Austin, Texas is a city that offers a wide range of outdoor activities and experiences to its visitors and residents. One of the most thrilling activities you can do is to go wildlife watching.
There are many spots in and around Austin where you can see diverse species of animals in their natural habitat. If you love to explore nature and want to witness some of the most amazing creatures, then Austin is the perfect destination for you.
From the majestic birds soaring high above to the tiny insects crawling on the ground, Austin has an abundance of wildlife to discover. You can find several parks, nature preserves, and wildlife sanctuaries in and around the city that are home to a variety of animals.
These places offer a chance to see animals like deer, raccoons, armadillos, and coyotes, as well as many bird species, including the famous Texas state bird, the mockingbird.
Whether you are a nature enthusiast or just looking for something fun to do with your family, wildlife watching is an activity that is sure to delight everyone.
It is a great way to learn about different animals and their behaviors, and the experience is both educational and entertaining. So, get ready to pack your binoculars and camera and head out to explore the best wildlife watching spots in Austin.
1. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a sprawling garden and research center focused on native Texas plants and their benefits. The center is a beautiful outdoor spot to see wildlife, with plenty of benches, restrooms, and a cafe for visitors.
There is even an arboretum on the ground. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the wildflowers in Texas, and the insectary is small but fascinating.
The gardens are well-maintained and abundant with wildflowers, bees, bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The Field of Light installation is a must-see and makes for a beautiful, peaceful walk.
There are also events for families with everything from flowers, trees, trails, playgrounds, and plenty of room to bring your own chairs or picnic blanket. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is a true gem that is often overlooked and worth checking out.
2. River Place Nature Trail
River Place Nature Trail is a stunning hiking spot that offers breathtaking views of waterfalls and wildlife. The trail is well-maintained and consists of dirt pathways and numerous stairs, making it a moderate effort hike.
The trail is shaded throughout, making it perfect for a sunny day. It is pet-friendly, making it a great adventure for both humans and their furry friends.
It is suggested to bring water and wear sturdy shoes as there are no water fountains and most of the trail is not paved. The trail is not a looped path, so hikers must remember the way they came.
With its beautiful location and well-kept trails, River Place Nature Trail is a must-visit for anyone looking to experience the beauty of nature.
3. Lou Neff Point
Lou Neff Point is a must-visit spot for wildlife lovers. This scenic spot offers stunning views of the Austin skyline and the Colorado River.
Visitors can take a stroll along the trail that connects to the point, go kayaking, or simply relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
The park is well-maintained and has seating areas and a water fountain for humans and pets.
It can get crowded at times, but the experience is worth it. Don't forget to watch out for the turtles and swans that can be spotted in the river.
4. Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve
Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve is a natural area that focuses on protecting animals and promoting environmental education with public trails.
It is a beautiful spot to see wildlife and nature with well-maintained paths and clearly marked trails. Visitors can enjoy a moderate hike on a 2.5-mile loop with varying terrain and beautiful scenic vistas.
The trails are easy to see and signs are well-marked. The staff is very friendly and accommodating.
The park is free to enter, but visitors are recommended to leave a small donation. It is a great place for kids and they do guided tours with experienced naturalists.
5. Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife
Nalle Bunny Run Wildlife is a 35-acre wildlife refuge and nature preserve that offers monthly led tours for the public.
The property is managed by Nature Conservancy and is full of roaming wildlife, including birds and various animals.
The highlight of the property is the family and pioneer cemetery that adds to the charm of the area.
The property is exceptionally pretty and is a great tourist attraction for those interested in nature and wildlife.
6. Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory
Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory is a great spot for bird watching in the city. Visitors can enjoy observing many different types of birds, including ducks, coots, and shorebirds.
The area has several walking trails, ponds, and a riverfront, making it a peaceful place to take a stroll and reflect.
Although there is a wastewater treatment facility nearby, the wildlife is abundant and worth the visit. The observatory is free to enter with proper identification, and visitors can enjoy a diverse range of habitats, including oak woodlands, ponds, and grassy fields.
If you're looking for a peaceful spot to observe wildlife, Hornsby Bend Bird Observatory is definitely worth a visit.
7. Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve
Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve is a hidden gem in Austin, perfect for those seeking a quick escape into nature.
The short, paved trail is easy to navigate and offers a peaceful stroll through the woods, with benches and a viewing platform to take in the scenery.
Visitors can expect to see a variety of birds, including Cardinals and songbirds, and may even spot deer grazing nearby.
While it may not be a strenuous hike, it's a great option for those with young children or mobility impairments. With its tranquil atmosphere and convenient location, Stillhouse Hollow Nature Preserve is definitely worth a visit.
8. Barton Creek Habitat Preserve
Barton Creek Habitat Preserve is a 4,084-acre nature preserve that is a great spot to see wildlife. The preserve is home to rare birds, including the golden-cheeked warbler.
Visitors can hike through the forest and grasslands and spot animals roaming around the grounds.
The butterfly reserve is a must-see, and children can pet and feed many of the animals.
The preserve is a protected watershed area, making it a great destination for nature enthusiasts.
9. Blair Woods Nature Preserve
Blair Woods Nature Preserve is a secluded and shaded spot perfect for birdwatching. The trails are easy to stroll and there are picnic tables for visitors to use.
The park is maintained by Travis Audubon Society and there is accessibility parking available.
The small pond in the park is home to turtles and the bugs make for great photography opportunities.
While it may be difficult to find, this nature preserve is definitely worth a visit for those looking to relax and observe wildlife.