The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers after school programs for the community that foster youth development in a safe and caring environment. Our goal is to create opportunities for youth ages 5-12 to engage in critical thinking and exercise decision-making skills.
Discover local art and artists. Watch a play under the stars or in a vibrant community theater. Visit a serene and natural setting from the work of a 20th century American sculptor.
Athletics organizes adult recreational leagues for men, women and co-ed teams. Athletics reserves the Krieg and Havins softball complexes. Athletics partners with non-profit Youth Sport Organizations to provide recreational opportunities to Austin youth. Athletics collaborates with Recreation Centers to set standards for Youth Sports leagues.
The History, Arts and Nature programs of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department give voice to Austin's imagination, abundant nature and colorful past. Visit our museums, cultural centers, art markets, nature centers and outdoor theater for a memorable glimpse of what makes Austin unique.
The Naturalist Workshop is the perfect place to explore the natural world and get a close-up view through microscopes and magnifying glasses, use a balance to check and compare objects' weights and identify their finds with field guides. The exhibit features many touchable specimens. Within the Naturalist Workshop, and its many fascinating nature exhibits, you will find the Trade Counter. The Junior Naturalist Program is an engaging way for kids to study nature with their peers.
Visitors of all ages can experience and learn about a wide variety of awesome wildlife, hosted in a zoo setting, through touring the Birds of Prey, Small Wonders and Mammal Enclosure. By partnering with licensed rehabilitators many of these animals are given a permanent home. Some are former pets that have imprinted on humans and others have injuries that prevent them from surviving in the wild. At the Austin Nature & Science Center (ANSC) these amazing animals can live out their lives receiving daily care, grooming, quality food, medication and veterinary assistance.
The City has experienced a growing demand for the use of parkland by a variety of private commercial entities including health and fitness consultants, dog trainers, yoga instructors, and other outdoor professional service providers. In order to effectively manage the commercial use of parkland, the Parks and Recreation Department established a Commercial Use of Parkland permit, policy and fees for regularly scheduled fitness activity in certain recommended park sites.
Community projects provide an opportunity for neighbors, community groups and partners to raise funds and in-kind contributions to implement park improvement projects that are in alignment with PARD goals and meet community priorities. PARD collaborates with community partners to develop resource and execute park improvements.
View information on special event concessions, temporary concessions, new permanent concessions, and commercial use of dedicated parkland.
The arts school provides a variety of classes and camps for adults and youth. Call 512-974-4040, fax 512-974-4039 or select one of the following links to view additional information:
Geographic/Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) incorporates data, software and hardware to capture, display, analyze, and manage spatially referenced information. A few advantages to utilizing GIS includes improved communication, enhanced record keeping, cost savings, increased efficiency, and better decision making. Global Positioning System (GPS) is a system of earth-orbiting earth satellites that allow users to determine their exact locations on the earth.
The City of Austin owns six golf courses and one short practice course all focused on a great golf experience at an affordable price.
The Health Promotions Unit is committed to providing lifelong recreational, cultural and educational opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles and environments which create a sustainable and livable community.
The Health Promotions Unit supports active, healthy living by offering free programs to the Austin community.
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.
Memorial benches allow your loved one’s memory to live on in an act of service to our city parks. Your contribution will be a great enhancement to many people’s quality of life.
Enjoy music in Austin Parks this summer. Bring a lawn chair, enjoy a musical, go swimming, watch a movie, or sit on the grass and enjoy some great local entertainment.
Austin’s preserve system began in 1935 with the creation of Zilker Nature Preserve. Over the years, the City of Austin has acquired over 2513 acres of preserve land. Preserve land is a unique type of park land that is set aside because it provides essential endangered species habitat, includes a unique natural feature such as a cave or stream, or provides a prime example of a specific type of ecosystem. Preserve land is set aside by either purchasing property from private or commercial land owners, if an area is designated as endangered species habitat or if it is deeded to the city.
The Parks and Recreation Department operates 12 off leash areas in Austin for you to enjoy with your dog. In general, all parks are open for public use each day from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. unless otherwise posted. At times, access is limited or affected by events or maintenance issues.
The City of Austin Park Ranger program was created to provide educational services, safety and security in Austin’s parks and recreational facilities.
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
Register online for Parks and Recreation activities and programs.
The Office of Special Events coordinates picnic and facility reservations, large special events/festivals, and commercial filming/photography requests for movies, commercials and advertising campaigns within the Austin parks system.
