Tyler is not only a great place for retirees, medical professionals, and people who like to eat, it also has plenty to offer families. There are many things to do in Tyler Texas with your kids, whether you’re wanting to enjoy the mild winter outdoors or escape the summer heat, there are plenty of fun family activities around Tyler.
Free Attractions in Tyler
The Faulkner Park Splash Park for kids is a great place for all ages to splash through water jet sprays, squirt guns, and buckets of water splashing from a top a automated machine. If you get tired of all the water there are two kids playgrounds with some really neat playground equipment right beside the splash park. This splash park area is my favorite kids park in Tyler. It is off of Broadway in Faulkner Park. Look for the sign as you drive into the park as it is a little bit hidden.
If you’re looking for free family-friendly fun, check out the library. Tyler Public Library, located on South College Street, or my personal favorite, Green Acres Baptist Church’s library, located inside the church, which is on Troupe Highway inside the loop.
This museum, located just south of loop 323 on Old Jacksonville Highway, has provided hours of entertainment for my children from age one in a stroller to age 7. The museum provides just the right mix of indoor museum fair and a great outdoor playground and old fashioned fire engine when the youngest lose interest in the stuffed lions, bears, and monkeys or just cannot NOT touch anything.
Historic Aviation Memorial Museum
“The Airplane museum” is a small, but impressive walk-through experience for an afternoon. Even my princesses were impressed by the airplanes and helicopter enough to want to become a pilot someday. The museum is now located at the old Tyler Pounds Field Airport terminal on Highway 64.
The Tyler Rose Garden
The Rose Garden is a great outdoors place for you and your children to explore. Your young boys may not be impressed by the sheer number of gorgeous roses, but they will love to explore pathways, the wooden bridge, fountains, and ponds. There’s plenty of space to run and enjoy a picnic together afterward.
Things to do in Tyler for small fee
The Center for Earth & Space Science Education
The Center for Earth & Space Science Education replaced the old planetarium and is an enhanced science center more than twice the size of its predecessor.
The Center for Earth & Space Science Education serves as a dynamic public science education facility, offering educational and entertainment programming to encourage an interest in, and support for, science education. Enjoy traveling hands-on science exhibits in the exhibit hall and large-screen movies in the 40-foot domed theater. Open Tuesday through Sunday. For admission prices and show and exhibit details, visit www.tjc.edu/CESSE or call 903-510-2312.
The Cliffs in Lindale TX
This one is best for kids at least 6 years old as it involves cliff diving. There are small cliffs and large cliffs and so depending on your skill level will likely determine where you decide to jump from. You can watch a video and read more about the Cliffs here.
The Villages Water Park
If you’re looking to beat the heat and still enjoy the sunshine, head on down to The Water Park at The Villages in Flint. Waterslides, forest animal themed playscape, tubing river, and pool are sure to amuse the whole family for a whole day. Adult admission is 19.95 and kids over 2 get in for 16.95. Birthday packages start at 169.95 for 10 guests.
Our family has frequented the Tyler Caldwell Zoo both when it was free and open to the public, and after by purchasing a family membership (much more economical if you plan on coming more than a couple times a year). They pack a number of unique animals in a small space, and our kids are never disappointed. Bring extra cash and quarters for kid favorites: the snack bar, food for the fish and ducks, and birdseed sticks to feed the birds in their wildfowl exhibit.[ad#large-blog-block]
Discovery Science Place
This is one of our favorite indoor places in Tyler. The Discovery Science Place has a little something for kids of all ages. The littlest einstiens will enjoy exploring the sensory (?) play pit and looking for their favorite clown fish in the big fishtank. Children ages 3 to 10 will find plenty of activities to pique their interest: exploring the dark caves and tunnels, activating the earthquake machine, sending balls down the mini-roller coaster, and the biggest room full of imaginative play any kid could ever wish for. What would it be like to be an actor on the stage? Wanna be a vet? Work at a Pizzeria? Play EMT? Kids can climb aboard a real ambulance, don a doctor’s coat, bandage a baby doll, or listen for their brother’s heartrate through a real stethescope. Older children will find curious science exhibits in the backroom waiting for their interaction. This is place if chock full of explorative possibilities particularly for that 3-10 age group; you will not exhaust it in one rainy afternoon. So let the kids take their time, and plan on returning another rainy day.
