Mueller Lake Park & Playground

Popular, convenient, and big park in the heart of Mueller District

4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin, TX 78723

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our-review

Review

Directions

Website


Photos

Features

Family-Friendly Features


Park Features


Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

Summary

Let’s face it, if you have kids, you probably know about the Mueller neighborhood in Central Austin. The parks and trails alone are reasons enough to visit with your kids and family. Mueller has multiple parks, open space, and trails that interconnect within the community. 

Sitting at the center of Mueller is the Mueller Lake Park. Sitting on 30 acres, the park site includes the Mueller Center information, Mueller Lake, amphitheater and stage, picnic tables, loop trails, and of course the interactive playscape. Today’s article will be focused on just the playground.

(*we’ll be publishing multiple articles to cover Mueller so please come back in the future!)

How to get there

Map

Where to Park

You do have several options for parking in close proximity to the playground: parking lot, parking garage, and street parking. However, as the Mueller community continues to grow, it’s getting more difficult to find a spot easily but also depends on when you go.

There is a dedicated parking lot right next to the playground; however, it’s relatively small and fills up quickly. While there is also street parking surrounding the playground, be aware of street signs that are either 1) paid parking spots or 2) reserved for those with a residential pass. There are a few spots through-out Mueller that is still free to park; however, you’ll most likely have to walk a further distance. And if you are in a hurry and don’t mind paying, there’s always the McBee Parking Garage located by the Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theater and the Thinkery Museum.

Playground Area Amenities at Mueller Park

Depending on which direction you’re coming from, you’ll be first greeted by a lovely, mystical statue of Nessie outside the main entrance to the playground. The playground area is entirely gated and there are 3 entrances; however, be mindful that some people don’t close the gate behind them and the gates are sometimes left open – it doesn’t automatically shut. And while there isn’t a large tarp covering the playground area, you’ll find plenty of shade due to multiple trees and the flooring is a mix of mostly mulch and pavement. The playground area overall is big but small enough to keep your eyes on your kids playing even if they are on opposite sides. Other playground features include multiple picnic tables, benches, two playground structures: one built for toddlers and a second one designed for older kids, baby swings, larger swings, a merry-go-round (however, it’s not a traditional merry-go-round and was a little tough to push to get momentum), and a bathroom on-site, water fountains, and trash cans.

Toddler Playground

One of our favorite things about this playground is that it’s very toddler-friendly! Our 2 year old really enjoyed coming here. The very first thing he wanted to try was the larger, circular swings. While not completely unique to this playground, you won’t find this is every playground park. 

The toddler-size playground features 1 slide, a set of stairs with interactive activities along the walls, a small hammock-like plastic swing, and a large climbing rope structure. The park does feature 2 baby/toddler swings next to 2 larger swings. 

Larger Playground

The larger playground features 2 slides (one is metal – so I would test it before letting your kid slide down – at least if the big Texas sun is blazing while you’re there), a taller staircase with interactive walls, and lots and lots of climbing obstacles (rock wall and rope), and another hammock-like structure. Our 2-year old was a little intimidated to play on the larger playground but did enjoy climbing up and down the stairs and peeking through the holes.

As parents of a small toddler, we noted that the stairs were narrow making it less convenient for parents to follow along and the height of the platform next to the tallest slide was high and there is not much blocking a child from taking a tumble off the edge. Parents of older kids didn’t seem to blink at this but it gave us pause due to an incident where an older cousin pushed our kiddo off of a similar platform.

Restrooms at Mueller Lake Park

There is a separate men’s and women’s restroom close by the playground along with a water fountain.

Bottom Line: Is the playground at Mueller Lake Park a Good Place to Take the Kids?

Yes, yes, and yes! While it may get crowded at times, it’s another trip-worthy playground to take your kids to.

Bartholomew District Park

Playground and splashpad along with a separate pool and sports complex near Mueller

5201 Berkman Dr, Austin, TX 78723

Photos

Features

our-review

Review

Directions

Website


Photos

Features

Family-Friendly Features


Park Features


Our overall family-friendliness score:

BABY-FRIENDLY
TODDLER-FRIENDLY
OLDER KID-FRIENDLY
OVERALL FAMILY-FRIENDLY FEATURES
UNIQUE ASPECTS
Average

Star ranking definitions:

: Not for kids

: There are better options 

: Not bad, kids had fun

: Worth the trip

: Amazing, a must-do with kids

Rankings segments:

BABY-FRIENDLY: Baby can do more than just sit in a stroller or be carried around

TODDLER-FRIENDLY: Things are toddler level; designed for toddlers

OLDER KID-FRIENDLY: Things are meant for older kids 

AMENITIES: General family-friendly features

UNIQUE ASPECTS: Wow factor

Summary

Bartholomew District Park is a large park in East Austin, just North of the Mueller area. There is a playground, splash pad, and reservable pavilion at the NW most tip of the park right off of Berkman and Greenbrook Parkway, a municipal pool on 51st just East of Berkman, and a roller derby track/disc golf park on 51st near Tilley Street. This park is spread out!

Map

Playground at Bartholomew District Park

There are two separate playscapes at Bartholomew Park, one aimed at toddlers while the other is mostly for older kids. Both sections have some shade elements and bark mulch bases.

Toddler Playground

The toddler playground includes a few slides, some climbing sections, and a few interactive noisemakers along with baby swings.

Larger Playground

The larger section of the playground includes bigger swings and slides and a playscape generally more enjoyable for the older kiddos with monkey bars, obstacles to climb and spinning seats.

Bartholomew Pool

We didn’t get to check the pool out as it was closed during the winter holidays but it appears that at least the lap pool is heated as hours have been posted for January.

From the outside, we’re able to see a lot of water features for the kids along with a wading pool for the youngsters as well as a lap pool.

Other Features

Bartholomew District Park’s Pavilion 

There is a reservable pavilion near the playground, right next to the splash pad. We had great luck reserving the space for a baby shower a few years ago. It was very convenient for us as kiddos in the group got to play nearby, within eyesight of adults at the pavilion.

Nature Trail:

While there are some trails throughout Bartholomew park, we wouldn’t state this as a strong suit. We didn’t find a trail connecting the playground to the pool, or to any other sections of the park for that matter. It appears you’d have to make your own trail or hop back in the car and get back onto streets to get to other sections of the park in a short amount of time. Trees are also relatively sparse in much of this park so it’s not quite as scenic as, say, Garrison Park.

Parking 

The parking lot at the playground is small, a little awkwardly shaped, had many potholes, standing water and is unpaved (not very stroller-friendly). It’s a popular park for parties and barbeques so it’s been generally crowded on the occasions we visited. It’s not our favorite parking lot at a park but it gets the job done for the most part.

The parking lot at the pool is much bigger, paved and striped, and well maintained and provides easy access to the pool. The sports complex and roller derby/disc golf sections have small, basic parking lots that seem to get the job done.

Restrooms at Bartholomew Park

We didn’t visit the bathrooms at this park.

Bottom Line: Is Bartholomew Park a Good Place to Take the Kids?

Our kids have had a great time at the playground and then cooling off at the splash pad, we’ve hosted a successful baby shower at the pavilion, and it’s generally less crowded than the park at Mueller Lake. For all these reasons along with all other things this park has to offer, we have to say it’s worth a visit.

The separate pool looks like a fantastic offering with a lot of fun attractions for the kiddos. We’ll visit soon!