Crazy Fun Things To Do In Waco With Kids

WAHOO! If you’re reading this, it means you’re planning some fun activities in Waco with your kids, and I’m so excited for you! Waco is a small town with a LOT of fun stuff to do. I don’t get tired of visiting the waterparks, kid-friendly museums, and outdoor attractions in the Waco area with my little ones.

Things to do with kids in Waco

About me: I’m Kelsey, a bestselling travel book author and the creator of 3 Texas travel websites. As a native Texan, I help millions of readers find the best things to do, restaurants to try, and places to stay in Waco and beyond. Check out my other sites: The Austin Things.com and The San Antonio Things.com!  

Alrighty, let’s not waste any time! Here are some of my all-time favorite things to do with kids in Waco. (Psst: use the map below to see what’s closest to you. If you want more details, read on.)

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Crazy Fun Things To Do In Waco With Your Kids

1. Magnolia Market

Magnolia Market

Yeah, I know that most people think of Magnolia Market as a shopping destination…and it is! But did you know that Magnolia Market is a really fun place to bring kids in Waco, too? It's the giant shopping destination from Chip and Joanna Gaines (of HGTV Fixer Upper fame), and it's beloved by locals and visitors as a place to find gifts and home goods.

There’s a giant turf area where little ones can run around, kick soccer balls, and just generally frolic about and get into shenanigans. You know…as kids do.

There’s also an adorable little softball field, a bunch of food trucks (seriously SO many food trucks!), and the Silos Baking Company where you can stop by and get some yummy cupcakes. (And mom can duck into Magnolia Press for some caffeine!!)

Play time, sweet treats, and enjoying the great outdoors? Sounds like the perfect way to spend some time with my kids!

Just a little note that I would NOT recommend trying to enjoy shopping while you’re here with kids. The stores at Magnolia Market are beautiful and curated and so lovely, but not what I would call “kid friendly” by any stretch of the imagination. I walked through once with my toddler and was consistently saying, “hands off! Please don’t touch that!” and it wasn’t fun for anyone. 

By the way: here are some of my favorite hotels near Magnolia Market, in case you’re planning to make a weekend out of it.

WEBSITE | 601 Webster Ave Waco, TX 76706

2. Cameron Park Zoo

Cameron Park Zoo

Ooh, I love Cameron Park Zoo! It’s a surprisingly impressive zoo given the small size of Waco. Given that this is Texas, you probably won’t be shocked to hear that the reptile section is the most populated part of the zoo. But there are a lot of other animals, too, like jaguars, giraffes, and black bears! 

If you’ve been to any standard zoo, you know the drill: you walk around, you see cool animals, and you maybe watch a show or an exhibit and read some interesting facts.

But where Cameron Park Zoo in Waco really excels (and why I think it’s one of the best kid-friendly things to do) is the abundance of air conditioning, shade, and water! They truly make this place to be enjoyed any time of the year! So if you’re worried about visiting in the summer months, rest assured that there are lots of ice-cold water refill stations, shady walkways, a splash pad, shady playgrounds, and TONS of air conditioning spots where you can take breaks from the heat.

Photo credits: Jacquelyn L, Yelp

WEBSITE | 1701 North 4th Street Waco, Texas 76707

3. Waco Mammoth National Monument

The Waco Mammoth National Monument is the ONLY place in North America where you can see an entire nursery herd of Columbian Mammoths. It is a seriously impressive thing to be able to say that it’s right here in Waco, TX! 

First off, I do not recommend this place for toddlers. Sure, toddlers are totally welcome here, but they’ll get bored of the fossils after about 5 minutes. Plus, you have to walk about ¼ mile to  the dig site, and little toddler legs will get tired before they’re halfway there, which means mom or dad will end up carrying the kids. No thanks. 

BUT, if your children are about 6+ years old, this is a really cool kid-friendly activity in Waco! It’s incredibly inexpensive to get a ticket, and you can enjoy either a guided tour by a professional park ranger, or read a self-guided tour that you can scan from the QR code on your ticket. 

There are trails and picnic areas so you can make a full afternoon of it. I would budget about 2 hours for the entire experience, which includes time to enjoy your picnic lunch and check out the gift shop.

You can read all about my experience of visiting the Waco Mammoth National Monument right here! 

