27 Best Things To Do In Waco With Kids (2023)
Looking for things to do in Waco with kids? Read on for the ultimate list!
There are tons of things to do with kids in Waco. This city is pretty magical!
It has the perks of a small-town feel with urban vibes. Waco’s revitalized downtown and restored warehouse district make this city appealing to people of all ages.
My first time in Waco, Texas was for my mom’s 60th birthday. In the Summer of 2018, my sister and I surprised her with a girls’ weekend to Waco and we lavished all the best-kept secrets of the town. In the Fall of 2022, I convinced my husband and three kids to road trip 17 hours with me from our home state of Florida to Texas.
Visiting Waco will never get old with so many great things to do with kids!
Our 2018 trip to Waco, Texas
Our 2022 trip to Waco, Texas
Waco With Kids – Indoor Activities
Waco, Texas is a fantastic place for kids to have a blast! From uncovering the secrets of mammoths at the Waco Mammoth National Monument to monkeying around at the Cameron Park Zoo, and getting their hands on awesome exhibits at the playful Mayborn Museum Complex, there’s endless fun and beneficial adventure awaiting young explorers.
1. Dr Pepper Museum
A favorite thing to do in Waco is to visit the Dr Pepper Museum. Built-in 1906 by architect Milton Scott, this location was the first building dedicated to the manufacturing of Dr Pepper. It holds one of the largest collections of soft drink memorabilia in the world and tells the story of the entire soft drink industry using Dr Pepper as an example. Kids can take tours and even make-a-soda of their own!
➡️ Make Reservations at the Dr Pepper Museum
2. Mayborn Museum Complex
The expansive 143,000-square-foot building situated on the Baylor University campus shines with a multitude of lively exhibits and engaging hands-on activities. There are plenty of things to do in this Complex that can be cherished by the entire family! Grab your tickets for the Mayborn Museum Complex.
3. Waco Mammoth National Monument
One of our favorite things to do in Waco was visit the Mammoth National Monument. And good news, general admission is free! But there is a small cost to enter the dig section. This is a National Park Site that is home to fossils from a nursery herd of at least 19 mammoths (as tall as 14 feet and weighing 20,000 pounds). You’ve got to see it to believe it! See for yourself at Waco Mammoth National Monument.
4. Skate World Waco
This is no ordinary skate park. From roller skating, arcades, and laser tag, not only will your whole family enjoy this attraction but you will be supporting a local family business with a meaningful history in the city. A true story of overcoming tragedy and this Skate World played a part in bringing the community together. Fun for the whole family at Skate World.
5. Boulders Climbing Center
Located just beyond the city limits, this indoor rock climbing facility was designed to cultivate a close-knit community of climbers in the heart of Central Texas. Worth the trip, it serves as a catalyst for boosting your child’s self-assurance and belief in their capabilities when they set their mind to achieving new heights. Check out the day pass options at Boulders Climbing Center.
6. Waco Escape Rooms
Want to cultivate some family-friendly teamwork? Head over to Waco Escape Rooms on Washington Avenue for experiences that are suitable for children. They provide engaging and age-appropriate puzzles and themes that allow kids to participate and have fun while solving the challenges. Browse their room options and reserve at Waco Escape Rooms.
7. The Art Center of Waco
Looking for things to do with a kid who is artsy? Spend some time at the Art Center of Waco to awaken their creativity and wonder. Kids can engage in various art activities, workshops, and exhibits encouraging creativity and artistic expression. See what classes they offer while you are in town: Art Center of Waco.
8. Texas Sports Hall of Fame
You don’t have to be a sports fanatic to appreciate the 6,000 pieces of sports memorabilia on display at the Texas Sports Hall of Fame (TSHOF). This could quickly become a favorite thing to do in Waco. The museum opened in 1993 and it is the FIRST hall of fame in the nation with memorabilia from every single inductee (dating back to 1951).
Best part? Kids under 5 are free! Swing by TSHOF and be inspired by the athletes in this Hall Of Fame.
