Zilker Metropolitan Park is a popular 351-acre urban park in Austin, Texas, with botanical gardens, theater and sports facilities, and a spring-fed pool. It is also dog-friendly.
Also known as the “jewel in the heart of Austin,” Zilker Metropolitan Park features dinosaurs, stand-up paddle boarding, and stunning Austin skyline views in addition to the pool and gardens. Visitors can also enjoy live music, festivals, and other exciting events. Additional reading
A Brief History
Andrew Zilker emigrated to Austin when he was 18 to seek his future. Young Zilker found it by making ice, Texas’ critical commodity, because of hot temperatures. Since then, he became a millionaire and used some of his wealth to purchase land, acquiring approximately 350 acres.
After 16 years, Zilker gifted the land to the Public Free Schools of Austin. This allowed them to sell it to the city of Austin while keeping the proceeds for the school endowment. Also, the deal required the land to be reserved for a public park. So, he created the park and funded the school district all at once. Best site
Exciting Things to Do at Zilker Metropolitan Park
Here are different ways to experience Zilker Metropolitan Park:
Zilker Botanical Garden
This botanical garden has promoted botanical conservation and gardening education since 1955. It features 26 fenced areas with different styles and plants, such as Hartman Prehistoric Garden, Taniguchi Japanese Garden, and Cactus and Succulent Garden. It also features life-sized dinosaur sculptures and fossilized dinosaur tracks.
Umlauf Sculpture Garden
This indoor and outdoor museum centers around the work of Charles Umluaf, a visionary American sculptor. The museum has fluid and permanent exhibitions. Its outdoor sculpture garden offers a quiet and serene place to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Austin Nature and Science Center
This award-winning complex offers outdoor exhibitions, allowing kids to become paleontologists for a day. It also hosts workshops and has a mammal walkway and a nature preserve.
Lady Bird Lake
The nearby Lady Bird Lake is a famous outdoor destination where visitors can enjoy boating and paddle boarding in the 416-acre waterway. Canoe and kayak rentals are available. Anglers can catch carp, catfish, and bass in the reservoir.
Zilker Eagle Miniature Train
This attraction allows kids and adults to enjoy a beautiful view while having a slow ride around the park. The route begins at the playground close to Barton Spring Pool and roams around the park until reaching the starting point again.
Barton Springs Pool
This massive three-acre swimming pool is fed by three underground springs. The average temperatures are approximately 68°F. Since before the state was established, the swimming hole has kept the residents from overheating. Today, it is one of the most popular swimming pools in Austin.
Zilker Hillside Theater
The theater hosts annual performances, including the Zilker Summer Musical, live concerts, Shakespeare in the Park, and more. It is home to many exciting, family-oriented shows from March through October.
Popular Events at Zilker Metropolitan Park
This park has an area called The Great Lawn, which is home to some of the favorite annual events in the city, such as the Blues on the Green and ABC Kite Festival. The Trail of Lights fills the park with magical light installations during the holidays. Every October, the Austin City Limits Music Festival attracts artists worldwide for two weekends.
The Zilker Hillside Theater, Shakespeare in the Park, and Zilker Summer Musical are other exciting events. Locals and tourists gather at the Polar Bear Plunge at Barton Springs on January 1st.
Admissions and Accessibility
The Zilker is free of charge and open from Monday to Sunday, 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM. Zilker Botanical Garden and Barton Springs Pool charge a small fee, as well as several special events.
Zilker Metropolitan Park is situated off Barton Springs Road southwest of downtown Austin and is accessible from Mopac Expressway (State Highway 1), and is west of US 35. Free parking is available from March and September on holidays and weekends. The parking lots are spread across Zilker Metropolitan Park.
The Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Hillside Theater, and Botanical Garden are ADA-accessible.
Important Information About Zilker Metropolitan Park
- Address: 2207 Lou Neff Rod, Austin, TX 78746
- Phone: +1 512-974-6700
- Business Hours: Monday to Sunday, 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM