I love a museum, and my kids do, too. We’ve traveled all over the country exploring museums, from the largest natural history treasure chests to the tiniest, quirkiest hole in the wall.
What we haven’t yet done is explore all the museums Central Texas has to offer.
Austin Museum Day, the annual everyone-gets-in-free event, is a great time to explore your family’s favorites as well as ones you had no idea existed.
It’s a long list of more than 40 museums participating. Below are some of the family-friendly highlights, the museum’s location and hours it will be open that day.
Of course, you don’t have to wait until Sept. 22 to go check them out.
Austin Fire Museum
This is one museum you might not have known about. See a 1929 firetruck and other firefighters’ gear. 401 E. Fifth St. Noon-5 p.m.
Austin History Museum
If your children have ever wondered what early Austinites ate, come see the exhibit “How to Prepare a Possum: 19th Century Cuisine in Austin.” 810 Guadalupe St. Noon-6 p.m.
Austin Nature and Science Center
Check out the new exhibit “Conservation Quest” and learn about energy. Plus, the dino dig and animals are crowd favorites. 301 Nature Center Drive. Noon-5 p.m.
Blanton Museum of Art
You’ll find a very lifelike exhibit inside, and it’s actually called “Lifelike,” because the objects look real. After exploring it, find art-making activities. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 1-5 p.m.
Bullock Texas State History Museum
Find all kinds of hands-on activities while exploring Texas history. 1800 N. Congress Ave. Noon-6 p.m.
Elizabet Ney Museum
Play with “Portraiture in the Park” at the home of an early Austin artist. You can see sculptors at work, make your own clay creations and take home a free caricature. 304 E. 44th St. Noon-5 p.m.
George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center
Celebrate the music, dress, tastes and smells of Africa. There will be dancing and jewels. 1165 Angelina St. Noon-4 p.m.
Goodwill Computer Museum
Once there were games called “Pong” and “Space Invaders.” Your kids can learn about vintage games and computer systems from the 1960s to today’s technology. 1015 Norwood Park Blvd. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Jourdan-Bachman Pioneer Farm
This trip back in time from 1841 to 1899 is always a favorite. Look for horse rides, farm animals and new exhibits. 10621 Pioneer Farms Drive. 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Aside from exploring the gardens, there will be children’s book signings from 1-3 p.m. from Allison Cunningham Amador, author of “Goodnight Austin,” and Liz Scanlon, author of “Noodle and Lou.” 4801 La Crosse Ave. 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library
Kids can decorate “Flat LBJ” and take him on a tour of the library. 2313 Red River St. Noon-5 p.m.
The Sheffield Education Center
Pay homage to the salamander with craft activities including masks and clay salamander models. Then take a dip in Barton Springs. 2201 Barton Springs Road. 1-4 p.m.
Texas Department of Public Safety Historical Museum
If your kids are way into law enforcement, go on a scavenger hunt to see how DPS responds to disasters. 5805 N. Lamar Blvd. Noon-4 p.m.
Texas Military Forces Museum
Head to Camp Mabry for interactive displays of historical weapons and equipment from the vault. 2200 W. 35th St., Building 6. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Texas Natural Science Center
It is Family Fossil Fun Day at this center, which includes the Texas Memorial Museum. You can bring fossils for identification, plus there will be hands-on demonstrations from paleontologists, a paleo-themed story time, crafts and other activities. The prehistoric rules the day. 2400 Trinity St. 1-4:45 p.m.
Umlauf Scuplture Garden & Museum
See artists at work, plus explore the sculptures of an Austin treasure. You can even create your own clay masterpiece to take home. 605 Robert E. Lee Road. 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The Williamson Museum
Explore Williamson County history from football to planes of World War II. You can make your own football pennant and cook up some food at Willie’s chuck wagon. 716 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown. 1-4 p.m.
Women & Their Work
Play I Spy at the gallery to locate different art. 1710 Lavaca St. Noon-5 p.m.