9. Painting With A Twist
There really are endless activities for kids in Waco! Painting With A Twist offers painting sessions for all ages, as well as at-home kits if you are on the go. Don’t consider yourself artsy? Their step-by-step guided classes will help you create a beautiful souvenir to remember your Waco visit. Pick which painting you want to create a Painting With A Twist.
10. Central Texas Marketplace
In a shopping mood or forgot something you need to make this trip extra special? Whether you need things to do or things to buy, stop by this shopping center which is the largest shopping center in Waco.
It’s located on I-35 with highway visibility and features 100+ stores to ensure you will find what your family needs. Want to browse the stores ahead of time? Central Texas Marketplace
11. Waco Civic Theatre
I am a huge live theatre fan! Dating back as early as the 1920s, the Waco Civic Theatre’s mission is to provide the community with quality live theater, encourage community participation, and foster a sense of pride and ownership in the local theater scene. Check out what shows are playing while you’re there: Waco Civic Theatre
12. Urban Air Adventure Park
My kids love trampoline parks! If I squeeze in some museums or sights that aren’t as exciting to my kids, I can easily use a trampoline park as leverage and light at the end of the tunnel to their busy day. They know if there is a trampoline park, they will have a fun thing to do that day.
How convenient that it is right in the heart of Waco. It’s a win-win! Whether it’s a rainy day or an afternoon surprise, have fun at Waco’s Urban Air Adventure Park.
Waco With Kids – Outdoor Activities
Fortunately, there is a delightful blend of indoor and outdoor activities available for kids in Waco. Many of these attractions offer both options, allowing flexibility based on the weather conditions. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to explore the city and experience its vibrant character regardless of the elements.
Our favorite memories though typically happen outside. We are outdoorsy and whether it’s a hiking trail, an amusement park, a playground, or a best-kept secret waterfall, you will find us spending most of our time exploring under the sunshine. Here are outdoor activities for kids to do in Waco.
13. Magnolia Market Lawn Games
This could quite possibly be the #1 thing to do and see in Waco (it tops our list for sure!). Magnolia Market and its famous silos occupy two city blocks in downtown Waco. Admission is free; visitors can enjoy lawn games and picnic in the shade.
We were very impressed with all the outdoor family activities they had available. They had bean bags, cornhole, soccer balls, footballs, bocce ball, giant Jenga, etc. There is plenty for the whole family to enjoy the lawn! Make playing lawn games at Magnolia Market a must-do while in Waco!
14. Katy Ballpark at the Silos
Katy Ballpark is the best-kept secret at the Magnolia Market Silos! The Silos happened to be located on the same block that Katy Park once was, the home field of the Waco Cubs from 1905 to 1956 (playing against Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig).
When my kids saw this wiffle ball field, their faces lit up and we played with new friends for hours. Waco’s best-kept secret is the new wiffle ball field at Katy Ballpark in Magnolia!
15. Cameron Park Zoo
Cameron Park Zoo has over 1,730 animals! This zoo has been enveloped by lush native vegetation, cascading waterfalls, a serene lake, and tranquil ponds since it opened in 1993.
Need something to do one afternoon? It takes about 2 hours to go through and you will be impressed by the beautiful nature, waterfalls, and ponds in the exhibits. Also, a fun fact, they are adding penguins in Summer of 2024! Enjoy a day trip to Cameron Park Zoo.
16. Star Party at Central Texas Astronomical Society (CTAS)
Every 3rd Saturday of the month, an open house is offered at the Meyer Observatory near Clifton, Texas. You can attend a stargazing event organized by the Central Texas Astronomical Society, where kids can learn about astronomy, view celestial objects through telescopes, and participate in educational presentations. Check for upcoming Star Parties at Central Texas Astronomical Society.
17. Waco Splash Pads
The City of Waco Parks and Recreation Department offers six free splash pads. Splash pads are open during park hours from May to September. This is an easy thing to do with your kids in Waco because they can cool off, meet new friends and you get to watch them have fun. Your kids will love this refreshing and fun activity!
- Chapel Park (9420 Chapel Rd.)
- Dewey Park (925 North 9th St.)
