7 great Austin museums for kids to check out this summer

Bryce Hohertz, 7, of Dripping Springs, and his brother Cole, 5, look through spectroscopes to observe the spectrum of light at WeatherFest at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Sometimes you just need to head inside and feed young minds with art, science, natural history and more. Check out these museums and their summer activities.

  1. Bullock Museum. Yes, you might have been to the Bullock Museum before, but have you been there on Living History Days when people dress up as historical figures? The first one of the summer is 10 a.m. June 1. Also don’t miss the Free First Sunday events with themed programs: Road Trip, June 3; Red White and Blue, July 2; Game On, Aug. 6. Bullock Museum, 1800 N. Congress Ave. thestoryoftexas.com

    Jude Kozakiewicz, 3, paints a picture at the Blanton’s WorkLab. Art supplies are provided for children of all ages to create, paint, draw, design, and doodle. Julia Robinson/ for American-Statesman

  2. Blanton Museum. Each summer, the Blanton brings creative programs for different age groups that have you learning about art as well as making it: 3ft Deep for ages 3-5, 10 a.m. Tuesdays June 13-July 25; Artists and Authors, for ages 5-8, 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Thursdays, June 15-July 27; Deeper Dives for ages 8-12, 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Fridays, June 16-July 28. Plus you can make art in the WorkLab, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays, June 14-July 26; and families with kids ages 8-12 can go on a Family Art Quest, 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, June 14-July 26. Blanton Museum. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. blantonmuseum.org

    Luke Keyes, of Austin Oddities was on hand to help kids and grown-ups in the art of super large bubble making much to the delight of his ever growing audience. Laguna Gloria Contemporary Art Museum holds a family day the second Saturday of the month. RALPH BARRERA/ AMERICAN-STATESMAN 2015

  3. Contemporary Austin. Explore modern art at the museum’s two locations: downtown and Laguna Gloria. You can even take classes there all summer. Its signature program for families is its free Families Create second Saturday of the month event 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Laguna Gloria. Exploradores Del Arte, June 10; Out of the Past, July 8; and Ice Painting, Aug. 12. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. In June, you get a bonus family day with the opening of two new sculptures by Ai Weiwei 10 a.m.-noon June 3. Waller Creek Delta, 74 Trinity St., near the Boathouse. thecontemporaryaustin.org

    Kids learn to do woodworking at The Thinkery. Photo by Hunter Douglas

  4. Thinkery. Our children’s museum has come a long way. It’s brought down the prices of many of its programs. For the youngest among us (younger than 3), check out Baby Bloomers 9 a.m. Monday and Saturdays. Each month has a theme, and every week there are special performances. $5. We’re also looking forward to these $8 workshops for ages 4 and up: Shark Tank, 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. June 3-4, June 17-18; Build a Better Boat, 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. June 10-11, June 24-25. July and August workshops haven’t been announced yet. Thinkery, 1830 Simond Ave. thinkeryaustin.org

    A topographical sand map allows you to create mountains and watch the topography lines change.
    Hill Country Science Mill.


  5. Hill Country Science Mill. If you haven’t yet taken the one-hour drive to Johnson City to see this science museum, you’re missing out. It’s a true hands-on treasure. In June, kids ages 8 and older can also learn to turn Trash to Treasure and make art with artist McKay Otto. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4 p.m. June 10. Free, but reserve your spot at programs@sciencemill.org. Hill Country Science Mill, 101 S. Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City. sciencemill.org

    A T. rex skull is part of “The Genesis Exhibit” at the Texas Museum of Science & Technology. Nicole Villalpando/American-Statesman

  6. Texas Museum of Science & Technology. The museum features a planetarium, dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures, Egyptian artifacts and more. For children 5 and younger, its Wee-Searchers explores science through song and play at 9 a.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. Science Saturday offers special themed programs, typically on the fourth Saturday of the month. Look at the stars in the parking lot at the Star Party, 9 p.m. Fridays. Texas Museum of Science & Technology, 1220 Toro Grande Drive, Cedar Park. txmost.org

    Bianca Serra, 4, visited the Umlauf Sculpture Garden with her family where she prayed with a bronze statue of a nun. LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

  7. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum. When being indoors in a museum won’t do, you can explore art outside here. The Umlauf offers a monthly free themed Family Day, 10-4 p.m. June 11, July 9 and Aug. 13. Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum, 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org