Bird in a park

Park Planning

The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) Park Planning Division overseas acquisition of parkland and development of parkland. Many of the development projects are completed with assistance from community groups.


Community Activated Park Projects

The Community Activated Park Projects Program (CAPP) goal is to streamline the proposal process for nonprofit partners and community member’s seeking to initiate improvements on parkland.  CAPP proposals will be reviewed on a quarterly basis by the PARD Review Committee (some exceptions apply – please read the proposal form for details). The proposal encompasses all phases of project inception.

Community PARKnerships

The PARKnerships program coordinates the efforts of partners and volunteers. By leveraging resources and talent, we can enhance Austin’s parks and help grow a sense of community and stewardship. Through the PARKnerships program, community members and business partners can adopt their park, participate in volunteer days, propose enhancements at their local park, and donate resources. By working together, we create community!

Cities Connection Children to Nature

The Cities Connecting Children to Nature (CCCN) initiative helps city leaders and their partners ensure that all children have the opportunity to play, learn and grow in nature, from urban parks and community gardens to the great outdoors.

Historic Austin Parks

The mission of Austin Parks and Recreation, Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism Program is to promote and protect the irreplaceable historic and cultural resources of Austin's park system. We work with the community to preserve, maintain and promote these local treasures so that they will be here for generations to come. Plan a trip to Austin today and immerse yourself our city's rich, diverse history.


Geographic/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) incorporates data, software and hardware to capture, display, analyze, and manage spatially referenced information. 

Parks and Recreation Department's (PARD) has extensive GIS databases that supports the department as a whole and other City of Austin Departments.  We utilize GIS for asset and maintenance management, park planning and design, parkland dedication, community gardens, mowing schedules and locations, forestry, historic resources, etc.

Park and Facility Planning

Park and Facility Planning are a planning processes that include collaboration with neighborhood stakeholders to identify desired park uses. Staff may also review other adopted or recognized plans for consistency with the proposed park amenity.

Parkland Dedication

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, updated in 2007 and again in 2016.

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Apply for youth program scholarships and financial aid with the Parks and Recreation Department. 

Facility Reservations

The Parks and Recreation Department's Office of Special Events coordinates reservations and filming requests at a number of facility and picnic sites within the Austin parks system. Contact the office at 512-974-6797 to set up a facility reservation

Instructional Contractors at Recreation Facilities

Adults in art program

The Department utilizes independent contract instructors to provide unique programming services at its recreational facilities.  A contract gives you the ability to have your programs/activities based on the needs and space availability at our Facilities or Parks. 

Goals for Contract Instruction

The City of Austin has developed a parks viewer using Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping technology that allows you to find parks and facilities in Austin. See a map in street or aerial view of a park by selecting the "streets" or "imagery" button in the top right corner. For additional features, select the "Menu" button in the middle of the screen.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department provides an online class schedule. You may search the site by location or by category and sort to find a particular program.

Reserve Parkland for Commercial Use

The department has observed a growing demand for use of City parklands by a variety of private commercial entities. Go to Commercial Use of Dedicated Parkland webpage.

Swimming Lessons and Instruction

Swim lessons are available for students ages 6 months to adult. Lifeguard training classes are available for persons 15 years of age and older, while water safety instructor training classes are available for persons 16 years of age or older who wish to apply to work for the Aquatic Division.

Contact the Aquatics Office at 512-974-9330 for more information.

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is fortunate to have volunteers who execute youth sports programs on behalf of the City. View the Youth Sports Austin website for information on available youth sports in the Austin area.