From outdoor adventures to indoor attractions, there is no shortage of things to do in Waco with kids! Located in Central Texas between Austin and Dallas, Waco is one of our favorite spots for a family fun day! With so much to fill the hours with littles and big kids, families are sure to love their day spent in Waco.
Whether you are a local resident or a visitor to the area, you are sure to find something that will spark your child’s imagination and create lasting memories. Check out some of our top things to do in Waco with kids, so you can plan your next family adventure! All of the spots below are crowd pleasers in our family – especially seeing the Waco mammoths and eating cupcakes and taking photos at Magnolia!
EXPLORE WACO MAMMOTH NATIONAL MONUMENT
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Waco with kids. This unique archaeological site features the remains of more than 24 Columbian mammoths, as well as the remains of other prehistoric animals.
The site also includes a world-class museum, where visitors can learn about the mammoths’ lives, behaviors, and their eventual extinction. Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the mammoth fossils and learn from knowledgeable park rangers. Whether your child is a budding paleontologist or simply fascinated by these massive prehistoric beasts, a visit to the Waco Mammoth National Monument is sure to make for a fun afternoon.
TASTE TEST AT THE DR. PEPPER MUSEUM
Located in the heart of downtown Waco, the Dr. Pepper Museum is housed in the original bottling plant where Dr. Pepper was first produced in the late 1800s. Today, the museum offers visitors a fascinating look into the history and culture of this iconic soda.
One of the highlights of the museum is the vintage soda fountain, where visitors can try a variety of Dr. Pepper flavors and other soft drinks made by the company over the years. The museum also features a collection of historic Dr. Pepper memorabilia, including vintage advertisements, bottles, and packaging. Visitors can see the original bottling line in action, learn about the chemical processes involved in creating soda, and even get a behind-the-scenes look at the modern bottling process used today.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Dr. Pepper Museum also hosts a variety of special events throughout the year, including tastings, lectures, and hands-on activities for kids. And if you’re looking for a unique souvenir, be sure to visit the museum gift shop, where you’ll find a wide selection of Dr. Pepper-themed merchandise.
SHOP + PLAY AT MAGNOLIA AT THE SILOS
Magnolia at the Silos is not only a popular destination for fans of HGTV’s Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, but Magnolia is also packed with family-friendly activities and attractions that are sure to keep kids of all ages entertained.
One of the highlights of a visit to Magnolia at the Silos is playing whiffle ball on the field. This expansive grassy area is the perfect place for a friendly game of baseball. My 10 year old sons are big fans of being let loose to run around and burn off some energy on the spacious and beautiful lawn. When it is time for a break, lounge on the striped lawn pillows for a recharge.
No visit to Magnolia at the Silos would be complete without trying the famous cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery. From classic flavors like vanilla and chocolate to more unique options like lemon lavender (my favorite!), there’s a cupcake for every taste. You can stand in line at the bakery (there is always a line!) or head to the cupcake truck near the baseball field for a quick dessert pickup.
For tweens and teens, the greenhouse at Magnolia at the Silos is a must-visit spot for taking fun photos. This charming structure is filled with lush greenery and natural light, making it the perfect backdrop for a photo shoot. And with plenty of seating and Instagram-worthy vignettes, it’s a great place to relax and take in the scenery. We are huge fans of the wooden doors in the garden as well as the adorable chair made of tree vines and branches.
Children of all ages will love going into Magnolia Seed & Supply to pick up flower seeds to plant at home. *Hot Tip* Plant them in the fall so they will properly bloom in the spring! They also have the CUTEST children’s books here!
VISIT THE TEXAS SPORTS HALL OF FAME
Texas Sports Hall of Fame celebrates the achievements of some of Texas’ most famous athletes and coaches. The museum is home to a collection of exhibits and interactive displays that highlight the accomplishments of Texas sports legends, from football and baseball players to Olympic athletes and coaches. Visitors can explore the museum’s galleries and learn about the history of Texas sports and the athletes who have helped shape it.
The museum also features a few of interactive exhibits that allow visitors to experience the thrill of the game for themselves and makes the museum an especially fun thing to do in Waco with kids.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Texas Sports Hall of Fame also hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including guest appearances by athletes, book signings, and fundraising events so check the calendar before visiting if you want to take advantage of this highlight!
