If traditional pastimes seem too tame for your crew, not to worry: Central Texas has you covered. The Austin area is home to plenty of thrilling places that raise the pulse of pint-sized adventurers. Whether you get your kicks on land, in the air or on the water, we’ve rounded up the top spots for ollies, hairpins, pikes and helicopters.




Top pick: House Skate Park, 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd., Austin

Skating fans of all ages and skill levels flock to this 30,000-square-foot, centrally-located city park for free fun. Known officially as the Heath Eiland & Morgan Moss BMX and Skate Park, the facility features a bowl, several ramps and obstacles, a shaded area and a unisex restroom. BMX riders are also welcome. It’s recommended that riders wear closed-toe shoes, long pants, pads and a helmet. Because the park sits next door to the Austin Recreation Center, parking is free and plentiful.

More skating options:



Top pick: Duncan Park BMX Trails, 900 W 9th St., Austin

Tucked away on the edge of downtown and less than a half mile from House Skate Park sits a shady, home-grown mecca for BMX enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. For 25 years, local supporters have built and maintained the earthen banks, jumps and trails on this city-owned property. Admission is free. You’ll have to provide your own bike and gear; gloves and pads are recommended. Wear closed-toe shoes and a helmet for safety. Note that benches are available for seating, but there is no restroom on site. Metered parking spots are available on 9th St.

More BMX options:


Top pick: K1 Speed, 2500 McHale Ct., Austin

This indoor raceway in north Austin provides a taste of Formula One racing in air-conditioned comfort. Junior drivers can reach speeds of up to 25 mph, while adult drivers can reach 45 mph. Drivers race on a first-come, first-served basis, unless you’ve booked a group of 8 or more. On weekends and holidays, the wait can be up to 3 hours for drop-ins, but staff are prepared to give you an approximate race time, so you can leave and return or hang out and enjoy the café and arcade. Drivers must be at least 48 inches tall, and drivers under age 18 must have a signed waiver from a parent or guardian. Wear close-toe shoes. A helmet and head sock are provided. An annual $8 membership is required for all drivers. In addition, race fees are $22 for one race and $48 for three races.

More driving options:



UPDATE: NLand Surf Park has permanently closed.

Top pick: NLand Surf Park, 4836 E. Hwy 71, Del Valle

Austin may be miles from the coast, but surfing here is still possible. Just east of the airport sits a freshwater lagoon that produces waves every two minutes, each identical in size and power. Beginners to experts ride the same wave at different points along the wave to match ability level. Kids as young as 5 years old may surf with a private coach; kids ages 8 and up may surf with a coach or parent/guardian. A tubing option lets non-surfers “float the moat” along the outer edge of the lagoon. Surf passes are good for an hour of rides and start at $60. Soft board rental is included. Surf sessions start every hour, on the hour. Arrive about an hour before you expect to be on the water. Non-surfers can hang out at the shaded overlook for free or purchase a $5 shore pass for beach access. Memberships are also available. Note that all guests must sign a waiver. Parking is free.

More water options:



Top pick: Austin Bouldering Project, 979 Springdale Rd., Austin

Got a monkey or two on your hands? This indoor facility offers 25,000 square feet of air-conditioned climbing space, included a dedicated spot for young climbers and an advanced youth spot designed for more challenging climbs. Youth under age 14 must be supervised by a parent or guardian. Adults may supervise up to three youth in the youth area or up to two youth in the adult area. Everyone in the climbing area (climbers and non-climbers alike) must sign a waiver. Participants can bring their own climbing shoes and chalk bag or rent them from the facility. Single-day passes are $12 for youth and $16 for adults; 10-punch passes are $100 for youth and $130 for adults. Memberships are also available. Parking in the front can be tight; additional parking is available behind the building.

More climbing options:


Top pick: iFly Austin,13265 N US 183, Austin

Jumping out of an airplane sounds so low-tech after you hear about iFly Austin. The indoor flight experience uses the power of wind to float your body and give the sensation of freefall. After checking in, you’ll receive a training session; don a flight suit, goggles and helmet; and enter the flight chamber with an instructor. Participants can be as young as 3 years old. Youth under age 18 must have a signed waiver from a parent or guardian. Wear sneakers or running shoes, pants and a shirt without a collar. Reservations are recommended. Packages start at $70 for a two-flight session. A pack of 10 flights can be shared by up to 5 people for $300. Parking is free.

More big air options:

Globo Surf, for more on Water, Land and Snow Sports

By Sherida Mock, Editor, Austin Family Magazine

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