Top Children's Museum: The Thinkery
Austin's top children's museum, the Thinkery, is a tinkerer's paradise. It’s a veritable wonderland of hands-on exploration for builders, makers, and artists of all ages to come and learn through play.
Where and What Is It?
Located in East Austin's Mueller community, the 40,000 square foot Thinkery is equal parts science and technology center and children’s museum. Focusing on “STEAM” learning—science, technology, engineering, art, and math—the unique museum offers eight interactive exhibit galleries, each hosting a variety of engaging activities that are sure to align with your child’s interests.
Innovators’ Workshop: Here young inventors to design and build to their heart's content, with 2,500 square feet of materials and tools at their disposal. There are recyclables for crafting, string for weaving, and do-dads for connecting.
Light Lab: This exhibit offers a rainbow of activities, from a giant Lite-Brite to mini building blocks with colorful LEDs. It's fun in the dark, when you've got lasers and shadows to play with!
Spark Shop: This is a destination for older children to take on more advanced design challenges, like making foam airplanes to launch in the projectile range. Future engineers will enjoy this space created with them in mind.
Currents: This is a watery science exhibit where your child will definitely get wet. Possibly very wet. As in, you should probably bring spare clothes along wet. Visitors to this gallery can't resist making waves playing water drums and piping tunes on the hydraulophone. Hint: You may want to save this upstairs exhibit for last.
These galleries are just a taste of all the Thinkery has to offer. There is also a fun story time nook, neat playgrounds both indoors and out, a chicken coop for kids, a Kitchen Lab, an outside area for water play, and more exploring.
- Contact: VISIT WEBSITE
- Phone number: (512) 469-6200
- Address: 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin, TX, 78723
- Hours: Monday Closed, Tuesday 10am–5pm, Wednesday 10am–8pm, Thursday and Friday 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am–6pm
- Price: $12 (FREE for kids under 24 months)
- Community Nights: Entry by donation (suggested $1) every Wednesday from 4-8pm
- Public transportation: Capital Metro 37, 135, and 350
- Parking: Up to three hours free in the McBee Street District Garage during general admission operating hours. More info on site.
- Best time to visit: According to Thinkery staff, the best time to visit is on weekday afternoons. No Tour Tuesdays are less crowded, as no school groups are scheduled on these days. To best plan your outing, read the Thinkery's Tips for Your Visit and The Statesman's Interactive Guide to the Thinkery.
FreeFunInAustin.com was voted Best Hyperlocal Blog in the 2010 Austin Blogger Awards, was a Critics Pick in The Austin Chronicle’s 2011 Best of Austin, was honored at The Statesman Social Media Awards in 2012, and has won Best Website in the Austin Family magazine awards for the past two years. Heidi Gollub started Free Fun in Austin in 2010 as a way to get out of doing housework. Her theory was that running her five kids all over town on adventures for material to write about was a pretty awesome excuse for not doing dishes. This worked swimmingly as her husband bought into her “I’m too busy being a good mother to bother with dusting” schtick and people not even related to her began visiting the website. Heidi's work on the website even led to other fun gigs, like writing for magazines and working as a True Local expert for the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. All things considered, her kids don’t really need clean clothes, do they?