- Kendrick Park (4011 Bagby)
- Mountainview Park (2325 Mountainview)
- Oscar DuConge Park (1707 JJ Flewellen)
- Proctor Springs in Cameron Park (2200 Cameron Park Dr.)
If you are in Waco from May to September, stop by a local splash pad!
18. River Cruise Tour
The whole family will feel refreshed after a 2-hour cruise along the Brazos River (the longest river in Texas, stretching over 1,200 miles). Waco Tours hosts this captivating boat ride and will guide you through stories of Waco’s history and its people while enjoying scenic landscapes, wildlife, and iconic sights.
Most visitors have this as a top thing to do while in Waco! Book this unforgettable highlight of your visit with Waco Tours.
19. Lake Waco
Want more water activities? Take a dive into Lake Waco, a 7,270-acre man-made reservoir located on the west side of Waco. Choose between two of their public beach locations: Airport Beach and Twin Bridges Beach. Lake Waco is also a popular area for boating, fishing, and other water-based fun. Drive over to the beaches on Lake Waco for a refreshing afternoon.
20. Cameron Park Disc Golf Course
Disc golf fans? You are in luck! Located within Waco’s Cameron Park, the Cameron Park Disc Golf Course is a scenic and well-maintained facility. With multiple tees and baskets, players of all skill levels can enjoy a diverse and engaging disc golf experience. Get all you need to know about Cameron Park Disc Golf Course here.
21. Waco Suspension Bridge
One of my family’s favorite things to do in new cities is to walk the town. Walking across this iconic suspension bridge, constructed in 1870, is special in that it holds a significant place in downtown Waco’s history. This stunning bridge was built with cables supplied by John Roebling’s firm, which built the Brooklyn Bridge. Today, it is a pedestrian-only bridge and is a wonderful place to watch the river roll by. Read about the best walking route to the Waco Suspension Bridge.
22. Waco Riverwalk
Stretching for about seven miles, the Waco Riverwalk is a well-lit, multi-use trail that forms a loop on both sides of the Brazos River. From Baylor University to Cameron Park, this picturesque path passes beneath the iconic Suspension Bridge, providing a scenic and enjoyable route for walkers, runners, and cyclists. A great walking trail for the whole family is the Waco Riverwalk.
23. Sculpture Zoo
While you are strolling along the Waco Riverwalk, make sure to keep an eye out for the mile-long Sculture Zoo between downtown Waco and the Pecan Bottoms entrance to Cameron Park Zoo. Strolling the riverwalk quickly becomes a favorite thing to do in Waco because there are 28 animals varying in style, form, and materials.
This ambitious project features work by 17 different artists from across the United States, including 2 local sculptors. Get ready to have your mind blown. Walk a mile through the Sculpture Zoo and pick your favorite animal!
24. Bicycle World
Explore Waco on two wheels with Bicycle World’s high-quality bike rentals. Choose from Mountain, Mountain EBikes, and hybrid bikes for adults, all including a helmet, lock, and insider tips on local riding spots.
They also provide necessary gear like nutrition and hydration solutions for an exceptional ride. Core memories in the making! Ready to pick up the pace? Rent a bike from Bicycle World.
25. Hawaiian Falls Waterpark
Not sure what your kids want to do next in Waco? Beat the heat and enjoy a day of aquatic fun at Hawaiian Falls Waterpark. With thrilling water slides, lazy rivers, wave pools, and play areas designed specifically for kids, it’s a perfect destination for family-friendly water activities and relaxation. Covering an expansive 10 acres, this Hawaiian Falls Waterpark is worth visiting!
26. Cottonwood Creek Golf Course
Your kids can discover the joy of golf in a welcoming and relaxed environment. With tee options for all ages and skill levels, they can enjoy a leisurely day of swinging, mini-golf and driving range fun.
It’s the perfect chance for outdoor quality time and to foster a love for golf in your children. Grab a tee time with your kids and go enjoy Cottonwood Creek Golf Course.
27. Waco Downtown Farmers Market
Your kids might surprise you with their interest in the 80+ colorful and creative booths at the Waco Farmers Market. Want to feel like a local? This is the thing to do in Waco. The Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm featuring the best local agricultural producers and artisan vendors within 150 miles of Waco.
