Outdoor Fun

Abilene State Park

  • Overnight camping reservations are now available for spaces, shelters, and yurts. 
  • Day-use reservations can be made online at www.texasstateparks.org or by calling 512-389-8900. 
  • The swimming pool is now closed for the season. 
  • Rent kayaks and canoes to use on Lake Abilene at the new rental kiosk. 
  • Follow the park's Facebook page for news. 

The Abilene Zoo

Discover more than 1,000 animals of 140 species among the walkable zoological gardens. Hand feed a giraffe or book a VIP tour and peek behind the scenes!


Texas Parks & Wildlife recommends these places to spot different avian species. Grab binoculars and visit Fort Phantom Hill, Seabee Park at Fort Phantom Lake,  Lake Kirby Nature ParkWill Hair Park, Grover Nelson Park, or Abilene State Park and the adjacent, Lake Abilene.

Expert Jay Packer has documented more than 289 bird species in Taylor County during a birding “Big Year,” in 2019 and his daily blog of the adventure is a colorful catalog. Here are resources to help get started. You will want to start a digital journal and document your work as a citizen scientist through a free account and smartphone app via eBird.org. Bird fans also can join the Big Country Audubon Society group on Facebook and share findings with other bird lovers. 

 (Painted Bunting in photo was spotted at Kirby Lake on May 28)

Camp Barkeley Dog Park

  • Dogs can enjoy off-leash freedom in the two, large fenced parks: Dogs under 30 pounds and another for bigger dogs.
    • Water and waste-bags are available on-site.

City of Abilene Parks & Recreation

Spot wildflowers or birdwatch at Lake Kirby Nature ParkWill Hair Park, or Grover Nelson Park

  • Experience Adventure Lab, a series of virtual, location-based geocaches. Download the app and try it out! The adventure starts at the first interpretive sign near the pavilion and then proceeds along the Boardwalk. 

Take a walk, throw a frisbee or picnic at these parks:

Contemporary Outdoor Sculpture

Abilene is home to the longest-running outdoor sculpture exhibition of its kind in the state of Texas. The city is home to about 20 permanent sculptures by award-winning Texas artists along the N. and S. 1st railroad tracks through the center of town as well as other places around the city. Pick up a sculpture map at the T&P Depot or download it. The brochure features pictures of each sculpture as well as information about the artists who created them.

Every other September, the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council introduces four new sculptures for a two-year outdoor exhibit. These fun, funky designs make downtown culturally vibrant!


Disc Golf

Explore Fort Phantom Hill

Check the website for updates.

Standing over a remote grassy plain, the brick chimneys of Fort Phantom Hill aren’t just a ghostly sight; they’re a living piece of history. It was here, in 1851, that the U.S. Army established the fort to protect the Texas frontier as it moved west. Walk around the grounds (admission is free) and you’ll see three of the fort’s original stone buildings, more than a dozen chimneys, and the fort’s original foundations. Take a moment to savor the peace and quiet and you’ll get a sense of what life was like for those stationed at the fort. Keep your eyes open for songbirds and butterflies, like the variegated fritillary and red admiral that are attracted to the area’s colorful wildflowers. 






The Abilene area is a popular place for hunters, with options to hunt exotic game or classic fare. Hunters hit the area's wide-open spaces to find Mourning Dove, White-wing Dove, Whitetail Deer, Mule Deer, Axis Deer, Bob White Quail, Blue Quail, Turkey, Wild Hogs and other options. 

Sup Abilene Kayak and Paddle Board Rentals

Stand Up Paddle Boarding - Lake Fort Phantom Hill 

  • 9 Cherokee Circle, 5 miles from the Walmart on East Lake Road
  • Rentals open year round.
  • Call or text Amy 325-269-1812 for info or directions.





Golf Courses


Miniature Golf

  • Play Faire Park, established in 1947, Play Faire Park is one of the oldest, continuously operated miniature golf courses in the state.  Check the calendar to find outdoor concerts this summer. 
  • Primetime Family Entertainment Center is open, offering go-karts, miniature golf, bowling, and more.


Outdoor Movies

The Town & Country Drive-In movie theatre is open Thursdays through Sundays. Check the theater's website or FB page for current movies. 







Picture yourself in the Storybook Capital

You will find characters of every kind strolling the downtown cultural district, home to the largest public collection of storybook characters in the country, if not the world.






The Swenson House Gardens

Gardens are blooming and families are welcome to social distance and tiptoe through the blooms. A scavenger hunt list is available in the small library in the front yard. Family time!

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