Zilker Metropolitan Park is one of those enchanting places you could spend an entire day — heck, an entire week — and not get tired of exploring.
At 350+ acres the place is huge. It includes the famous Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin Nature & Science Center, a playground and tons of green lawn area.
Another highlight is the Zilker Zephyr train that chugs through the park daily. It’s and inexpensive and fun way to see more of the park. I did this recently with my family and we all enjoyed the experience.
The train engineer, who had a great smile and even greater set of dreadlocks, joyfully steered the train past runners, people doing yoga on the lawn and dogs chasing frisbees.
We waved at families setting up for picnics and people in canoes on the lake. “Woody,” the man with the white beard who can often be found near Lou Neff Point, entertained us with his guitar/harmonica combo. He’s a Zilker Park staple and helps add to the park’s character.
This talented musician can often be found playing his guitar AND harmonica in Zilker Park
Near the train depot is a large play area with a really cool old fire engine, giant xylophones, climbing equipment and more. Also, sort of hidden behind the playground is a set of stairs that lead directly to the water. It’s a neat little spot, right next to Barton Springs Pool, where dogs (and sometimes their owners, too) happily splash in the water.
Across the street from the playground is Zilker’s “great lawn.” It’s a huge grassy area that can be used for sports, recreational activities or simply lounging under a tree. Many of Austin’s top festivals, including the Zilker Kite Festival and ACL Music Fest are held here.
At just a short drive from the Lake Travis area, Zilker Park is a place to come for an hour or to spend an entire day. Joggers can use it as a starting point to run the trails along Lady Bird Lake. Swimmers can take a dip in the Barton Springs Pool. Art and nature lovers can visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum.
Whatever the interest, you’re sure to find something that fits it in Zilker Park.