ENJOY HOLIDAY MAGIC IN DECEMBER
Waco is one of the best Texas Christmas towns with so much for children to explore! Head to magnolia for a visit with a vintage Santa Claus and gorgeous décor. Downtown turns into a wonderland with snow tubing, live music and fireworks displays.
You’ll want to check out the Dr. Pepper Museum, Baylor University’s Christmas on 5th, and the Cameron Park Zoo for even more festive fun.
SEE THE CAMERON PARK ZOO
Cameron Park Zoo is a fun and family-friendly attraction located in Waco. Home to over 1,700 animals from around the world, the zoo offers visitors the chance to get up close and personal with a wide variety of species.
My children’s two favorite exhibits were the komodo dragon and the playful lemur monkeys – we could have watched them all day. Next time we will tour the exhibits counter clockwise so that we see them first!
One of the highlights of a visit to Cameron Park Zoo is the African Savanna exhibit. Here, visitors can watch as giraffes, zebras, and ostriches roam the grassy plains, just as they would in their natural habitat. The exhibit also features a watering hole where visitors can see the animals gather to drink and socialize.
Another must-see exhibit at Cameron Park Zoo is the Brazos River Country exhibit. This area features a variety of native Texas species, including American alligators, bald eagles, and white-tailed deer. The otter exhibit is the cutest and little visitors can slide on a clear slide right through the exhibit!
SWIM AT AIRPORT BEACH PARK
Airport Beach Park is a beautiful and popular Waco swimming spot.. This park is located on the shores of Lake Waco and offers visitors a variety of amenities and activities, making it a great place to spend a summer day.
The park’s sandy beach area is a great spot for swimming and sunbathing. The sandy beach slopes gently into the water, making it a safe and accessible spot for swimmers.
In addition to swimming, Airport Beach Park has picnic areas, camping spots, fishing, and a boat ramp, providing plenty of options for visitors looking to spend a fun-filled day by the lake.
FALL + SPRING FUN AT WESTERN BELLE FARM
While not exactly in Waco, this gem is located just outside the city about 20 minutes away in the town of West. Western Belle Farm is open seasonally for their Spring Sunflower Festival and Fall Pumpkin Festival. They are seriously one of the cutest pumpkin patches near Dallas!
They are filled to the brim with activities such as barn slides, carriage wheel see saws, pumpkin cannons, farm animals, mini ziplines, barrel trains, playgrounds, pumpkin patches, sunflower fields with the sweetest of wooden swings for photos, and gorgeous rustic, Southern décor.
Full disclosure, I haven’t tried it yet, but rumor has it they have the BEST pink lemonade! Update! I HAVE tried it now and it is delicious!! Pair that with some popcorn, and take home some U-pick zinnias and sunflowers and you are sure to end up with the perfect day for kids and adults!
WALK THE WACO SUSPENSION BRIDGE
The Waco Suspension Bridge is a beloved icon of the city of Waco and a fun stop for any traveler visiting the area. This historic bridge, which was completed in 1870, spans the Brazos River and was one of the first suspension bridges to be built in Texas. It served as a vital link between north and south Waco for over 100 years until it was converted into a pedestrian-only bridge in the 1970s.
Today, visitors can walk across the bridge and enjoy beautiful views of the river and the city skyline. The bridge is also the site of many community events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and even a weekly farmers market.
VISIT THE TEXAS RANGER HALL OF FAME
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas is a must stop spot for those interested in the history of law enforcement in the Lone Star State. The museum features exhibits on the legendary Texas Rangers, who have been an important part of Texas history since the 19th century. Visitors can learn about the Rangers’ role in the gaining independence from Spain, Mexican Revolution, the Civil War, and their efforts to maintain law and order on the Texas frontier.
The museum also showcases the tools and equipment used by the Rangers, including firearms and uniforms. The Hall of Fame honors those who have made significant contributions to the Texas Rangers throughout history.
LEARN AT THE MAYBORN MUSEUM
The Mayborn Museum is a fascinating and interactive museum located on the campus of Baylor University. This museum offers visitors the chance to explore the world around them through a variety of hands-on exhibits and educational programs.
