This huge, red, box-like building north of downtown inspires young minds with hands-on activities in the realms of science, technology and the arts. Kids can get wet learning about fluid dynamics, build LED light structures and explore chemical reactions in the Kitchen Lab, among other attractions. A spectacular outdoor play area holds nets and climbing toys. Closed Monday except for Baby Bloomers and other special events.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby East Austin attractions

1. Elisabet Ney Museum

1.41 MILES

A German-born sculptor and spirited trailblazer, Elisabet Ney lived in Austin in the early 1880s, and her former studio is now one of the oldest museums…

3. Texas Memorial Museum

1.79 MILES

We all know how kids feel about dinosaurs, and this natural history museum is the perfect place for them to indulge their fascination. Look up to see the…

4. University of Texas at Austin

2.21 MILES

Whatever you do, don't call it 'Texas University' – them's fightin' words, usually used derisively by Texas A&M students to take their rivals down a notch…

5. George Washington Carver Museum

2.21 MILES

On 19 June 1865, slaves in Texas were freed pursuant to the Emancipation Proclamation – 2½ years after it was signed by President Lincoln. This day is now…

6. Blanton Museum of Art

2.25 MILES

A big university with a big endowment is bound to have a big art collection, and now, finally, it has a suitable building to show it off properly. With…