The Best Things to Do in Waco with Kids

mom, dad and two boys stand in front of the Waco silos

About four months after my youngest was born, my new family of four was ready to dip a toe back into the travel world. We wanted to go somewhere we had never been before, but that wasn’t too far away. Magnolia Market Silos have been on my bucket list pretty much since I heard of their existence, so Waco it was.

The perfect small town feel for a weekend away, Waco has plenty to do for kids and adults alike to fill up an entire weekend. Just be sure to check hours and days of operation, as many businesses close by 5. If businesses are open on Sunday, which many are not, it is often for limited hours as well.

How to Get to Waco from Houston

Waco is about a 3-hour drive northwest of central Houston. With College Station at about the halfway mark, it makes a great spot to get out and stretch your legs or have a bite to eat.

Where To Stay In Waco With Kids

There are hotel options in the area, but we ended up at a renovated 1940’s bungalow. We found out early in our travel days that hotel rooms and little kids are best kept separate. Naps, quick meals, and snacks are all much more manageable when you have your own kitchen and space.

What To Do In Waco With Kids

Magnolia Market Silos

Joanna and Chip Gaines’ “Fixer Upper” show has made this place a premier Waco destination. The gorgeous complex includes a home goods store, food truck area, a bakery, a coffee shop, and more. The best advice I can give is get there early. We arrived when everything opened at 9am on a Friday and only had to wait a few minutes in each of the {many} lines. I spent a good two hours browsing all of the shops and by 11 there were lines clear around the block.

If your kids aren’t into shopping or standing in line, there’s also a large lawn area with beanbag chairs, lawn games and balls to kick around.

toddler and baby sit side by side Cameron Park Zoo

Established in 1993, this 52-acre natural habitat zoo provides tree-shaded walking trails, cooling water features, and a unique naturescape playground area. With one main walking trail, it’s easy to see everything the zoo has to offer in under three hours.

Jeanes Discovery Center

In one entire wing of the Mayborn Museum at Baylor University is two floors of hands-on activities for all ages. Learn about Light and Sound, SpaceX and Backyard Ecology as well as many more exhibits. Play Waco, a toddler area for make believe play, was my 3 year old’s favorite!

child in baseball cap poses in front of windowWaco Mammoth National Monument

The centerpiece of this National park is the Dig Shelter housing Colombian Mammoth fossils found on that site. You can go on a 45-minute guided tour through a short, easy trail and end at the Dig Shelter where you can view actual fossils in their original position in the bone beds. You can walk their trails for free, but the tour and entry into the Dig Shelter requires tickets. There is a small covered sand pit near the gift shop where my toddler enjoyed digging for fossils.

Where to Eat in Waco

Magnolia Table

Arguably the best bite in Waco, be sure to arrive early if you didn’t make your reservation a month in advance. We arrived at 7 am on Monday morning to no wait, but it filled up fast in the following hour. Notable items include the lemon lavender donut holes, Jo’s biscuits with strawberry butter, and homemade tater tots, but you truly can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

smiling child holding dessert at outdoor tableSilos Baking Company

The line here can wind around the block if you are not there at 9am when they open, and for good reason! Try seasonal cupcake flavors like Strawberry Lemonade and Orange Dreamsicle, or tried and true favorites with kitschy names like Shiplap {vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting}. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the cookies are delicious as well!

Iced coffee from Magnolia Press in WacoMagnolia Press

The newest installment at the Silos grounds, Magnolia Press is the perfect first stop to fuel up for a morning of shopping and tasty treats. Try the 1904, a latte flavored with vanilla and toasted marshmallow, with a sweet or savory bite for breakfast.

Pinewood Coffee Bar

Hands down the best cup of coffee I have had in ages. Pinewood has a cute eclectic vibe and a comfortable outdoor area, perfect for letting the kids run around while you enjoy a cup of coffee or a beer.

Milo All Day

The genral vibe of most of the restaurants in Waco is college town casual, so the elevated scratch-made southern food at Milo All Day is a welcome addition. They don’t have a published kid’s menu, but our server let us know about the general fare they offered for kids {tenders & fries, etc.} and my 3 year old had a great time.

Union Hall

A classic food hall dining experience, Union Hall has something for everyone and it’s all very tasty! Just a short walk from Magnolia Silos, you can find anything from salads to sandwiches, pizza, burgers, curry, mexican and mac & cheese. Don’t forget to save room for dessert!

Waco is a fun little town with the perfect amount of activities to fill up an enjoyable and relaxing weekend with your family!


 

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Sean was born on a cattle ranch in Colorado and grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin. She moved to the Texas Hill Country with her parents and siblings after receiving her BA in Psychology from Ripon College in 2010. Starting in Kerrville, and eventually making her way to Fredericksburg, Sean spent the year after college dabbling in both social services and the service industry, never quite finding the right fit, but knowing her passion was in service. While living in Fredericksburg, she also met her future husband, Will, and they both eventually ended up in Austin and started dating a year later. While in Austin, Sean found a passion for the practice of yoga. After her initial 200-hour teacher training with Gioconda Parker, she started teaching in 2012, and less than a year later, it became her full time career. Sean has enjoyed teaching and training both domestically and internationally for almost a decade. Meanwhile, Sean and Will got married in May of 2015 and Will’s job moved them to the Clear Lake area of Houston a few months later. Weeks before their 4 year anniversary, they welcomed son Liam {April 2019}. Sean went from full time to part time yoga teacher and, after March 2020, has been teaching yoga exclusively on the online platform, Patreon. Sean and her family are excited to welcome a second baby boy in January 2022! You can follow her on Instagram @seanellenwatson for adorable family photos, yoga content, and things she thinks are funny.

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