Discover the hidden gems of Waco Texas. This town is filled with culture and tons of history. There are plenty of things to do in Waco with kids besides going to the Magnolia Silos and the Baylor campus. Check out these charming places that will make you fall in love with Waco.
You can also check out our city travel guide to New Braunfels, Canyon Lake, and San Antonio.
Things to Do in Waco with Kids
Waco Mammoth National Monument
Thousands of years ago, real mammoths crossed through Waco, Texas. In 2015, The Waco Mammoth National Monument officially became a designated national monument and is a great place to discover the Ice Age. Kids can participate in a special program to become a Junior Ranger. They must complete the Waco Mammoth Junior Ranger activity book and be sworn in by a Ranger. The kids are presented with a badge to make it official.
The Waco Mammoth National Monument sits within 100 acres of wooded parkland along the Bosque River. Surrounded by oak, mesquite and cedar trees, the site offers an escape from the modern world and provides a glimpse into the lives and habitat of Columbian mammoths and other Ice Age animals. You can explore the trails through this area.
You can take a self-guided tour or a guided tour of the museum. If you look at everything in the museum, it will take you around 2 hours.
Dr. Pepper Museum
The Dr Pepper museum is a museum dedicated to… well Dr. Pepper. Dr Pepper is one of the nation’s oldest major soft drinks. This museum offers three floors of exhibits featuring memorabilia for Dr Pepper, the bottling machine, information about different soft drinks, and learn more about the beginning of Dr Pepper.
Stop and get your free sample at the soda shop and visit the Gift Shop. If you make a reservation ahead of time, you can make your own soft drink. This museum is only a block away from the Magnolia Shops at the Silos and worth the trip.
Magnolia Market at the Silos
Magnolia Market at the Silos is one of the more popular places to visit and things to do in Waco with kids. You can spend a few hours here shopping, trying the delicious food, and hanging out on the huge grass-covered lawn. Kids can run freely on the lawn and play freely or sit and eat the yummy food. In addition to playing freely, there are some lawn games.
Waco Suspension Bridge
Built in 1870, the Waco Suspension Bridge is the oldest suspension bridge still standing in Texas. You can take this bridge and then walk along the river to see several other bridges, the skyline, a veterans memorial, and an old dilapidated observation tower right next to the suspension bridge.
Cameron Park Zoo
A family vacation to Texas isn’t complete without a trip to a zoo. Established in 1955, Cameron Park Zoo is a beautiful zoo with lots of animals and lots of shade with space where you don’t feel like you are crammed. It aims to provide fun, family-friendly recreation and education to everyone.
There are lemurs, orangutans, lions, otters, as well as numerous other animals. Don’t miss the red barn building with the nocturnal animals. This is great for families and just the right size to explore in about 3 hours. Check out their website for hours of operation and any promotions.
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
If you are curious about how the Texas Rangers contributed to the culture and history of Waco then you need to head over to the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. It has been preserving the history of the Texas Rangers since 1968 as it showcases various artifacts and exhibits.
You will love the wonderful exhibits, detailed sculptures, lifesize horses, and all sort of educational sections that take you through the beginning to today. There are also lots of exhibits with biographies of famous Rangers along with their weapons and stories about their criminal investigations.
It should take around 2 hours to complete the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum. Be sure to stay for the 40 minute movie – it is worth it!
Texas Sports Hall of Fame
If you have a sports lover in your family then you definitely should stop by the Texas Sport Hall of Fame. Constructed in 1951, this hall of fame honors athletes from Texas that have significantly contributed to any sport anywhere from high school to college to professional sports. Getting inducted requires being nominated for a ballot and receiving the highest votes.
The Texas Sports Hall of Fame has quite a bit of memorabilia, displays, and films. The museum is staffed by Baylor students who are knowledgeable and very helpful. The hall of fame should take you about 2 hours to explore including the Landry Film.
Mayborn Museum Complex
Located on the Baylor University campus, the Mayborn Museum Complex is a natural science and cultural history museum that focuses on Central Texas with walk-in dioramas, and exploration stations.
In addition to the natural history exhibits, there are two floors of themed discovery rooms which encourage hands-on learning for all ages. Although it is geared more towards little children, it is still very interesting and educational for older children. Your children are going to love it. Plan on spending an hour or two here.
Surfing in Central Texas?! Waco Surf is one of the largest inland surfing and water sports facilities in Texas as it is 2 acres. It uses PerfectSwell Infinite Ocean design and surf generating technology. This resort features cabins, a waterboarding cable park, a lazy river, and the Wedge Slides. It is a great place to visit for fun in the sun and offers experiences for all skill levels.
Lake Waco Wetlands
Enjoy the day outside by going to Lake Waco Wetlands. Spanning 180 acres, here you can visit the wetlands, kayak, hike, and watch the beautiful birds and other wildlife. The plant nursery is home for the aquatic floras like water lilies, bulrushes and duck potatoes. There is also a fishing pond for kids as well as an educational center.
Remember the time of year is key when visiting Lake Waco Wetlands. Stop by when the weather is cooler to see more animals.
Hawaiian Falls Water Park
Another option for a fun day in the sun is going to the Hawaiian Falls Water Park. It is one of Waco’s most famous water parks and is one of the fun things to do with kids in Waco. This park includes the Keiki Kove for kids, the two 65-foot free fall slides, a high-speed mat, and plenty of places to relax and swim.
Check out their website for hours of operation and any special events.
Watching an event at McLane Stadium can be lots of fun, but did you know you can take a tour of the stadium? Each tour takes roughly 90 minutes as they take you through the locker rooms, press room, and other spaces. You’ll learn about behind-the-scenes action as well as tidbits about the stadium’s history. This is a must for sport lovers on things to do in Waco with kids.