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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 Kindergarten (5 years old) -12 years old 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.

The Artist Access Program provides free or low-cost rehearsal and production spaces to both emerging and established performance artists from the Austin area. Created to address the needs of local artists, participating organizations collaborate with the City of Austin’s Cultural Centers to produce professional performances for both local and visiting audiences. AAP organizations produce work year round, which means there is always a show opening, cultural festival or workshop open to anyone who wishes to attend. Experience Austin authentically today!

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.

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 of Austin was founded in 1839 and shortly thereafter, the State of Texas deeded what is now known as Oakwood Cemetery to the City. Today, City of Austin Cemetery Operations, a division of the Parks and Recreation Department, operates five municipal cemeteries and maintains two family cemeteries. These cemeteries are located across the city of Austin and consist of 200+ acres of cemetery grounds, more than 80,000 burials, and five historic buildings.

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 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.

Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is excited to launch the new and improved Community Activated Park Projects Program (formally Community Initiated Project). PARD’s goal for the Community Activated Park Projects program (CAPP) is to streamline the proposal process for our 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.

Austin is a vibrant, unique, and passionate community. Our city is known for its 300 plus parks and the amazing community members, nonprofits, civic groups, and business partners who help to build and maintain them. The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is dedicated to creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places, and we value your interest in helping us achieve those goals.

View information on special event concessions, temporary concessions, new permanent concessions, and commercial use of dedicated parkland.

View our Fall 2019 Brochure

View our Summer 2019 Brochure

The arts school provides a variety of classes and camps for adults and youth. Call 512-974-4040 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.

National Golf Foundation Study

Austin Parks & Recreation contracted the National Golf Foundation to conduct a study of the City of Austin’s Golf System. The NGF was charged with the following 1) review the City’s golf operations 2) submit recommendations to improve efficiency of operations, and 3) make a determination on the future market potential of its golf facilities. The NGF report has now been completed and the full report will be posted shortly, please check back.



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.

Austin Parks and Recreation Department internships provide that critical link between the academic setting and the work environment.  They enable students to explore areas of interest and apply their knowledge to determine the appropriate work environments that best match their skills and abilities.

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 PARD contracted the NGF to conduct a study of the City of Austin’s Golf System. The NGF was charged with the following 1) review the City’s golf operations 2) submit recommendations to improve efficiency of operations, and 3) make a determination on the future market potential of its golf facilities. The NGF report has been completed is now available, please click here for the report.

Unlike the traditional museum setting, the Naturalist Workshop encourages the touching of specimen.  How much does a sugar pine cone weigh? Can you fit together a cow humerus and pelvis?  How many kinds of minerals can you see in one rock?  Tables laden with fur, rock, bones, plants, insects, a balance, magnifying glasses, and more provide opportunities for all ages to get in touch with items straight from nature.  Additionally, there are field guides and a sightings board for any living organisms you might encounter as you explore the Austin Nature & Science Center.

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.

On Saturday, February 9,16 and 23, 2019, customers may experience slower processing speed of the online registration site during summer camp registration.  Thank you for your patience.

Register Online


The City of Austin Park Ranger program was created to provide educational services and safety 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

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.

What is Pickleball?

A paddle sport created for all ages and skill levels. The rules are simple and the game is easy for beginners to learn, but can develop into a quick, fast-paced, competitive game for experienced players. It's a game for everyone!

Global Grooves. Austin Moves.

Connect with culture & celebrate Austin's rich diversity of music and dance.

The Aquatic Division operates 44 public pool facilities, which includes 7 Regional pools, 3 Community pools, 21 Neighborhood pools, 1 Wading pool, Barton Springs Pool and 11 splash pads.

Roving Leaders teach life skills and incorporate social-emotional learning to explore difficult topics teens encounter daily, such as violence, addiction and peer pressure. Youth are given a safe space to practice problem solving and encouraged to use critical thinking skills. The philosophy of the program is to aid and enhance the quality of life for the teens of Austin by providing a variety of quality recreation, education and cultural activities.

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.  

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.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is looking for extraordinary, talented people to join our Summer Camp Program. Work with kids and teens, be a role model, and make a difference in our community. Pay starting at $15/hour. Must be 18 years or older to apply.

Now Hiring Summer Camp Counselors


Summer Playgrounds Program 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 healthy living, character building, and teamwork through collaborative and active play.

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 12 recreation centers throughout Austin. While providing teens, grades 7th-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.

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!

Facts and History