Written by Nicole Basham & Shelley Parks June, 11, 2015 (Contributing writers for Free Fun in Austin)
Here is a list of a few of our favorite parks for birthday parties, plus all you need to know to plan the best shindig your kid could dream up!
Bartholomew District Park – 5201 Berkman Drive, 78723
This park, just north of the Mueller development, is a whopping 57 acres and includes several playgrounds, swingsets, a creek, picnic areas, a disc golf course, sports fields, a shaded splash padand one of the hottest pools in town. Although I mention the pool, it is located quite a distance from the park and you would probably need to choose to have a party at either the park or the pool (there is an admission fee at the pool and groups of six or more are required to fill out a One Day Visit form). Please keep in mind that if you plan your party during the summer, when the Splash Pad is open, there are occasions when the Splash Pad is not operational for various reasons.
Bartholomew has three reservation sites at the park, and only two of the three can be reserved at any time. The shelters can be reserved between 10am and 10pm at a cost of $60 for City of Austin residents/Austin Energy customers for events under 100 people. A $10 permit fee is required for moonwalks, and carnival rides, miniature trains, petting zoos and water/splash slides are not permitted. Someone from your party must arrive at the reserved area by 11am. Two out of the three shelters have electric outlets. There is plenty of free parking nearby, as well as restroom facilities.
Brentwood Neighborhood Park – 6710 Arroyo Seco, 78757
Located right next to Brentwood Elementary School, Brentwood Park has a lot in 9 acres. There are a few playgrounds, swings, a basketball court, volleyball court and a large field which is great for kite flying, kickball or other party games. There is no fee to reserve any of the park’s picnic tables, but if you pick a nice day, you should probably arrive early to stake your claim. There is a neighborhood pool which is virtually hidden inside the park, next to the restrooms. Check here for the pool hours (the pool is always closed on Tuesdays). There is plenty of street parking available by the park.
Brushy Creek Lake Park
Brushy Creek Lake Park – 3300 Brushy Creek Road, Cedar Park, 78613
Brushy Creek might be best known for its popular Splash Pad, which provides a respite from the heat for zillions of squealing children. The park is 90 acres and includes playgrounds, a hike and bike trail, four pavilions, picnic tables and grills, a sand volleyball court, fishing pier and plenty of restrooms and parking. Two pavilions have a capacity of 50 and have access to water and electricity, and the other two have a capacity of 30 and no access to electricity. Rentals are made on a half or full day basis, and are $50 for a half day and $75 for a full day (non-residents pay an additional $25 for each reservation). Pavilions can be reserved online or by calling (512) 401-5500. Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is plenty of parking available in the Park’s several parking lots.
Dove Springs Park
Dove Springs Park - 5801 Ainez Drive, 78744
This park has been newly renovated and bosts an incredible, innovative design for its new play area! With nature pathways, a treehouse with three slides, a covered pavilion with picnic tables and plenty of parking, this park is perfect for a birthday party! Some of the features of the play area include a constructed dry-creek that bisects the play site that includes a new ADA accessible path for the bridge crossing over the creek bed, a custom-fabricated tree-form play structure, an interactive bird’s nest feature atop a viewing hill, lawns for gathering that are equipped with picnic tables and grills and much more.
On the property you have 3 baseball fields, 3 soccer fields, a swimming pool, 2 outdoor tennis courts, 1 outdoor basketball court, a pavilion, playscape, sand volleyball pit and a nature walking trail! Something for everyone to enjoy!
Little Stacy Park
Little Stacy Park – 1400 Alameda Dr., 78704
This shady park is a favorite for South Austinites. The park has multiple playgrounds, swings, a basketball court, picnic tables, tennis courts, volleyball courts and a free wading pool. You can read more about the pool here. Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Mary Moore Searight MetropolitanPark
Mary Moore Searight Metropolitan Park - 907 W. Slaughter Lane, 78748
Mary Searight Moore Park, located in South Austin near I-35, is a pretty fun park in Austin with something to do for everyone! It has a nice playground, a fun disc golf course, basketball courts, a one and a half mile loop for running or walking, volleyball courts and many more great trails for walking your dog (or horse!) It has covered picnic tables that overlook the small creek, and both areas are naturally shaded.
