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Programs

The Parks and Recreation Department offers after school programs for the community that foster youth development in a safe and caring environment. Our goal is to create opportunities for youth ages 5-12 to engage in critical thinking and exercise decision-making skills.

Discover local art and artists.  Watch a play under the stars or in a vibrant community theater. Visit a serene and natural setting from the work of a 20th century American sculptor.

Athletics organizes adult recreational leagues for men, women and co-ed teams. Athletics reserves the Krieg and Havins softball complexes. Athletics partners with non-profit Youth Sport Organizations to provide recreational opportunities to Austin youth. Athletics collaborates with Recreation Centers to set standards for Youth Sports leagues.

The History, Arts and Nature programs of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department give voice to Austin's imagination, abundant nature and colorful past. Visit our museums, cultural centers, art markets, nature centers and outdoor theater for a memorable glimpse of what makes Austin unique.

Austin’s urban forest provides millions of dollars annually in social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community and enhances the quality of life for Austin residents.  Our community's tree resource is an integral part of what makes Austin one of the most attractive cities in the country.  As the city continues to grow and develop the urban forest remains an integral part of the Austin landscape, quietly performing as one of our most invaluable community members and infrastructure components.

Austin Urban Forest Plan: A Master Plan for Public Property

CITY SEEKS INPUT ON CEMETERY RULES

The department has observed a growing demand for use of City parklands by a variety of private commercial entities. The department has designated certain recommended park sites for this purpose.

Permanent concessions are eligible for a contract of a year or more and generally have a permanent structure. The department currently manages 11 permanent concession contracts.

DAC Home  |  Dougherty Theater  |  Julia C. Butridge Gallery

The arts school provides a variety of classes and camps for adults and youth. Call 512-974-4040, fax 512-974-4039 or select one of the following links to view additional information:

Geographic/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) incorporates data, software and hardware to capture, display, analyze, and manage spatially referenced information.  A few advantages to utilizing GIS includes improved communication, enhanced record keeping, cost savings, increased efficiency, and better decision making. Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of earth-orbiting earth satellites that allow users to determine their exact locations on the earth.

The City of Austin operates five municipal golf courses and one short practice course all focused on a great golf experience at an affordable price.

Call to book your tee time today! Online reservations are temporarily disabled.

Austin is known for its prized quality of life, talented workforce and extraordinary business opportunities. Austinites are some of the fittest people in Texas, with miles of hike and bike trails. An internship with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department is a valuable opportunity for a student to grow professionally and personally.

Internship Information Packet is available to download with additional department information. Internship information is listed below.

Enjoy music in Austin Parks this summer.  Bring a lawn chair, enjoy a musical, go swimming, watch a movie, or sit on the grass and enjoy some great local entertainment. 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers several ways for individuals and families to explore Austin's beautiful natural spaces.

Austin’s preserve system began in 1935 with the creation of Zilker Nature Preserve.  Over the years, the City of Austin has acquired over 2513 acres of preserve land.  Preserve land is a unique type of park land that is set aside because it provides essential endangered species habitat, includes a unique natural feature such as a cave or stream, or provides a prime example of a specific type of ecosystem.  Preserve land is set aside by either purchasing property from private or commercial land owners, if an area is designated as endangered species habitat or if it is deeded to the city.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of opportunities both indoors and out of doors that connect participants to nature and our natural spaces. Join the excitement, and open the door to adventure and exploration with the department's Nature Based Programs.

Nature Based Programs Division offers a variety of programs and services in the following units:

The Parks and Recreation Department operates 11 off leash areas in Austin for you to enjoy with your dog. In general, all parks are open for public use each day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. unless otherwise posted. At times, access is limited or affected by events or maintenance issues.

The City of Austin Park Ranger program was created to provide educational services, safety and security in Austin’s parks and recreational facilities.

Parkland dedication is a local government requirement imposed on subdivision and site plan applications mandating the dedication of land for a park and/or the payment of a fee to be used by the governmental entity to acquire land and/or develop park facilities.  The City of Austin passed its first Parkland Dedication Ordinance in 1985 and updated the ordinance in

The Office of Special Events coordinates picnic and facility reservations, large special events/festivals, and commercial filming/photography requests for movies, commercials and advertising campaigns within the Austin parks system.

From the adopt-a-park program, to park improvement projects and public-private partnerships, there are many ways to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department.

Businesses, non-profit organizations, neighborhood and community groups and individuals are invited and encouraged to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to enhance and improve parks, increase recreational and cultural opportunities and preserve natural areas in Austin.

The Planning & Design Division provides planning, design, analysis, consultation, coordination and direction to staff, citizens and developers in order to achieve a balance between the natural and built environments and to ensure accessibility, safety and compliance with local rules, regulations, and best managed practices for park and recreation agencies.

The Aquatic Division operates 50 public pool facilities, which includes 28 neighborhood pools, 3 wading pools, 6 municipal pools, 11 splash pads, 1 rental facility and Barton Springs Pool.

Program History

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of programs and services for people 50 years of age and older. Activities include traveling, pursuing old hobbies and learning new ones, socializing with friends, meeting new people, increasing knowledge, becoming and staying physically fit, supplementing income, contributing to the community and much more!

Seniors boating

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of summer programs for children 5-12 years old. Some facilities also provide preschool and teen programs. Registration for all 2014 Summer Camp programs will open for City of Austin residents on Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 9 AM. Registration for non-residents will be delayed for two-weeks. View our Summer Parent Handbook 2014 for more information.

Looking for a summer job?
Get Hired! Get Trained! Get Working!

It’s never too early to start looking for a summer job and Austin Parks and Recreation has so much to offer. From adventure to recreation activities, swimming to teaching art, we have a job that’s right for you!

PARD Summer Staff with two posing with two participants

Austin’s Community Gardens are currently producing an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh local, organic produce for Austin residents every year!  They are also places where both adults and children learn, fostering community and good-neighbor relationships.

The recreational Swim Team Program is organized to develop the potential and serve the recreational needs of boys and girls who are interested in learning about competitive swimming. See the Aquatics brochure for more information.

The purpose of the municipal tennis centers is to offer year-round tennis play and supervised tennis activities to the community through comprehensive programs for all ages.

Learn about six ways that homeowners, architects and homebuilders can help keep Austin cool.

Totally Cool, Totally Art (TCTA) offers free community-based arts education for teenagers who may not otherwise have such opportunities.

Join the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Univision 62 for the Zilker Zumbathon Zelebration! July is Parks & Recreation Month, and this year’s theme is ‘Out is In.’ We encourage you to get outside, change your outlook, and get involved in your community through parks and recreation!

Zilker Zumbathon Zelebration
Thursday, July 24th at 10am
Zilker Park Rugby Field

The hour long event will feature a free Zumba session! Come out to Zilker Park and get your Zumba on!

Austin’s urban forest is made up of trees, vegetation and other components that are invaluable to the wellbeing and identity of our community.  Explore and learn more about this growing resource.

Each year thousands of Austinites volunteer to help the city’s parks, preserves, trails, playgrounds, athletic and recreational facilities flourish through individual and group volunteerism. The Volunteer program invites community and business groups to partner with us one-time or on an ongoing basis.

Wildlife Austin promotes the creation and conservation of wildlife habitats through community-wide collaboration and public education, and helps bridge existing city initiatives that encourage a well balanced and healthy urban environment for people and wildlife. Austin has a long track record of being dedicated to preserving and enhancing our environment. All of us have an important role to play! We all can make a profound contribution to keep Austin wild!

The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs - totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.