Head over on a Saturday morning to support the local community and let your kids pick out their favorite healthy treat. Get to know the locals face-to-face and support their small businesses at the Waco Downtown Farmers Market.
Where To Stay In Waco With Children
To make this charming trip even better, there are several family-friendly places to stay that are easy to get to and comfortable for the whole family. My family knows road tripping so I only recommend the best accommodations.
Downtown Waco and the area surrounding Baylor University have a good selection of hotels that cater to families, offering convenient access to popular attractions, restaurants, and shopping.
Quality Inn & Suites at Baylor Stadium North is perfectly located for both business and leisure guests in Waco. The hotel offers a high standard of service and amenities to suit the individual needs of all travelers. Service-minded staff will welcome and guide you at the Quality Inn & Suites Baylor Stadium North.
📍Best Mid-Range Spot: Book Here – Fairfield Inn Suites by Marriott Waco North
Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott North in Waco offers comfortable accommodations and modern amenities for guests. Conveniently located near major attractions and offering complimentary breakfast and an outdoor pool, it provides a pleasant stay for visitors exploring the city.
📍Best Luxury Spot: Book Here – Hotel Indigo Waco, an IHG Hotel
With spacious rooms, a rooftop pool, and a convenient downtown location near attractions like Magnolia Market, Hotel Indigo Waco offers an upscale blend of comfort, convenience, and modern amenities that cater to the needs of families looking for an enjoyable and memorable stay.
Best Time To Go To Waco For Families
I have had the opportunity to visit Waco with my family during two different seasons – summer in 2018 and fall in 2022. Both trips were amazing but most people would agree that the best time to visit Waco for families is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) seasons.
These times offer pleasant weather with mild temperatures, making outdoor activities more enjoyable. Additionally, popular attractions and parks are usually less crowded compared to the peak summer months, allowing families to explore and experience the city with more ease.
Between the foodie options in Union Hall, the cupcakes worth standing in line for at Magnolia Bakery, and the mammoth fossils at Waco Mammoth National Monument, your kids will love this town. The more you get to know the city, the more you will love it.
✅ Where is Waco?
Waco is located in central Texas, approximately halfway between Dallas and Austin.
✅ Is Waco, Texas family-friendly?
Yes, Waco, Texas is known for being a family-friendly destination. It offers a wide range of attractions, parks, and activities suitable for all ages, making it an ideal place for families to visit and enjoy quality time together.
✅ What is Waco Texas most known for?
Waco, Texas is most known for several things, including being the home of Baylor University, the famous Dr Pepper Museum, the iconic Magnolia Market at the Silos owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, and the tragic events that occurred at the Branch Davidian compound in 1993.
✅ Is Waco Texas worth visiting?
Absolutely, Waco, Texas is worth visiting! It offers a unique blend of attractions, such as the Magnolia Market at the Silos, the Dr Pepper Museum, Cameron Park, and the Waco Mammoth National Monument. Additionally, the city’s rich history, vibrant culture, and friendly atmosphere make it an appealing destination for travelers seeking an authentic Texas experience.
✅ How many days should I spend in Waco, TX?
A typical visit to Waco could range from 2 to 4 days to adequately explore the city’s main attractions, enjoy outdoor activities, and experience the local culture. This timeframe allows for a balanced and enjoyable visit without feeling rushed.
Final Thoughts: Things To Do In Waco With Kids
This city is especially special to me because not only do my precious grandparents live close by (Hi, Papa and Dina!) but because my latest trip there inspired my family to become full-time travelers.
Waco offers a wonderful experience for kids with its wide array of attractions and activities designed exclusively for their age group. From the engaging exhibits at the Mayborn Museum Complex to the thrilling adventures at the Cameron Park Zoo, kids can immerse themselves in a vibrant and educational environment.
The city’s warm hospitality and family-friendly atmosphere ensure a memorable and unique experience that will leave a lasting impression on young visitors.
We can’t wait to return one day. Maybe we will see you there!