20 things to do in New Braunfels with your toddler
It’s official! In exactly one week, we will be moving out of our first home. The entire process has been so bittersweet, but the light at the end of the tunnel is our exciting move to New Braunfels, TX!
I absolutely love exploring a new city, especially with my toddler. Seeing things through a kid’s eyes makes it so much more exciting.
One of the new features I’ll begin including on lisaalfaro.com is information about New Braunfels. Whether you’re new in town, want to make a day trip or planning a vacation, I hope I can be a resource to you and your family.
Landa Park is “the” park of New Braunfels. Everyone I’ve met so far speaks very highly of it, and after doing some research I can see why. You can hike, ride a paddle boat, relax at the playground, go swimming, walk a nature trail and even get in a round of miniature golf. My favorite part? I’m looking forward to the train that “chugs around the 51 acre park.” I know BabyCoolJ will be stoked, too!
One of my requirements in finding a new place to live was a small town with an exciting downtown district. I love that about where we live now, albeit it still has a long way to go. Then we discovered New Braunfels and fell in love. The town boasts about having a vibrant downtown with eateries, shopping and entertainment. It will be exciting to explore weekdays with my kiddo, and over the weekend for date nights!
I’ll admit, the thought of floating the river with my toddler totally freaks me out. But I’m throwing this in my bucket list because I hope we can do it sometime this summer! I’ve read lots of tips (go first thing on a weekday) to avoid the party scene. Landa Falls looks like the best option, especially with the Riverbahn river walk. Basically, you can end your float early (2.5 hours instead of 3.5) and have access to refreshments, restrooms and a lounging area.
This may be more for me than him. I love all things animals – zoos, petting zoos, farms, etc. I haven’t been here in years (or since their expansion) but I can bet that it will be the perfect size for a toddler’s attention span. Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo has more than 500 different species of animals and some fun experiences. 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? BabyCoolJ is all about them so this will be a super fun experience! This museum has a variety of railroading artifacts on display, with many of them being directly related to New Braunfels operations. According to their website, there are 5 exhibits to enjoy including a dining car that can be rented out.
I love “real” history – and what I mean by that is I never enjoyed it in school, but I love taking in real sights. Experiences, that is what I’m all about. 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 our the historic district’s calendar of events to plan your trip, and don’t forget to check our the oldest dance hall in Texas!
Okay, it’s been years since I have visited, but I think the entire experience is awesome at Natural Bridge Caverns. However, with a hyper toddler, the mining is pretty much our go-to activity until he’s a little older. It is a pretty cool experience for kids of all ages. 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 (remember, animals?!), 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. I should mention both the caverns and wildlife ranch are technically in San Antonio, but they are just on the outskirts of New Braunfels (and worth the trek) so I added them anyway.
I’ll admit, I haven’t been to a ton of children’s museums but this is by far my favorite for toddlers. 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 home with a full kitchen, an air space center and so much more. It is also a very child-friendly open space so it is hard to lose track of your kiddo. This will be our go-to all year, I am sure!
I’m excited to explore all of Fischer Park, but I know my toddler is going to go nuts for the splash pad! It looks totally legit and sure to bring hours of fun. And I love that splash pads bring lots of cool, fun without the stress of a swimming pool.
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!
Y’all, I am really excited about this children’s bookstore! BabyCoolJ loves books, but this is no ordinary bookstore. In addition to lots of childrens books and events, there are play areas and even a special party room. If you are visiting for a few days, this would be an excellent way to spend some downtime or during a bad weather day. And it’s right next to the High Cotton Inn if you happen to stay there for a few nights.
While there are many parks in New Braunfels, I’ve read this is one of the best along the Comal river. The park’s amenities include picnic tables, BBQ grills, bathrooms, river access and playscapes. While the summer months are crowded, this little gem provides year-round enjoyment for picnics, reading under a tree or running through the playscape.
Sylver Spoon has a few options guaranteed to make happy parents (and kids) by visiting! During the day, take in a lovely lunch outdoors by the water with your kiddos. In the evening, they have a daycare service (T-spoons Tot Spot…ugh, so cute!) so you and your date/friends can enjoy a night out! How awesome is this! I’ve never seen another place do this and I am really excited about future date nights here. Check out their event calendar – they have a lot fun entertainment to check out.
While my kiddo isn’t really into inflatables, there is a lot of running room and fun play houses for him to roam around. I always love having good indoor options for super hot/cold or rainy days as my toddler loves being super active. Don’t forget to bring socks!
Fridays at 10am your preschooler can become a mini Monet at their special story time. And during regular business hours, both adults and kids can let their creativity soar by painting their own pottery.
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 bucket list – and I am so excited to experience it with my toddler! (albeit, a little anxious to do it alone). Kids under 3 are free, so this will be the last year BabyCoolJ won’t cost me anything which means I think I’ll be splurging on a season pass! We both love the water, and this water park is no joke.
Here’s what you need to know if you have a preschooler: there are two areas that are dedicated to this age group, Polywog Pond Kiddie Park at the original park (aka West side) and Kinderhaven located at Blastenhoff (which probably means better parking, too!). Kinderhaven is where we will most likely spend our time, which has a mini pirate ship, wading pool, soft slides and shallow water throughout.
While this is located in Seguin, I couldn’t resist including it because of how incredible it looks. I can already imagine spending the day here with family when they visit. Lounging on a hammock while a grandparent watches my toddler. Heaven! Best part is it won’t be overcrowded as you have to rent a cabana in order to visit.
I am so excited to begin exploring after we’ve settled in. I hope this list helps inspire you to explore too! Whether you’re planning a trip to New Braunfels, or #toddlerlife is new for you, 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!
Don’t forget to tell me about your experiences in the comments!