WEBSITE | 6220 Steinbeck Bend Drive Waco, TX 76708

4. Milk Bottle Cookies

Milk Bottle Cookies

Cookie break!! When you need a little break in your day, stop by Milk Bottle Cookies to get some of the best (THEEEEE BEST) giant cookies. Seriously, these are some of the best cookies I’ve ever had in my life. They’re absolutely massive, with a crisp edge and a soft, doughy center. 

Kids go crazy for the big display case in the front with all sorts of sugar, chocolatey treats. And Milk Bottle Cookies is a lovely historic building where parents will enjoy sitting down to rest for a moment. You can even order a coffee to get energized while your little ones enjoy their cookies. 

Pssst: if you want to check out an ice cream shop instead of Milk Bottle Cookies, here's my guide to the best dessert in Waco!

WEBSITE | 218 South 11th Street Waco, Texas 76701

5. Waco Surf Park

Waco Surf Park

Waco Surf Park is probably THE most epic thing to do in Waco TX with kids. And I’ll be totally honest with you: it’s not cheap! But the thrill is worth the cost, and if you have children who are interested in learning how to surf in central Texas, this is the place to go. 

In addition to private surf sessions that cater to everyone from beginners to pros, you can also check out the water park (slides! lazy river!), and the cable park, which has all sorts of ramps and rails and jumps. 

And if you really want to go all out for a fun family-friendly weekend, you can stay overnight at Waco Surf Park! They have hotel rooms, houses, and RV hookups that cater to almost any price point.  

WEBSITE | 5347 Old Mexia Road Waco, TX 76705

6. The Baylor Bear Habitat Baylor University

You can visit actual Baylor bears right in the middle of Baylor University campus! I remember going to see the Eva Williams Bear Habitat years and years ago when I was a little kid, and now I can take my own children to see the American Black Bears that live on Baylor’s campus. 

This is a very quick activity with kids. It’s not like visiting Cameron Park Zoo where you’ll kill a few hours of time. I think my kids were over it in like 10 minutes…ha! 

But it’s totally free admission and open to the public from 9:30 am - 6:00 pm every day. (Just keep in mind that the bears aren’t out there at every moment. Sometimes they’re off-site for training or bad weather.)

WEBSITE | Bill & Eva Williams Habitat M.P. Daniel Esplanade Waco, TX 76706

7. Hawaiian Falls Waco

Hawaiian Falls

Every Texas town needs a really good water park, and Hawaiian Falls is here to deliver all the water fun to us in Waco! This is a 10-acre water park with rides, slides, lazy rivers, pools, cabanas, snacks, and a bunch of other family-friendly activities in Waco. 

If you’re here all summer, they offer season passes that are 100% the most bang for your buck. But even if you just stop by for a single visit, it’s really not too expensive (especially compared to some of the mega water parks in Dallas/San Antonio areas).

Photo credits: Hawaiian Falls

WEBSITE | 900 Lake Shore Drive Waco, TX 76708

8. Baylor Football Game at McLane Stadium

McLane Stadium

If you haven’t brought your kids to Baylor’s stunning football stadium, try to schedule a time to go to a Baylor Bears game this season! 

It’s a $266 million stadium that was built in 2014. The riverfront location brings lots of traffic to downtown Waco, so it’s been an excellent economic stimulator. Plus, it just looks really pretty when you’re driving down I-35. 

If you have the opportunity to buy tickets to watch a Baylor Bears football game, it’s a really cool activity to experience with your kids. 

And no, this is 100% NOT a free activity, but it can be cheap! Try looking for the games against lesser-known schools. Sometimes you can find tickets as low as $20, which is a great way to get your kids into McLane Stadium and introduce your children to the beauty of Baylor football. 

WEBSITE | 1001 S Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Baylor University Waco, TX 76704

9. Dr. Pepper Museum

Dr Pepper Museum

The Dr. Pepper Museum in Waco is a pretty classic kid-friendly activity. It’s listed on nearly every guide to Waco things to do, and it really is a fun, interactive space for kids! It’s not the type of place you’ll want to visit again and again and again, but it’s a must-do if you’re new to Waco. Kids 4 & under are free, btw! 

The best part is the fun soda fountain which has Taste-A-Soda. It’s an optional add-on where guests are given 6 different Dr. Pepper sodas to taste and differentiate. Some of them are discontinued flavors, so it’s fun to get to try them. And it’s harder than you might think to guess what’s what!

Whether you're a fan of soft drinks or not, the Dr Pepper Museum is a classic Texas experience that everyone should visit once.

