AUSTIN (KXAN) — Looking for something different to do with your kids this weekend? Here are three unique, kid-friendly adventures in the Austin-area.

Austin Duck Adventures

You’ve probably seen the Austin Duck Adventures tours around town. If you’re lucky enough to be standing on the side of the road when one passes, you’re likely to get “quacked at,’ meaning the folks on board blow into whistle-like duck bills at you.

The tours also draw eyes when the bus, which doubles as a large pontoon boat, drives right into the lake, where the tour continues.

  • Austin Duck Boat Adventures bus
  • "Captain Bob" shares Austin facts during a more than an hour long Austin Duck Boat Adventure tour
  • Austin Duck Boat Adventures
  • A rider of the Austin Duck Boat Adventures tour takes a photo of the Texas State Capitol building

“I had to get out of the house today because we had some work being done, so I thought it would be fun to go on a duck tour that I never go on,” said Barbara Glaser Fryer, a woman who has lived in Austin since the 80’s and was on the tour last week.

Even Glaser Fryer admitted, with her extensive Austin knowledge, there were things she learned on the tour. It’s something Robert “Captain Bob” Ojeda promises will be the case if you decide to give the tour a whirl.

“You’re out here for 75 minutes and you get to know things that would take you about a week to discover,” he said. “I promise you, you’ll find things out about the city that you didn’t know.”

Bat Bridge

Without his love of animals, Dianne Odegard joked it’s unlikely she would have ever ended up with Lee Mackenzie. Thankfully, that wasn’t a hurdle for Mackenzie, who now spends his Saturdays lovingly hand feeding baby bats.

The couple runs the Austin Bat Refuge in the backyard of their quaint yellow home in the Mueller area. A massive flight cage, which doubles as an organic garden that attracts moths, takes up most of the yard. Inside are long water troughs or “swoop zones” and a habitat built specifically for bats who have found themselves injured or sick.

  • Bats hang from the flight cage at the Austin Bat Refuge.
  • A large flight cage takes up most of an Austin couple's backyard.
  • Names of bats on a whiteboard
  • Bats hang from the flight cage at the Austin Bat Refuge.
  • Dianne Odegard, of Austin Bat Refuge, holds a baby bat that was brought to the refuge Wednesday

“We take bats in from, usually from the public. They find them sometimes on the ground, sometimes roosting low on a wall, sometimes injured and we give them a home here, we fix them up, and if we possibly can, we let them go back to the wild,” Odegard said.

The most patient of bat enthusiasts often get to see those releases at the Austin ‘bat bridge’ on Congress Avenue, which happen after swarms of bats exit the bridge for their nightly migration. While it’s not a guarantee, people often gather at the bat bridge just before sunset to watch. It tops the list of coolest things to see in Austin.

“It is one of the things that makes Austin really unique and special,” Mackenzie said. He is out Friday and Saturday nights in the summer doing education with the kids about how to handle bats and sharing fun facts. You’ll find him at the Austin Bat Refuge table — which was recently equipped with a night vision camera.

Karts at COTA

Racing at Circuit of the Americas isn’t just for the pros. If you enter COTA from the Austin-side, you may not have immediately seen the go-kart track nestled into the complex, but it’s there and it’s a great way to spend a Saturday.

“Our carts do go up to 55 mph so they go pretty fast,” Itzel Lopez, the karting manager at COTA, explained.

The track just underwent some changes which make the straight away one of the longest in the country and also added “swooping S-turns” which make the course “super fun and challenging.”

  • A kart racer comes around the corner at Circuit of the Americas
  • A kart racer speeds by at Circuit of the Americas
  • Karts are lined up for racers at Circuit of the Americas
  • An employee at COTA waves the yellow flag
  • A kart racer speeds by at Circuit of the Americas

You can rent the course for an event or come out and race in the fun or competitive races, making new friends (or karting enemies, you do you).

“We saw a couple of racers there so it was very nice,” one of the go-kart racers said of being right next to COTA’s professional track. “I haven’t a track this big before.”