Waco is situated in the heart of Texas. It’s home to some of the most incredible landmarks in the state. If you’re the type of family that loves traveling together, you will love the attractions Waco offers.
Best known for power couple Chip and Joanna Gaines and Baylor University, Waco is a top-notch family destination nearby Houston. Waco is packed with all sorts of exciting spots and sights, ranging from the historical and artistic to the unusual. From a mammoth dig site to quirky museums and a zoo, there’s something to do for visitors of all ages.
Once you become a parent, it can be challenging to plan kid-friendly getaways that you’ll enjoy too. In addition to finding the best things to do, you also have to figure out the age group, costs, and more.
That’s why we’ve handpicked the 20 top things to do in Waco with kids to help you plan your next trip to Central Texas. Read along to start building your family’s vacation itinerary today!
1. Cameron Park Zoo
Map It: 1701 N 4th St, Waco, TX 76707 | Phone: (254) 750-8400 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $13 and children 3-12 $10 | Age Group: All ages welcome
You can see more than 1,800 animals at the Cameron Park Zoo, such as bears, elephants, jaguars, and more. This 51-acre facility is popular amongst Waco families and tourists alike.
The zoo features different themed areas. For example, the Brazos River Country Exhibit houses cougars, water reptiles, and alligators.
The Grammy Nell’s section has a fountain floor where kids can splash around and crawl through a tunnel that looks like a snake’s mouth. You’ll want to pack an extra pair of clothes.
What you need to know: Purchase your tickets online to save time and avoid standing in line.
2. Waco Mammoth National Monument
Map It: 6220 Steinbeck Bend Dr, Waco, TX 76708 | Phone: (254) 750-7946 | Website | Hours: Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $5,students 7th-college $4, and children 4-11 $3 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 4+ recommended
The Waco Mammoth National Monument features the only evidence of the Pleistocene mammoths’ existence. It’s a great place where you and your family can learn about the creatures that lived during the Ice Age.
Kids can get their hands dirty and dig for fossil replicas at the Excavation Station. Designated guides will lead you on a tour and educate you on situ fossils and the Ice Age.
What you need to know: The least crowded time to visit is from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. daily.
Related Read: 40 BEST Things to Do in Waco, TX
3. Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame has been preserving the history of the Texas Rangers since 1968. The Museum showcases artifacts and exhibits that honor the legacies of notable Rangers.
It’s an educational experience where families can learn about the Texas Rangers’ contribution to the history of Waco. Kids will love the life-size horse replicas displayed throughout the Museum.
Kids can even become junior rangers with a $35 donation to the Junior Ranger Program. Rangers are given an honorary certificate, a badge, and a 4-pack of tickets for their family.
What you need to know: Guided tours are offered on a first-come, first-serve reservation basis.
4. Hawaiian Falls Waco
Map It: 900 Lake Shore Dr, Waco, TX 76708 | Phone: (254) 892-0222 | Website | Hours: Saturday-Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $30.99 and children under 48” $20.99 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 1+ recommended
Hawaiian Falls is one of the most exciting spots to visit in Waco. It’s Waco’s most famous water park and is packed with 10 acres of entertainment. This seasonal activity offers attractions for everyone, from young children to adults.
You can choose from the smaller, basic water slides to the thrilling, adventurous slides like “Tempest Tower.” There’s also “Breaker Bay,” where young kids can cool off on a water playground.
If you’re brave enough, you can race down one of the two 65-foot “Pineapple Express” slides on a high-speed mat. Other attractions include a wave pool, lazy river, and splash pad.
What you need to know: Open seasonally from May – September.
Related Read: 15 Best Clear Water Beaches in Texas
Map It: 215 S University Parks Dr Suite #104, Waco, TX 76701 | Phone: (254) 300-8725 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 6 p.m. | Admission Fee: Varies | Age Group: All ages welcome
Get an incredibly unique view of Waco by taking a tour with Waco-Tours. The tour will take you on a cruise down the Brazos River on a scenic safari. The boat ride lasts a little over two hours.
