Thursday, June 16, 2016

Places to Ride Trains with Kids in Austin


Zilker Zephyr

 2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin
(512) 478-8286

Located in the gem of Austin, Zilker Park, you can hop on the train in between playing at the park, swimming at Barton Springs Pool, or kicking a ball around in the fields. The Zilker Zephyr takes you on a 20-25 minute train ride that brings you under a bridge, through a tunnel and around the park for great views of the city and its inhabitants. Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The train leaves every hour on the hour through the week and departs every 30-40 minutes on the weekends, weather permitting.

Cost: Children: $2.00 (Children under 1 are free), Adults: $3.00. Cash only.

Tip: Pack a lunch or buy one at the concession stand. There are typically plenty of tables around to picnic on or bring a blanket to spread out on the grass. Bring sunscreen…. it’s not a covered train.

Just Train Fun

The Domain
3220 Feathergrass Court
(512) 795-0273

Lakeline Mall
11200 Lakeline Mall Drive
Cedar Park
(512) 795-0273

Round Rock Premium Outlet
4401 N. IH 35
Round Rock
(512) 795-0273

Just Train Fun operates trackless trains complete with bells, smoke and whistles at three Austin-area malls. Train rides last between 8-10 minutes. This is a fun ride for the kids as the engineers work hard to also be entertaining while driving around the mall. There are working bells, smoke and whistles as well!

Just Train Fun is located in  Phase II of The Domain only on weekends including Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The trains operate at Lakeline Mall and Round Rock seven days a week, weather permitting at Round Rock Premium Outlet.

Cost: Each ride ticket costs $5. For every four tickets purchased, one is FREE! For five tickets, two are free. Adults and kids (except for kids under 1 year old) need a ticket. Tickets can be purchased in the self-serve kiosk located on the south end of the mall. Tickets do not expire and are accepted at all three locations.

Capital Metro MetroRail

Nine stations are located along the 32-mile line, and all trains stop at each station. If you'd like to drive your car and leave it at the station, use the Park & Ride lots at the Leander, Lakeline and Howard stations. The MetroRail is great option when your kids want to ride a real train! The trains are clean and comfortable with a couple of tables in the very front that are perfect for playing a game of cards while traveling to and fro. No bathrooms are available so go before you go!

Austin Steam Train

401 E. Whitestone Blvd., Ste C-100, Cedar Park
(512) 477-8468

The Austin Steam Train is a REAL train! All cars are pulled by a 1960 Alco diesel locomotive.  The Hill Country Flyer is a 66 mile round trip journey that takes you through the Hill Country with a two hour layover in Burnet. The total ride is 6 hours, departing at 10 am and returning at 4:00 pm. The Bertram flyer takes you on a 44 mile round trip journey that spans the South San Gabriel River and stops for a 15 minute layover at the historic Bertram Depot which features a fully restored operator’s bay, vintage operating equipment and historic photographs. This ride is 2.5 hours round trip with a 20 minute layover. departing at 10:00 am and returning at 12:30 pm on Saturdays with an additional option on Sundays, departing at 2:00 pm and returning at 4:30 pm.

Cost: Tickets start at $20.

Kiddie Acres

4800 West Howard Lane, Austin
(512) 255-4131

This mini amusement park in north Austin has a train ride that circles the property twice. Note: The train horn is incredibly loud! Best part of the ride: the railroad crossing has real train crossing sounds. 
Cost: $4.50. 

Austin Zoo

10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin
(512) 288-1490

The train ride consists of a scenic ride through the hill country lasting about 15 minutes. Some of the zoo’s off-display animals can be observed from the train as well, including emus, alpacas and longhorns. There ride can be somewhat interactive with your kids as the Zoo has placed art and items throughout the property. 

Bonus: this train is covered so it would be a pleasant ride in the summer since the sun is partially blocked from shining directly down on you and your kiddos!

Cost: $2.50 (children under 2 are free) but that is on top of museum admission.

Cedar Rock Railroad in the Southwest Williamson County Regional Park

3005 County Road 175, Leander
(512) 413-1705

The Cedar Rock Railroad is a fantastic quarter-scale train that takes passengers on a relaxing 1.3 mile ride through the nature-filled fields and forests of the park… unforgettable fun for all ages! The Railroad is closed on Mondays, open Tuesday through Sunday year round, weather permitting. Train rides depart every half hour on the :15 and :45. There are picnic tables, snacks and drinks available for purchase in the Shady Oak Junction Depot and a play area with a pretend train for the kiddos. Note: There is not a bathroom onsite or even within walking distance with smaller kids. 

Cost: Tickets are only $2.50 per person, kids 1 and under are free.

Landa Park Miniature Train 

164 Landa Park Drive, New Braunfels
(830) 625-8285

Landa Park offers a wide range of activities for the family, including swimming pools, miniature golf, boat rentals, play areas, picnic spots, bbq pits, walking and jogging trails, a fishing pier, and much more! But that's not all... there's also a miniature train for the kids to ride. Read more about Landa Park here.

Cost: $3 per person, kids under 1 are free.  

Share your photos on Instagram as you complete items off the Austin Summer Fun Checklist for Kids for a chance to win weekly prizes. Tag #AustinSummerFun and be sure your profile is set to public. We can't wait to see your family having fun together this summer!

Catherine Prystup is mama to three kiddos ranging in age from 4 to 17. Looking for more wisdom on how to spend your days? Head on over to, a resource website for Austin-area moms (and dads, too!).

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