WEBSITE | 300 South 5th Street Waco, Texas 76701

10. Fabled Book Shop

Fabled Bookshop Waco

If you’re ever in downtown Waco with kids on a rainy day, you absolutely must stop inside this adorable local book shop. Fabled Book Shop has a nook for children that features an incredible curated selection of books and toys. The best part? There’s a Narnia-inspired wardrobe entrance, which makes it feel like kids are in a special hidden world! It’s absolutely adorable. 

There’s a coffee shop in the book store, too. I love to stop here, order a latte, and buy a new book to read. 

WEBSITE | 215 South 4th Street Waco, TX USA 76701

11. Slow Rise Slice House

Slow Rise Slice House

You can check out all of the amazing kid-friendly restaurants in Waco, but I’m just going to throw one easy choice right here: Slow Rise Slice House. (Here’s my review of Slow Rise!)

When your kids are getting hangry and you need some food ASAP, but you also don’t want to eat at a boring fast food chain restaurant, head to Slow Rise. It’s an awesome local pizza restaurant here in Waco that serves NY-style pizza by the pie or by the slice. They also have lots of craft beer on tap, a bunch of yummy apps like fried mac n cheese balls, AND they have a really big riverfront location that always has plenty of seating. No waits here! 

WEBSITE | 1620 N M.L.K. Jr Blvd, Waco, TX 76704, United States

12. Mayborn Museum Complex

If you’re anything like me, you see the word “museum” and kind of cringe at the idea of bringing your young kids. For instance: I wouldn't ever bring my kids to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame here in Waco.) But hear me out! The Mayborn Museum is a 143,000-sq-ft museum complex on Baylor’s campus, and it’s absolutely perfect for the whole family! 

Like, they actually created exhibits specifically for young children. The Jeanes Discovery Center at The Mayborn occupies two floors, and there’s all sorts of hands-on learning. There’s a light and sound exhibit, a SpaceX room with this huge rocket, and even a “Play Waco” which is a tiny town of Waco for ages 5 and under. (The tiny H-E-B store is so cute!) 

WEBSITE | 1300 S University Parks Dr, Waco, TX 76706-1716

13. Skate Waco

Skate World Waco

Roller skating takes me back to my childhood, and I’m so glad there’s a good roller skating rink in Waco! If you’re a parent to toddlers it probably goes without saying, but roller skating isn’t awesome for toddlers. I mean…duh. But it’s so much fun for older kids, and it’s an excellent place to beat the heat and let them get some energy out! 

Another little pro tip: Skate Waco actually offers various summer camps and spring break/holiday break camps. So if your children want to attend a 5-day camp that includes lunch, a snack, crafts, t-shirts, and skating instruction, check out their website for the dates.

Photo credits: Samantha S.

WEBSITE | 401 Towne Oaks Dr. Waco, TX 76710

14. Waco Topgolf

Topgolf

Golf, food, drinks…what’s not to love? Waco got its own Topgolf in early 21. The 30 climate-controlled bays provide a fun place to swing a golf club with your buddies…or your kids!

WEBSITE | 2301 Creekview Dr Waco, TX 76711

15. Bowlero Lanes Bowling

Bowlero Waco

Bowlero is a bowling alley chain with locations all over the place, and there’s one here in Waco. One of the best parts about a chain is that they really have their systems and structures down, so you know exactly what you’re going to get! 

They have season passes available if you want to bowl all summer long (which could really be a very fun thing to do with your kids if they’re into it!), plus arcade games, a sports bar, and birthday party rental space.

Photo Credits: Bowlero Waco

WEBSITE | 4565 W Waco Dr Waco, TX 76710

16. Waco Sculpture Zoo and Waco Suspension Bridge

Waco Suspension Bridge

I’m lumping these two together because they go hand-in-hand! You can bring your little ones to the Brazos River and let them run around for a bit. The historic Waco Suspension Bridge is very cool to see, and then you can walk a little bit down the riverwalk and see the Waco Sculpture Zoo.

Waco Sculpture Zoo

Not to be confused with the Cameron Park Zoo, the Waco Sculpture Zoo has no real animals! It’s a series of 28 sculptures representing animals that are in the actual zoo. (The bald eagle is so pretty!)

They’re placed along the river, and it’s a public art display that’s 100% free. Kids love to run from one animal to the next. It’s an excellent way to have them burn some energy. You could even bring bikes or scooters and let them explore that way. 

WEBSITE | 101 N University Parks Dr Doris Miller Park, Waco, TX 76701

Looking for more kid-friendly things to do in Waco? Click here to read all of our kid-friendly posts!

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