The Austin Nature and Science Center offers many programs for preschoolers, kids, families and adults. Program topics range from butterflies to caving. We offer hands-on and discovery activities that are targeted at getting the participants to think more about the world around them. Our programs run throughout the year with camps during school holidays - winter, spring and summer breaks.
Public programs offer a variety of opportunities for children to come to camp. When school is out for a holiday, we offer C-Days and Youth Adventure Days. These one-day camps consist of various activities and a field trip relating to the topic for that particular day. We also have Winter Break Camp for two weeks during the winter holiday. Also during the school year, public programs offer a Spring Break Camp full of fun-filled activities for ages 5-12.
During Summer Camp, the ANSC gives children ages 3-16 the opportunities to engage in hands-on activities, swim at Deep Eddy and Barton Springs Pools, go on many adventures, learn about anything from insects to camping or learn how to be a leader by becoming a counselor-in-training. All staff members are over the age of 18 and attend an in-depth training on vehicle driving procedures, age appropriate activities and safety procedures. All counselors must have current CPR and first aid certification, and swim counselors must obtain anywhere from community water safety certification to waterfront lifeguard certification, depending on the camp.
Kids and Families
Interested in learning about poisonous animals, how a paleontologist figures out how dinosaur bones fit together, or going on an adventure with your family? Well, join us for our kid and family programs. Our kid programs consist of a variety of topics, from what it takes to take care of ANSC animals with the junior wildlife keepers to discovering the ANSC at night at one of our Critter Camp-Ins! Ages vary with the specific program. Come spend some quality time with your family while learning facts about different stars in our planetarium and hearing Greek myths at a Star Party. We also offer activities for the adventurous family, such as canoeing at night and experiencing what it is like to venture into one of Austin's local wild caves.
Start your preschooler early in getting to know his or her environment and all the wonders that can be found there! Whether you are interested in coming a couple of times monthly or weekly to our Nature's Way Preschool, the ANSC is the place to introduce your preschooler to natural wonders.
We offer a variety of programs for adults to learn more about science and nature topics. During the spring, we offer caving in a local wild cave and introductory rock climbing on the Barton Creek Greenbelt. For those that have more time, spend an entire weekend learning more about the birds and bats of the Texas Hill Country with a local teacher from Dripping Springs who has studied and researched them for many years. If you don't have time to make it on a long weekend trip, the Capital Area Master Naturalists host a speaker series on the last Wednesday of each month. Call the Capital Area Master Naturalists hotline at 512-389-8555 for more information.
ANSC is home to a variety of live invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds - including raptors. Visitors can learn all about these unusual neighbors living right in their own backyard! Many of these animals have been orphaned or injured and could not survive in the wild. At ANSC, they can live out their lives, receiving daily care, grooming, quality food, medication and veterinary assistance.
The Naturalist Workshop is a perfect place to explore the natural world. Get a close-up view through microscopes and magnifying glasses, use a balance to check and compare objects’ weights and identify your finds with field guides and touchable specimens.
If you’re a collector of natural objects, you’ll want to check out the workshop’s Trade Counter. Bring your favorite rock, seed pod, shell or other cool natural item and earn points for what you know and learn about it. Use the points to trade for new treasures, like sparkling minerals, exotic sea shells, animal bones, fossils, polished rocks and much more.
You can also earn points to use at the Trade Counter if you correctly identify this month's mystery object. Come in to see it in person and make a guess!
The Naturalist Workshop is found in the Visitor’s Pavilion. For more information, view the Trade Counter brochure or call 512-974-3888. The Trade Counter is open Wednesday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.