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Weekend Fun: The Austin Aquarium

Last weekend, we took a trip to the fairly new Austin Aquarium.  Here in Austin, there isn’t a whole lot in the way of animal education places;  there are no large zoos and until recently, there was no aquarium at all (not even one of those touristy, restaurant ones like in Houston).

Last year, the Austin Aquarium opened in an old furniture store.  While it’s not a huge place, it’s a decent size and makes for a fun outing.  It’s close enough that we recently purchased family passes so we can visit all year.

When we stopped by last weekend, we were lucky to find a big, butterfly trailer in the parking lot.  A man sometimes parks his trailer there and charges $1 per person to come in to see his butterflies.  He also sells the flowering plants and milkweed that the butterflies are attracted to.  The plants cost about $4 each.

The inside of the trailer is full of monarch butterflies and little caterpillars.  They flutter around you and land on the plants.  If you nudge their little legs with your finger, the butterflies just climb right onto your hand and relax.  It’s a really fun experience and well worth the $1 per person.  You don’t have to visit the aquarium to visit the butterflies.

Live butterflies at the Austin Aquarium in Austin, TX.


My daughter loved it and we had a bit of trouble getting her to leave.  She could have stayed in that little trailer all day, surrounded by the butterflies.


Live butterflies at the Austin Aquarium in Austin, TX.

One of the defining characteristics of the Austin Aquarium is that they allow people to feed most of the animals.  Food costs a couple of dollars for each animal and it can get pricey rather quickly.  Your best bet is to buy in bulk:  for $20 at the door (or $19 online), you can purchase 10 feeding tokens.

Feeding small fish to stingrays at the Austin Aquarium in Austin, TX.


My kids especially love feeding the stingrays.  Not only do they eat the fish, you can also reach right in and touch them.  Many of the animals at the aquarium are able to be touched: starfish, stingrays, birds and snakes.  It makes for a really memorable experience.


Feeding small fish to stingrays at the Austin Aquarium in Austin, TX.


My daughter’s favorite area is the bird feeding area, which was recently expanded.  There are 2 large, walk-in bird cages.  I don’t remember what’s in the other cage, but the one we went into on this trip had rainbow lorikeets.  You can use one of your fish feeding tokens to purchase a cup of nectar for the birds.  They land all over you and eat the nectar.  It’s fantastic.


Feeding rainbow lorikeets at  the Austin Aquarium in Austin, Tx.

It was a fun weekend and full of memories that weren’t captured on film.  Days like this make me long for summer break to get here so we can have more lazy days and little trips.



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2 thoughts on “Weekend Fun: The Austin Aquarium

  1. TwoPlusCute says:

    The photo with the butterfly and your daughter smiling so sweetly – it’s precious. 🙂

    1. Christine says:

      Thank you 🙂 She’s in love with butterflies.

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