A knowledgeable guide will be aboard to point out the local wildlife and historical spots. The tour company also offers a tour by a van that lasts around 3 hours.
What you need to know: The boat tour is more kid-friendly than the tour by van.
6. Dr. Pepper Museum
Map It: 300 S 5th St, Waco, TX 76701 | Phone: (254) 757-1025 | Website | Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 a.m. – 5:30 a.m. and Friday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $10 and children 4+ $6| Age Group: All ages welcome
Most people don’t know that Dr. Pepper has its origins in Waco, TX, in 1885. It’s the oldest soft drink in the U.S. and was initially named Waco.
Learn even more about this popular drink at the Dr. Pepper Museum. Exhibits detail the soft drink’s history. Enjoy live demonstrations and exclusive experiences like making your soda and a soda flight tasting.
What you need to know: The best time to visit is between 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. on weekdays.
Related Read: 25 Black-Owned Restaurants in Houston
7. Texas Sports Hall of Fame
Map It: 1108 S University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76706 | Phone: (254) 756-1633 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $8 and children 6-18 $4 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 6+ recommended
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame features over 300 Texan sports legend from baseball to basketball and football. Texas is the first state to have its own Hall of Fame, so it’s one of the tourist attractions you shouldn’t miss.
Kids will love the educational learning center with interactive exhibits to get visitors moving. And video clips playing throughout the museum showcase some of the most significant sporting moments in history.
What you need to know: Download a map on the website to help plan your visit.
8. Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat
See the famous Baylor Bears up close at the Bill and Eva Williams Bear Habitat. The University houses two American black bears as their mascots.
The bears live in a natural habitat with caves, boulders, and waterfalls. Visits to see Judge Joy Reynolds and Judge Sue Sloan are free to the public.
The habitat keepers provide guided tours, and visitors can observe the bears eating, climbing, swimming, and sleeping. Special events at the University, like football games, occasionally change operating times.
What you need to know: If you would like a guided tour, you can schedule one online.
Related Read: 30 Top Treehouse Rentals in Texas
9. Waco Suspension Bridge
The Waco Suspension Bridge was created with 3 million bricks and opened in 1869. It’s situated above the Brazos River.
It stretches an impressive 475 feet and is the focal point of various celebrations and festivals in Waco. The bridge is located in Indian Springs Park and is full of statues.
In front of the bridge, you’ll find the famous Cattle Drive Monument. The bridge is also the best spot in Waco to feed ducks.
What you need to know: Visitors can park at the nearby Waco Riverwalk.
10. Lake Waco Wetlands
Map It: 1752 Eichelberger Crossing Road., China Spring, TX 76633 | Phone: (254) 848-9654 | Website | Hours:Monday – Friday 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Admission Fee: Free | Age Group: All ages welcome, 5+ recommended
The Lake Waco Wetlands were created in 2001 to protect the surrounding area. The wetlands span 180 acres and hold all kinds of fascinating spots.
Visit the plant nursery to observe beautiful aquatic flora like bulrushes, water lilies, and duck potatoes. The wetlands can be explored through raised walkways.
There are even birdwatching platforms that offer great observatory views.
What you need to know: Request a brochure and map online.
11. Homestead Craft Village
Homestead Heritage is an agrarian-based Christian community located on the border of Waco. The community’s residents offer plenty of attractions to the general public.
It’s free to enter and is an excellent spot for sightseeing, shopping, and learning. Homestead Craft Village allows visitors to observe the community’s way of life.
They have everything from woodworking demos, craft shops, petting zoos, hayrides, musical performances, and food booths.
What you need to know: Visit Café Homestead for organic, from-scratch cooking.
12. Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum
The Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum is a part of the historic Santa Fe Depot. Explore the history of the railroad through exhibits and collections.
The Museum combines activities with train rides to teach new generations about a method of travel that is virtually unknown to them. Special events include the Wizarding Express and the Polar Express.
What you need to know: Check the website for special event dates and tickets.
13. Pecan Bottom Park
Pecan Bottom Park is a part of Cameron Park, one of the largest parks in Texas. It rests on 416 acres and is one of the greatest attractions in Waco.