Austin Museum Day
More than 40 museums open their doors for free. Times and activities vary. http://austinmuseumday.org.
More family events in September
Texploration Family Story Time. Come to the Bullock Texas State History Museum and hear a story. 2 p.m. Sunday. Free the first Sunday of the month. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. thestoryoftexas.com.
Generations: Family First Sundays. The Umlauf Sculpture Garden turns the first Sunday of every month into a family-friendly afternoon with art activities. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $3.50 adults, $2.50 seniors, $1 students, free for kids younger than 6. 605 Robert E. Lee Road. umlaufsculpture.org.
Afternoon in the Garden: Sensory Exploration. Enjoy kid-friendly activities at the Zilker Botanical Garden that allow you to touch and feel the garden. Noon-4 p.m. Sunday. $2 adults, $1 children 3-11 and seniors. 2200 Barton Springs Road. www.zilkergarden.org
Studio Spotlight with Ballet Austin. Get a behind-the-scenes look at “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Noon and 6 p.m. Thursday. Free but registration required. 501 W. Third St. balletaustin.org.
Upcycle This! Make art with recycled items. 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday. Free. Recycled Reads Bookstore, 5335 Burnet Road. library.austintexas.gov/youth.
Child Safety Event. Keeping Kids Safe Project takes digital fingerprints and photographs of your children, which will help police find them if they should go missing. 3-7 p.m. Sept. 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 7. Free. Howdy Honda, 5519 E. Ben White Blvd. www.keepingkidssafeproject.com
PJ Hoover and Mari Mancus book-signing. The authors of young adult books “Solstice” and “Scorched” talk about their books. 2 p.m. Sept. 7. BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. 512-472-5050, www.bookpeople.com.
Special screening of “The Lorax.” Head to the Rose Garden at Zilker Botanical Garden to learn about the garden’s pollinators, trees and more and watch this eco-friendly film. 7:30 p.m. Sept. 7. $2 adults, $1 children 3-11 and seniors. 2200 Barton Springs Road. www.zilkergarden.org.
Family Matinee. See movies at the library. Sept. 7: “Rise of the Guardians.” Sept. 14. “Hotel Transylvania.” Sept. 21 “Paranorman.” Sept. 28: “Frankenweenie.” 2 p.m. Free. University Hills Branch, 4721 Loyola Lane. library.austintexas.gov/youth
Chickens in the Library. Learn all about keeping chickens plus a special chicken story time at 1 p.m. 1-4 p.m. Sept. 8. Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe St. library.austintexas.gov/youth
Family Movie Night. Watch “The Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Twin Oaks Branch, 1800 S. Fifth St. library.austintexas.gov/youth
Second Saturdays at Contemporary Austin. Make art at these family-friendly workshops. This month, it’s all about weaving. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 14. Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. thecontemporaryaustin.org.
“The Wiggles: Taking Off! World Tour.” You can sing “Fruit Salad” as loud as you want to when the children’s entertainment group the Wiggles comes to town. This time, there’s even a female band member. 2 p.m. Sept. 15. $18-$74.50. ACL Live, 310 Second St. 877-435-9849. acl-live.com.
“It Gets Better.” The YouTube sensation of messages of hope for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered youth comes to the stage in this musical performance including the Conspirare and Capital City Men’s Chorus. 8 p.m. Sept. 20. $45-$25. $10 students. Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. 512-457-5100, thelongcenter.org
“Salt and Pepper.” This bilingual play is about a boy whose family has a secret: The grandmother cannot read or write. $14-$16. 7 p.m. Sept. 27, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturdays Sept. 28-Nov. 2 and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 20. Zach Theatre’s Whisenhunt Stage. 1510 Toomey Road. 512-476-0541, www.zachtheatre.org.
Austin Teen Book Festival. More than 40 authors including keynote speaker Maggie Stiefvater. 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sept. 28. Free. austinteenbookfestival.com.