Since 1960, the Austin Nature & Science Center has provided hands-on nature exhibits, education programs and recreation activities for countless visitors, teachers and children of all ages that increase awareness and appreciation of the natural environment. Located on the western edge of Zilker Park, the ANSC is dedicated to the exploration of the natural world.

The Austin Nature & Science Center offers many programs for preschoolers, kids, families and adults with topics ranging from butterflies to caving and much more.

In light of recent public health concerns, the Austin Nature & Science Center remains closed.  Read more here.

Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan and Survey

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan is a community-driven planning process to establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park. It is the first comprehensive planning initiative to encompass the park’s 350 acres and associated facilities. See the whole plan and more information here:  Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan.

We would love community input to ensure the Vision Plan addresses the needs and wishes of our visitors to Zilker Park! Please fill out this brief survey to provide your feedback: Zilker Vision Plan Initial Survey

Summer Programs 2021 Registration

Summer 2021 Registration Update

We are excited to announce the launch of Summer Camp 2021. In accordance with federal, state and local health authorities, the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) has adopted a series of modified guidelines to ensure COVID19 health and safety measures are met. Such guidelines include the use of masks, daily wellness screenings prior to entry, utilization of the pod model, and other modifications to activities within camp. 

Beginning June 7
Virtual “Stay Creative” Summer Camp

Beginning June 21
In-person Summer Camp

Beginning July 6
Summer Playground Program 

New this year is the introduction of a lottery system.  The lottery system will help us more equitably offer limited spaces to families. To ensure a smooth registration process, please read the important information below regarding the new lottery registration process for 2021. CLICK HERE for lottery enrollment step-by-step procedures.

IMPORTANT DATES

April 19 - May 16
Registration for all families. 
To register, please go to: www.austintexas.gov/parksonline

May 19 
Specialty Camps (Nature Based, Inclusion and Museums and Cultural Centers) will begin contacting participants who received a lottery spot in camp.

May 26
General Recreation Camps will begin contacting participants who received a lottery spot in camp. Be on the lookout for an email or phone call as parents will have a very short turnaround time to confirm spots.

All individuals selected for camp will be asked to pay a $20 deposit for all selected weeks to ensure enrollment. The Department has made all deposits refundable this year.

Financial aid applications are being accepted.

Parks and Recreation staff is looking forward to providing a fun and meaningful summer program experience for your family that will prioritize the health and well-being of all campers and staff. Should you have any questions, please contact the recreation center where you registered. 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department provides opportunities wherein all individuals are accepted, included and welcomed to participate, play and recreate together. Individuals interested in additional services are encouraged to request modifications to participate in our programs. Should you or a family member have a disability or special need that requires assistance for participation in our programs, please call 512-974-3914 or refer to: https://www.austintexas.gov/department/inclusion-unit

 

Virtual Events

Lunch and Learn

Register on Eventbrite.

Want to spend your lunch break learning about nature, science, and natural history? Log onto our Lunch & Learn programs geared towards high school and college students, professionals, and citizen scientists. These programs will run throughout the spring season of 2021 on Tuesdays at 12:00 PM and will feature speakers from multiple exciting scientific fields!

Virtual Trade Counter - All Ages

Virtual Trade Counter! Wednesday - Friday 1:00 - 3:30, Saturday 2:00

Register at Eventbrite.

Live Virtual Zoom Trading Sessions

Wednesday - Friday at 1pm and 3pm | Saturday at 2pm.

How it Works

Find or make a cool item from nature!  Items accepted include: rocks, minerals, fossils, shells, bones, insects, insect parts, plant parts, nature art, drawings, photos taken, nature journal entries, etc.  Items not accepted include: anything from birds, anything collected from a preserve or area where collecting is not allowed, human artifacts such as arrowheads, intentionally killed animals, or whole plants.  

Register for a Zoom Virtual Trading Session for your selected time.  After you register on Eventbrite, you will receive a link to the Zoom page to log in at your time.  Register on Eventbrite.

Share your nature item with our virtual traders at your trade time on Zoom.  We will record your name, birthdate, and how many points you receive for your item and keep it for when we re-open the Trade Counter.  

Visit the Trade Counter at the Austin Nature & Science Center when we re-open and select items from our cool nature items "to buy" with the points you earned!

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