Hidden Gems: Family-Friendly Museum in the U.S.

family friendly museums

This weeks hidden gem is a contemporary art museum and sculpture garden. It’s perfect for the kids to wander around and parents will enjoy the artwork and scenery. This gem is located in the southwest region of the U.S… 

Any guesses where we are headed?? 

The list of reasons we travel with our children is infinite, but for many of us, it would all come back to the destination itself and the memories we create there. While we are busy exploring, broadening our horizons and diversifying our world views, sometimes we stumble upon completely wonderful and equally unexpected places.

These are our hidden gems… the places we soak up and yearn to go back to.

Our Hidden Gems series will uncover one-of-a-kind places discovered by our readers while traveling or exploring their own city. Whether it’s a beach, park, cafe, family-friendly hotel, hiking trail or other, enjoy these best kept secrets and be sure to add them to your list of places to go!



The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria

Location: Laguna Gloria, 3809 West 35th Street, Austin, Texas 78703

Discovered by: Kendal Rodgers (hi, that’s me!) and her just-turned-one year old son lived nearby in midtown and frequented Mayfield Park to enjoy the freely roaming peacocks and lakeside hiking paths. One day, we discovered this fantastic museum that was tucked away next door. Both places are off the main road a bit and have a very lush landscape, so you literally wouldn’t see either until you stumbled upon them or were using a map to get there. I had to go to the end of the block to turn my car around after leaving Mayfield Park. I noticed a bunch of statues and–as an art enthusiast–said, “WOAH let’s check this out!”



Why We Love It: This 1916 Italian-style villa on the shores of Lake Austin is the former home of Clara Driscoll, who built it after being inspired on her honeymoon in Lake Como, Italy. The land that includes the property was first owned by Stephen E. Austin in 1832, just seven years before the city of Austin was founded. As the original home of the Austin Museum of Art, Laguna Gloria still houses some of its collection, but the beauty of this place lies in the massive sculptures on the gardens and grounds. Today, it’s the lesser-known of the two sites of The Contemporary Austin. Enjoy the exotic plants, terraced gardens, and breathtaking views of Lake Austin!

Why It’s Kid-Friendly: This is a lovely place to let the kids down to wander around. If it’s not too hot out, it’s a really scenic place to lazily stroll around outside. Sure, art museums aren’t typically riveting for little kids, but my son was easily enamored with the nature and giant sculptures (formally called the Betty and Edward Marcus Sculpture Garden). I didn’t bother taking my very vocal and destructive one year old into the museum portion that’s housed inside the villa, as there was enough to see outside to get my art fix anyways. When we visited Laguna Gloria, there was a gentleman at a small stand selling ice creams on the grounds.




Tips & Important Details: This is a shorter visit, so plan to make multiple stops on your way out here (i.e. see peacocks at Mayfield Park, hike up Mount Bonnell, etc.). The drive is absolutely worth it, but the grounds are only so large. There is a parking lot immediately once you pull in the gates. Also, Austin is VERY HOT in the summer months. Bring sunscreen, hats, water and baby fans, or just save your sanity and visit in the cooler months. There isn’t much shade cover anywhere you go. I would say we got used to the heat after living there a while, but that would be a lie!

Cost: Adult admission is $5. Military personnel and anyone under the age of 18 are FREE.

Kids are always hungry! Know anywhere to eat nearby?: The possibilities here are endless. I would head to The Triangle, where we used to live, located at 45th Street and Lamar Boulevard. The Galaxy Cafe, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, and Mandola’s Italian Market are our favorites there. The best part? There’s a green space, playground and splash pad right in the middle! Let the kids run free while you dine al fresco and enjoy an adult beverage.

About Kendal: I’m the Destinations Editor at Bebe Voyage and mother to two boys, ages 3 and 11 months. I currently live in Indianapolis, and my dream travel destination as a family is New Zealand. You can find me on Instagram @kendalrodgers.

We are continually adding to our list of Hidden Gems, so, if you have a favorite secret spot that we need to know about, please fill out our form and it will be written about for the Bébé Voyage community.

And be sure to let us know how your trip goes if you’re able to make it to this secret location! We love to see where our members go and hear about new and exciting places to travel with bébé. Use the hashtag #bebevoyage on any social media to share your trips or tips with us too. Happy travels!

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