Patterson Neighborhood Park – 4200 Brookview Rd., 78722
The playscapes at Patterson Park are partially shaded, which is a major plus. There are also volleyball and basketball courts, multipurpose fields and a (free) neighborhood swimming pool which is closed on Wednesdays. In addition to picnic tables, which are available on a first-come, first-served basis, there is a covered shelter area at Patterson which you can reserve. The shelter can be reserved between 10am and 10pm at a cost of $60 for City of Austin residents/Austin Energy customers for events under 100 people. A $10 permit fee is required for moonwalks, and carnival rides, miniature trains, petting zoos and water/splash slides are not permitted. Someone from your party must arrive at the reserved area by 11am. Electricity is available and there is plenty of parking.
Pease District Park – 1100 Kingsbury St., 78703
Pease is a large park with lots to offer: playgrounds, trails, basketball and multipurpose fields, barbeque pits, a volleyball court and a splash pad. As we noted earlier, splash pads can malfunction, so make sure to have a back up plan just in case there are any problems. There are dozens of picnic tables and you can reserve the south end area picnic tables which can accommodate 150 guests. The south picnic tables can be reserved between 10am and 10pm at a cost of $60 for City of Austin residents/Austin Energy customers for events under 100 people. A $10 permit fee is required for moonwalks, and carnival rides, miniature trains, petting zoos and water/splash slides are not permitted. For more information on fees and how to make a reservation, click here. Parking nearby is limited, and the Park hosts many groups throughout the year.
Ramsey Neighborhood Park – 4301 N. Rosedale Ave., 78756
Ramsey is centrally-located with a new climbing structure located next to the playgrounds. The playscapes are partially shaded and there are also tennis courts, a basketball court, sandbox, large field, barbeque pits and a (free) swimming pool, which is closed on Tuesdays. Picnic tables are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There is plenty of parking nearby.
Rosewood Neighborhood Park - 2300 Rosewood Ave., 78702
When some people think of parks, images of playground equipment and other facilities for kids come to their minds. Others daydream of serene locations with picnic tables under trees. Some picture a mix of athletic and aquatic facilities, where people of all ages can get active or cool off while spending time outdoors. Rosewood Park has all of these facilities (and more!) - all within a neighborhood park in East Austin.
This East Austin park has a lot of fun things going on! It sits next to the George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center, and has some beautiful grounds with large trees on it. There is a covered pavilion, great places for picnic (with tables under a large oak tree) and a splash pad. With room to run, this would be a good location for a larger group of children. There is also the Rosewood Recreation Center on the property!
Shipe Neighborhood Park – 4400 Avenue G., 78751
Shipe’s playscape is partially shaded, as are the swings. In addition, there is a large field, a basketball court, tennis courts, a partially shaded wading pool (closed on Mondays) and a (free) neighborhood pool (closed on Tuesdays). There are only a few picnic tables, and these are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Springwoods Neighborhood Park – 9117 Anderson Mill Rd., 78729
Springwoods is a shady park with several different play structures, tennis courts, a walking trail and a large field. A large and small picnic pavilion are available for rental. Electricity is available. The pavilions can be reserved between 10am and 10pm at a cost of $60 for City of Austin residents/Austin Energy customers for events under 100 people. A $10 permit fee is required for moonwalks, and carnival rides, miniature trains, petting zoos and water/splash slides are not permitted. Parking is limited.
Zilker Metropolitan Park – 2100 Barton Springs Rd., 78704
Zilker Metropolitan Park is considered “Austin’s most-loved park.” This 351-acre park is home to a variety of recreation opportunities and special events for individuals and families. The main playground area has a large, multi-age playscape with swings and picnic areas, six of which are reservable. There is no grilling near the playscape. The picnic tables can be reserved between 10am and 10pm at a cost of $60 for City of Austin residents/Austin Energy customers for events under 100 people. A $10 permit fee is required for moonwalks (which are not allowed near the playscape), and carnival rides, miniature trains, petting zoos and water/splash slides are not permitted. For more information on fees and how to make a reservation, click here. Electricity is available in some areas. Parking is $5/car on weekends in March-September and on holidays. Party planners can also consider purchasing tickets for attendees to ride the Zilker Zephyr. Lastly, you can plan an active birthday on the Great Lawn across the street, climbing Rock Island, playing Frisbees or having a picnic, although you’ll have to forgo restroom facilities (there is a water fountain).