The park is the perfect spot for families as it offers plenty of activities like hiking, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Natural attractions include Emmons Cliff, Circle Point, Jacob’s Ladder, and the famous “Lovers Leap.”
What you need to know: Check the outdoor classroom at Miss Nellie’s in the park for children’s activities.
14. Mayborn Museum Complex
Map It: 1300 S University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76706 | Phone: (254) 710-1110 | Website | Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $10 and children 2-12 $8 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 2+ recommended
The Mayborn Museum is top on the list of things to do with kids in Waco. It’s an exciting interactive museum located on Baylor University’s campus.
Kids are encouraged to learn through play and discovery. Visitors can play with everything from bubbles to sound and light.
Be sure to also check out the historic village outside to see what Texas life was like in the 1890s.
What you need to know: Buy tickets online to save time at the entry gates.
15. Brazos Bluff Ranch
Enjoy horseback riding with the entire family at the Brazos Bluffs Ranch. The surroundings are beautiful, and you can experience peace and quiet at this wildlife preserve.
Besides horseback riding, you can walk on scenic trails and see animals such as deer and wild turkeys. The ranch even has a gorgeous log cabin with two master suites if you want to enjoy a serene getaway.
What you need to know: You must book your party’s ride online prior to your visit.
16. BSR Cable Park
Map It: 5347 Old Mexia Rd, Waco, TX 76705 | Phone: (254) | Website | Hours: Monday – Friday 12 – 6 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Admission Fee: Adults $39 and children 6-16 $15 | Age Group: All ages welcome
Waco may be a landlocked town, but you can still visit the beach and catch some great swells at BSR Cable Park.
Bring your surfboard or rent one, and paddle out in the lake, which uses Perfect Swell Infinite Ocean technology to create waves.
Guests over six years old can wakeboard across the lake for an awesome ride. Visitors can also relax and soak up some sun on the lazy river. There are also several water slides to enjoy.
What you need to know: Guests can bring coolers, food, drinks, gas grills, and canopies.
17. Urban Air Adventure Park
Map It: 5701 W Waco Dr, Waco, TX 76710 | Phone: (254) 845-8004 | Website | Hours: Monday – Friday 4 – 8 p.m. and Saturday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. | Admission Fee: $20.99 per person and children under 5 $11.99 | Age Group: All ages welcome, 2+ recommended
Urban Air Adventure Park is one of the best indoor amusements in Waco. From climbing walls to tumbling tracks and trampolines, your family can enjoy hours of fun here together.
Take to the air on the Ropes Course. Climb through the spiderwebs, and swing over gaps on the zipline. Or challenge the family to a basketball game in the slam dunk zone. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll get a great workout in.
What you need to know: Buy your tickets online to save time. Also, visit in the morning to avoid the afternoon crowds.
18. The Last Drive-In Picture Show
One of the oldest drive-in theaters in Texas is still in business right outside of Waco. The Last Drive-In features an outdoor theater, an indoor theater, a mini golf course, and a concession stand.
Your family can experience what life was like in the 1950s when you visit here. It’ll be a nostalgic, enjoyable experience for all. What you need to know: Visit the Drive-In’s Facebook page to view the weekly showings.
19. Whistle Stop Park
If you have a kid who loves trains, this is another great place to visit in Waco. It’s located right next to train tracks, and kids can watch them pass by.
There’s also a train-themed playground that is free to play on. The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is within walking distance, so you can easily visit both on the same day.
What you need to know: There are covered pavilions that are perfect for picnic lunches.
20. Heart of Texas Speedway
Experience the thrills and spills of a race day at the Heart of Texas Speedway. Kids will be excited when they hear the rumbling engines and see all of the glistening cars on display.
The Speedway is a great place to go if you’re looking for a place to see the best Sprint Cars, Dwarf Cars, and Modified Vehicles. In addition to regular races, there’s a Demolition Derby and kids’ bicycle races.
After each race, there’s a massive fireworks display. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere, and your kids will be begging to visit again.
What you need to know: Check the online events calendar to plan your visit.