:
There are plenty of activities on Lady Bird Lake as well. The lake itself is man-made and meanders along just south of the City of Austin. The water here is slow moving and easy to navigate, especially while using small watercraft such as kayaks, sup-boards and canoes.
The lake was named after the former first lady of the United States, Lady Bird Johnson, and opened in the 1960’s. It is primarily used for recreation and flood control, and is often full of residents enjoying the beautiful natural scenery. Austin is a unique city, blending urban skylines with serene landscapes. What better way to do that than to take a kayak and float gently along the current, gazing up at the state’s capital city?
3. Disc Golf in the Park:
Disc golf is one of those activities that has gained more and more popularity over the past several years. The game is a hybrid of the games of golf and frisbee, both extremely popular in their own right. Disc golf in Zilker Park has become a great way to enjoy the wide open spaces and stay active and competitive.
The course, one of the only ones in the area with a full 18 “holes,” is generally flat and navigable. There are a few trees to aim around, and skill definitely comes into play at times.
Bring your friends and family for some healthy competition, or just practice by yourself. Whatever your reason to play, disc golf is a terrific way to enjoy Zilker Park.
4. Zilker Botanical Garden:
If taking a stroll through nature sounds like a beautiful way to spend an afternoon in Austin, you may want to make a visit to Zilker Botanical Garden. Within this sprawling, 26 acre collection of flora and fauna, there are individual gardens each with their own themes.
These include the Taniguchi Japanese Garden, Riparian Streambed and the Rose Garden. Each smaller garden is interconnected, and while passing through you can find streams, waterfalls and even koi-ponds.
The Hartman Prehistoric Garden is a unique portion of the Zilker Botanical Garden. Here, you can find a recreation of a Cretaceous habitat. That means that the plants found here were picked specifically because they would have been found in the world of the Dinosaurs living throughout the Cretaceous period. Sorry, no live dinos here though.
There is also a butterfly garden to frolic through and watch their mesmerizing beauty of these winged creatures. With 300,000 visitors a year, the Zilker Botanical Garden continues to be one of the most popular outdoor spaces in the Austin area.
5. Ann Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail:
Next up we have the Ann Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake. While some residents love spending their day in the water, others may prefer to keep their feet on solid ground. For them, exploring the banks of the Colorado River using the Ann Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail might be a great option.
Averaging 2.6 million visitors a year, the trail is a year-round attraction which encourages people to spend time outdoors and take in the gorgeous sights that Austin has to offer.
In 2014, a massive project was completed which added 300 piers, 7 viewing areas, new restrooms and a 7,250 foot boardwalk. This project, completed for a price tag of $28 million, is known as the Boardwalk at Lady Bird Lake.
The Hike and Bike Trails see an average of 2.6 million visitors a year and encompasses a total of 10 miles of trails for walking, biking and jogging. Along the rest stops on the boardwalk you can even see people casting fishing lines into the water, taking their time and savoring the scenic beauty.