One of the highlights of the Mayborn Museum is the Natural History exhibit, which features a wide range of fossils, rocks, and minerals. Visitors can learn about the geological history of Texas and explore the different types of rocks and minerals found in the state.
Another popular exhibit at the Mayborn Museum is the Jeanes Discovery Center, which is designed for younger visitors. The center features a variety of interactive exhibits and play areas, bubbles, SpaceX, and a tea room.
FLOAT AT WACO SURF
Waco Surf is an exciting and unique destination for travelers looking for fun in the sun and water. One of the main attractions at Waco Surf is the world’s longest lazy river! It stretches one mile long and provides a relaxing float experience for visitors of all ages as it is only three feet deep.
The park also features a relaxing beach area, where visitors can soak up the sun and enjoy the warm Texas weather. For more adventurous visitors, Waco Surf offers wakeboarding on the park’s private lake, where riders can hit the waves and try out new tricks. Private surf lessons are also available for those looking to improve their skills or try something new.
VIEW THE SOLAR ECLIPSE IN 2024
I don’t typically list one time events in these lists of things to do – but this one is worth noting!
Did you know that a Texas solar eclipse is coming in April 2024 and that Waco is in the path of totality? This means that Waco locals and visitors will get an amazing view of a total solar eclipse on April 8th from any park, large parking lot, or rooftop in the city!
FAQs ABOUT THINGS TO DO IN WACO WITH KIDS
What is there to do in Waco Texas for kids?
Waco offers a ton of fun activities for kids. One of the most popular attractions is the Cameron Park Zoo, which houses over 1,700 animals from all over the world. Another great destination is the Dr. Pepper Museum, where kids can learn about the history of the beloved soda brand and even try some unique flavors. For those who love the outdoors, Waco also offers hiking and biking trails, as well as opportunities to go fishing or boating on Lake Waco. The Waco Mammoth National Monument is another unique spot, where kids can explore the site of a real mammoth bone dig and learn about prehistoric creatures. Overall, there are many of options for kids to have a fun and educational experience in Waco!
Is Waco a day trip?
Whether Waco, Texas is a day trip or not depends on your location and how much time you have available. If you are coming from a nearby city or town, such as Dallas or Austin, then Waco can easily be visited as a day trip. The drive from Dallas to Waco is approximately 1.5 hours, and from Austin, it’s about 1 hour and 45 minutes.
However, if you are coming from a further location, such as Houston or San Antonio, then it may be more challenging to visit Waco as a day trip, and an overnight stay may be necessary.
Is Waco Texas worth visiting?
Waco has undergone a revitalization in recent years and has become a popular tourist destination. There are many things to see and do in Waco, including exploring the historic downtown area, visiting museums such as the Dr. Pepper Museum and Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, and experiencing nature at Cameron Park and Lake Waco.
One of the most popular attractions in Waco is the Magnolia Market at the Silos, which was created by Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper.” It features unique stores, food trucks, and a beautiful outdoor space.
Also, Waco has a rich history and culture, which can be seen at places like the Waco Suspension Bridge and the Waco Mammoth National Monument.
Is Waco Texas family-friendly?
Waco is a SUPER family-friendly destination with many activities and attractions for adults and children. Cameron Park Zoo is a great place for families to visit and see a variety of animals from all over the world. The Dr. Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame are also great options for families with older children who are interested in history and culture.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument is another popular attraction for families, offering the opportunity to explore the site of a real mammoth bone dig and learn about prehistoric creatures. Waco also has many outdoor activities for families to enjoy, such as hiking and biking trails, fishing, and boating on Lake Waco. The city also has several parks and playgrounds, making it easy to find a spot to relax and play.
Things to Do with Kids in Waco
Waco offers a variety of activities for families with children of all ages. From exploring the natural beauty of Cameron Park Zoo and Airport Beach Park to the fascinating educational experiences at the Mayborn Museum and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, there is always something to see and do.
Don’t forget to stop by Magnolia at the Silos to indulge in cupcakes and other treats, as well as take memorable photos by the greenhouse. There are so many things to do with kids in Waco!