Non-profit organizations, conservancies, community groups and businesses are invited and encouraged to partner with the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to enhance and improve parks, increase recreational and cultural opportunities and preserve natural areas in Austin.
Global Grooves. Austin Moves.
Connect with culture & celebrate Austin's rich diversity of music and dance.
The Aquatic Division operates 51 public pool facilities, which includes 7 municipal pools, 28 neighborhood pools, 3 wading pools, Barton Springs Pool, 11 splash pads, and 1 rental facility (Commons Ford Ranch).
Roving Leaders teach life skills and incorporate social-emotional learning to explore difficult topics teens encounter daily, such as violence and addiction. Youth are given a safe space to practice problem solving and encouraged to use critical thinking skills.
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of programs and services for people 50 years of age and older. Activities include traveling, pursuing old hobbies and learning new ones, socializing with friends, meeting new people, increasing knowledge, becoming and staying physically fit, supplementing income, contributing to the community and much more!
Slacklining is the sport of walking a small, flat nylon rope between two anchor points. The most common anchor points for slackline ropes are between two trees. Because there is potential for patron injury and damage to tree bark, surrounding turf and landscaped areas through repeated and overuse for slacklining, Austin Parks and Recreation Department desires to regulate slacklining activities.
Permits are required for all slacklining activities in parks. There is NOT a fee for this permit.
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of summer programs for children 5-12 years old, and some facilities provide preschool and teen programs. Whether you’re looking for active play, outdoor adventure, strategic games or cultural activities, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s summer camps have something for everyone. PARD’s goal is to provide children with exciting experiences through structured recreation in a safe and welcoming environment.
Come lead, play and teach at an Austin Parks and Recreation Summer Camp. Be a role model, create an adventure, imagine a world and make a difference while you're working! From games to recreation activities, swimming to teaching art, we have a job that’s right for you. Click on one of our application links below to get started:
Summer Playgrounds is a free drop-in program for children to participate in fun, supervised, outdoor activities during the summer months. Summer Playgrounds staff provide quality recreational experiences that promote creativity, teamwork and healthy lifestyles. Activities include organized sports, arts and crafts, games, team building and nutrition lessons.
Austin’s Community Gardens are currently producing an estimated 100,000 pounds of fresh local, organic produce for Austin residents every year! They are also places where both adults and children learn, fostering community and good-neighbor relationships.
The recreational Swim Team Program is organized to develop the potential and serve the recreational needs of boys and girls who are interested in learning about competitive swimming. See the Aquatics brochure for more information.
The purpose of the municipal tennis centers is to offer year-round tennis play and supervised tennis activities to the community through comprehensive programs for all ages.
Totally Cool, Totally Art (TCTA) is a free after school art program that takes place in 15 recreation centers throughout Austin. While providing teens, grades 7-12th, a chance to discover the wonders of self-expression through a multitude of mediums.
Austin’s urban forest provides millions of dollars annually in social, economic, and environmental benefits to the community and enhances the quality of life for Austin residents. Our community's tree resource is an integral part of what makes Austin one of the most attractive cities in the country. As the city continues to grow and develop the urban forest remains an integral part of the Austin landscape, quietly performing as one of our most invaluable community members and infrastructure components.
Each year thousands of Austinites volunteer to help the city’s parks, preserves, trails, playgrounds, athletic and recreational facilities flourish through individual and group volunteerism. The Volunteer program invites community and business groups to partner with us one-time or on an ongoing basis.
Wildlife Austin promotes the creation and conservation of wildlife habitats through community-wide collaboration and public education, and helps bridge existing city initiatives that encourage a well balanced and healthy urban environment for people and wildlife. Austin has a long track record of being dedicated to preserving and enhancing our environment. All of us have an important role to play! We all can make a profound contribution to keep Austin wild!
The Zilker Tree stands 155 feet tall and is composed of 39 streamers, each holding 81 multicolored, 25-watt bulbs - totaling 3,309 lights. At the top of the tree, a double star measures 10 feet from point to point. The double star displays 150 frosted bulbs. This unique spiral pattern of lights was created by City of Austin electricians. At its circumference, the tree measures 380 feet. The diameter is 120 feet. The base of the tree is made up of 19 utility poles, each 14 feet tall, arranged in a circle around the Moonlight Tower.