Hi, my name is Chrystal Tamillo, and I’m a local business owner here in Johnson City. Many of the things I love about our small town is that on any given day off - we have a ton of options as a family to share some quick afternoons together or more planned out day trips all in the Johnson City area! Hope you enjoy exploring the crossroads of the Hill Country!
Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Pedernales Falls State Park http://tpwd.texas.gov/state-parks/pedernales-falls It’s not often that you have a historical and beautiful state park right down the street but we do! The great thing about the “Falls” (local term) is that you can spend a day, or you can spend a few hours - completely up to you! Your family will love all the options: swimming in the river (it’s beautiful), tubing, canoeing, kayaking, riding horses, hiking on various trails, or make a few days of it and camp! The campsites are great - offering both electric and water hookups or more primitive sites as well. Also - tip for the young explorers - check out the backpack explorer options for the Junior Ranger program at the office when you check in - and get a map - it’s huge! I would plan ahead for this favorite - bring the sunscreen and wear good shoes restrooms on site are very nice and clean.
2. LBJ Boyhood Home & Ranch https://www.nps.gov/lyjo/planyourvisit/visitlbjranch.htm Visiting the Texas White House is a must! Who doesn’t love a little history lesson from time to time - especially when it’s Presidential! Great thing about living in a presidential hometown is all the rich culture you get to soak up ~ it really is neat - even my teenagers were entertained and interested! Note that the boyhood home is right off the main street in Johnson City - close to shopping, and dining. This can easily be a fun excursion paired with a few other stops that day. Plan on about 45 to an 1.5 hours depending on your crew.
3. Exotic Resort Zoo http://www.zooexotics.com Fun for all ages - this is so much fun! It’s the full “out on the range” experience where parts of Africa meet Texas. So just 4.5 miles north of the crossroads (local term 281 & 290 intersection) you will find 137 acres of animal kingdom with over 700 animals! So much fun - even a petting zoo and DO buy the buckets to feed the animals - worth every penny! Take the hand sanitizer because your chances of animal kisses are high! Oh and they also have Safari cabins if you are looking for the full “zoo” experience!
4. Science Mill http://www.sciencemill.org A local favorite for sure and by far one of the most interactive, family - fun afternoons! The Science Mill is located just in town, literally right off Lady Bird Lane. It is full of exhibits, 3D movies, and interactive learning for all ages. No one will be bored - promise & for the younger ones do the Fossil Dig - it’s part of their new outside exploring exhibit - so much fun! There is even a little cafe for a light lunch or snack. Plan ahead and buy tickets - some days there is a line out the door! And check their event page for upcoming music & special exhibits.