Get ready for lots of sun, and lots of fun! El Paso, Texas is famous for its year-round sunny weather, scenic spots and outdoor activities, and rich culture. Your kids will have a great time, while learning more about nature and history. Best of all, you’ll finally get to be able to taste authentic Mexican food.
Take your pick from our list of fun family things to do in El Paso this weekend—including some suggestions for kids of different ages.
Franklin Mountains State Park
This is one of the largest urban parks in the United States, with over 100 miles of trails for biking and hiking that will take you through the desert mountains and lead to caves and mines.
You can explore it freely, get a guided tour, or check the park’s event page to know the month’s free guided hikes with park rangers or volunteers. Kids can also join the free geocaching “treasure hunt”, where they can hunt for geocaches then sign the log where they find it, before hiding it somewhere else.
However, because these are desert mountains, there aren’t a lot of shaded areas. Bring lots of water, and go early in the morning if you want to avoid the burning noon sun. Older kids may also enjoy overnight camping.
El Paso Museum of Archaeology
Tucked at the foot of Franklin Mountains is this small but interesting museum that showcases over 14,000 years of prehistory from the areas of El Paso, the Southwest, and Northern Mexico. The exhibits include ancient pottery and dioramas about the American Indians and the Paleoindian hunters, dating from the Ice Age to their contemporary descendants.
The exhibits are regularly rotated, and special exhibits can also be found in the northern gallery and the auditorium. Before leaving, be sure to head behind the museum for nature trails that are surrounded by wildflowers.
El Paso Zoo
The 35-acre zoo is large enough to house many exotic animals, but still manageable enough for a toddler or preschooler to explore without becoming too tired or overwhelmed. You can also rent strollers for your baby.
It’s home to over 220 species from four different continents, and there are plenty of play areas too. Kids can run around the Desert Spring, try the slides and swings at the Tree House Playground, ride the Endangered Species carousel or African Star Train, or watch a nature show at the amphitheater.
El Paso Museum of History
Learn more about local history at this interactive museum. It has a collection of over 10,000 artifacts, pictures and documents that showcase over 400 years of El Paso’s history and culture. There are also entire walls of touch screen displays, for a multimedia experience that brings together both the past and the future.
Hueco Tanks State Historic Site
These rocky basins have great historical and spiritual significance. For centuries, people would come here to collect rainwater, especially during times of drought. That’s why this area was considered sacred, and is now a culture treasure because of the pictographs and petroglyphs that different cultures had left behind. Some of these are more than 1,500 years old!
You can join a tour anytime, but call at least a week before if you want to hike or explore the area on your own. Some areas of the North Mountain area also require a permit, and the site only issues 70 a day—so be sure to book it far ahead.
Kids of all ages (and adults too) will enjoy this entertainment center, which is divided into different sections.
At Game Zone, your kids will have a field day with virtual reality games or full motion simulations. You can also engage in a little friendly competition at the shooting gallery, and take home lots of prizes.
Speed Zone is considered one of the best go-kart places in El Paso. The race area is one acre, and has plenty of exciting twists and turns. You can also head to Bumper Zone, where you steer rubber boats in a pool filled with 100,000 gallons of water.
You can get kid-friendly and very affordable meals at the Food Zone, which offers takeout and delivery.
Just 10 minutes away from downtown El Paso is a prehistoric landscape that’s filled with 211 acres of dinosaur fossils and tracks. The area is now owned by the El Paso Science Center, and every first Sunday of each month they organize a hiking tour.
It’s the perfect activity for a child who loves science and dinosaurs. During the hike (which usually lasts from 2 to 2.5 hours) you’ll visit 10 different geologic sites. Aside from showing the dinosaur footprints, the guides will also talk about fossilization, animal tracking, geologic history, and more.
The tour only costs $15 for adults and children from 5 years old and above.
Fort Bliss and Old Ironside Museum
Is your child fascinated by cars, tanks and soldiers? Then your visit to El Paso must include a visit to this museum, which showcases the history of the fort and its 1st Armored Division. You’ll see over 40 tanks and other armored vehicles, and a large collection of military artifacts and memorabilia.
American Eagle Paintball
The whole family will love a rousing game of paintball, and there’s no better place to get it than at American Eagle. Located at Montana Avenue, El Paso, it is the largest facility of its kind in Texas, and has five different “battlefields” where you can hold your games.
Ascarate Park and Lake
If you just want a quiet place with a beautiful view, and plenty of space for the kids to play and enjoy the good weather, head to Ascarate.
The park sprawls over 400 lush acres of land, and a beautiful 48-acre lake. It’s the perfect place to have a picnic, play frisbee or other sports, or just run around freely. You can even rent a canoe or go fishing.
Explore El Paso with your family
El Paso is an affordable family destination with a diverse range of activities that appeal to different ages. They can enjoy nature, learn more about culture, or play games at the recreational facilities—making El Paso both the “Sun City” and a “Fun City”.