Restaurants with Playgrounds
Need to let the kids stretch between shopping, errands, or appointments? Grab lunch at one of Tyler’s many restaurants with play-places: McDonald’s on Broadway, Chick-fil-a on Broadway and 110 S has one of the only indoor playgrounds, Sonic on the west side: Loop 323 and 64, has a great outdoor playground and vollyball court for kids of all ages. McDonald’s offers birthday party packages starting at $67 for 10 partiers including happy meals, cake, goody bags, hostess, and party supplies.
Tyler’s Laser-X laser tag center provides the ultimate laser tag experience. This Tyler business holds the record for the largest Lazer-X center in the world with a whopping 13,300 square feet, and rounds out the total sporting experience with a full service food and drink concession. Need an unforgettable party site for your teen and all his pals? The dining/party area can seat up to 100 guests, and gamers can take advantage of the arcade games, or play a little air hockey or pool. The arena itself will either awe or overwhelm the senses with music, black light, fluorescent carpet, fog, strobes, and other special effects.
The cost? Here’s where the fun fades to the background for mom and dad: $8.80 for one game (but what kid could be satisfied with only one?) and the price increases up to the ultimate individual experience at $25.30 for a 1 1/2 hour pass. And for the unforgettable birthday party experience, plan on shelling out at least $165 to rent a room and pay for 8 guests. You provide the food and supplies.
The Skateplex (Out of Business): Update: Now Tony Cruz XTC Fitness Sports & Fitness
Tyler Skateplex has morphed from a simple rollerskating arena into a full-circle entertainment center for the X-games fan. In addition to the traditional skating floor, the Skateplex houses an arcade room, party room, snack bar, gamers’ lounge with XBOX 360’s, PS3’s, and Wii’s, and an elaborate skate park. Individual prices vary from $4 to $8 for a skating rink pass depending on the night ($20 for lock-ins), $2 extra for skate rental, $5 for the gamers’ lounge pass, and $8-$25 for the skate park. Birthday party packages start at $100 for 10 partiers, and increase depending on what’s included to the ultimate 1 hour private party package at $200 including rental, hostess, and DJ (additional fees apply for extra hours, use of the skate park or gaming lounge, and if your party includes more than 100 guests).
Blast Ball is like Tee-Ball but even simpler and for ages 2 1/2 – 4. Kids get to learn what it is like to be on a team and enjoy the sport without all the rules they are not quite ready for. Your child is sure to love it. Registration is in the first part of March. You can read more about Blast Ball and how to register at this article.
Jumpin’ Jack’s Party Shack
What kid doesn’t enjoy a good jump in a bouncy house? Imagine a building full of bouncy houses; add slides and ramps and bouncy mazes, and you’ll find yourself at Jumpin’ Jack’s Party Shack, on highway 69 south of Tyler. This is a great place for the energetic child, but not for the one prone to tears. The later may be so inspired they forget to cry, but it could just be a sad wait on the picnic tables with mom until the rest of the crew exhausts themselves. Open admission is $6 per child.
Jumpin’ Jack’s Party Shack makes throwing a birthday party for 3-10 year olds easy. The staff takes care of set up and decorations, serving cake, and clean up. They also provide the cake or cupcakes, punch, and supplies. Mail out the invitations, and they do the rest. Can’t beat that. Party packages start at $225 for up to 14 friends. Theme parties are available for an additional fee.
Chuck-e-Cheese is another option for birthday parties, but I wouldn’t call it an “easy birthday party.” I wouldn’t voluntarily take my own four children into that vastly over-rated over-stimulating, headache-on-a-pizza-tray, let alone keep tabs on a whole party of young ones in this too bright, too loud circus. If that’s not enough to deter you, the affect on your wallet might. The party package costs start at $10.99 per child and include 20 tokens per child which will provide about 10 minutes of fun, so plan on spending more to stave off disappointed little faces.
For an East Texas Experience
If you are up to the travel you can drive on out North of Longview and White Oak to a town called East Mountain where you will find Sacred Spur Ranch. You will find a ranch style restaurant opened on Friday and Saturdays. Saturdays seem to be a little more lively. The restaurant offers cowboy style ambiance, live country music, and steaks cooked on a large make shift iron grill over wood coals. The feel of this place is truly rustic and will provide kids a more rustic type restaurant experience. I wouldn’t take toddlers here however.
As you can see, there are many things to do in Tyler Texas for families. So get out there and explore!