In honor of our anniversary and the popularity of my original post, I wanted to give y’all an update! Some places have opened, some have shuttered, but more importantly others we have grown to absolutely love – which means real advice on things to do!
Landa Park is “the” park of New Braunfels. You can spend a full day enjoying all the activities: have a picnic, ride a paddle boat, play at the playground, go swimming, walk a nature trail and even get in a round of miniature golf. My favorite part? The super fun train that “chugs around the 51 acre park.” We spent a lot of time here during the summer, especially because of the Aquatic Center.
I love a good Farmers Market, and the official New Braunfels one doesn’t disappoint! With an array of vendors, they usually have live music and activities for the kiddos. Held every Saturday in the Krause’s parking lot, there is also the McNamara Farmers Market in Gruene at the same time and the Freiheit Village Farmer’s Market (our fav) on Wednesday afternoons.
This is the perfect sized “zoo” for a preschooler with a short attention span. We love visiting the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo during the week. With more 500 different species of animals, they also have picnic tables, a petting zoo and mining for rocks. One of the top priorities at the zoo is to provide an up-close and personal experience with their animals through hands-on interactions, education and conservation based programs.
What toddler doesn’t love trains? Jericho has loved playing with, riding in and watching trains for at least 2 years, so this is always a fun (and free!) time. This museum has a variety of railroading artifacts on display, with many of them being directly related to New Braunfels operations. There are 5 exhibits to enjoy including a dining car that can be rented out, plus monthly events.
A year in New Braunfels but we still haven’t made this destination! The Conservtion Plaza provides visitors the opportunity to discover the old New Braunfels and see history come alive. Visit an old saloon, music studio, limestone schoolhouse or get your hair cut at the working Barbershop on the premises!
Featuring more than 100 artisans, Gruene Market Days has been held every month (except January) for more than 30 years. Vendors offer uniquely crafted and handmade items, and there is entertainment during the weekend as well. Gruene is a really cool area and definitely worth a stop if you’re in New Braunfels. Check out the historic district’s calendar of events to plan your trip, and don’t forget to check our the oldest dance hall in Texas!
I’ve only been to a handful of children’s museums but this is by far my favorite. It is absolutely perfect for preschoolers. The space is set up for maximum fun and imaginative play, and there is never a dull moment. Indoor and outdoor displays with hands-on exploration, like the large train station (with real, miniature trains to zoom around), a giant water table, a kid-sized H-E-B, an air space center and so much more. This has been our go-to all year and we are definitely renewing our membership! I highly recommend it.
We had a lot of fun at our town’s splash pad last year! It is small so mostly filled with smaller kiddos, but I’ve never tried to go on the weekend. Splash pads bring lots of cool, fun without the stress of a swimming pool. I also recommend checking out all the Fischer Park has to offer!
The Fire Museum looks like a small, quick visit – which makes it ideal for a toddler. With lots of firehouse memorabilia, I am sure imaginations will run wild. Plus it should be a fun place to get some cool photos!
I love a good bookstore, but The Book Haus is a special gem! This quaint bookseller focuses on used books (yay for cheap!) and also has a cute section for the littles. Cuddle up and read a book, attend a story time or do a craft together.
While there are many parks in New Braunfels, this is my next favorite after Landa Park for my little one. The playscape is semi-contained and fun for him, and the river is always a great attraction. From throwing rocks in the cooler temps, to taking a dip in the summer, it is a great spot for the Guadalupe River.
New Braunfels’ newest addition, this is an excellent place to let your preschooler run wild! I love all the opportunities for imagination at Little Land, and we were big fans of the one in Austin when we lived there. I have so many memories of Jericho crawling, taking his first steps and eventually fearlessly playing on everything! We are glad to have this spot in town, and it is perfect for both joint play and getting some work/reading in while the kiddo(s) play.
This is a total attraction – not only can you catch a double-feature on the big screen, but you can also dine at their 50’s themed restaurant. Bonus is the kid’s playscape. Someday we will finally make it out there!
Fridays at 11am your preschooler can become a mini Monet at their special story time & craft. And during regular business hours, both adults and kids can let their creativity soar by painting their own pottery. Check their calendar frequently for special events and event changes.
This is a big hit for my kiddo. It is the largest play place in New Braunfels, and during the day it is perfect for little ones. There are lots of inflatables (including with slides) throughout the place, as well as play houses and more. Bonus points for couches for the parents!
If you’ve made it this far I am sure you’ve been wondering where Schliterbahn is on my list! Of course this will be on our New Braunfels to-do list – and I am so excited to experience it with my kiddo! We splurged on a season pass this year and can’t wait to dive right in! This water park is no joke.
Kinderhaven, located at Blastenhoff (which probably means better parking, too!), is said to be the best option for preschoolers and includes a mini pirate ship, wading pool, soft slides and shallow water throughout.
This is another place that I love to take my kiddo to where I can work, listen to podcasts or read a book. I love that it is small enough to contain him in one area, but large enough to entertain him for hours.
I love a good open gym but they are hard to come by around these parts. J&R is great because they have open gym on Mondays and Fridays specifically for kiddos under 5. The trampoline is Jericho’s fav, but there is a lot of fun to be had!
Okay, it’s been years since I have visited, but I think the entire experience is awesome at Natural Bridge Caverns. We haven’t checked out the mining here, but enjoyed it at another cavern attraction in our old hometown. The benefit of this particular activity is it is easy (and short) for hyper kiddos! They provide “rough” (aka dirt) and you add it into a tray and sift it in a water trough and reveal some awesome stones like amethyst, rose quartz, emeralds, arrowheads and fossils.
Also on the same premises is one of my favorite area attractions, a Texan style safari. Drive at your leisure in your own vehicle through 450 acres of rolling hills, creek beds, and magnificent live oak trees. Sprawled throughout the property are more than 500 animals, plus there is a fun petting zoo at the end.
For the holy grail of fast food + kids playscape, Hat Creek is the bees knees. I am super biased because I’ve loved Hat Creek since we moved down the street from one in Round Rock, and the San Marcos location is the best for small children that I’ve ever been to! Their playscape is endless fun and their burgers are legit. Not too mention comfortable outdoor seating. This is a must for any mamas in the area!
Whether you’re planning a trip to New Braunfels, or looking for things to do in your backyard, you are sure to find lots to do in this charming town. And because I love pretty graphics, here’s a free printable you can download so you don’t have to write out this list!
For a comprehensive list of events, fun places and birthday party locations, check out Pearachute. They just launched in our area April 1, so check back frequently as new businesses are added weekly!
Don’t forget to tell me about your experiences in the comments!