One of the great things about living in Cedar Park is that we are geographically positioned to have easy access to Austin, Round Rock, Lake Travis and the Hill Country, giving us a wide variety of things to do within an easy drive. Recently a friend had a great idea to take the kids on a little outing to check out the huge Bass Pro Shop Outdoor World store next to the Round Rock Outlet Mall. She heard that it is a nice place to go when it’s really hot outside and you need to find a couple hours of entertainment for the kids.
From Cedar Park, we headed East on FM 1431 all the way to I35. The newly constructed interchange at 35 and 1431 is a little confusing, so fear not if you end up in the wrong lane, it happens. You will still get there as long as you are to the left or far left. If you end up passing I35 service road, just turn left into the HEB shopping center across from IKEA and make your way through the Outlet Mall to the far North end, where you will see Bass Pro. You can’t miss it, it’s huge! If you end up on the service road of I 35, turn into the second Outlet Mall entrance and make your way back. If you see the Bass Pro sign and think you can turn there, you will soon realize you went too far and will have to make the loop all the way around again. Trust me, I did it.
When we arrived the kids were pretty excited with the wilderness themed, Disney-like exterior. There is a large rock lined stream that runs across the front of the store with a wooden bridge you have to cross over to go inside. Once you enter, you feel like you stepped into a Lodge complete with animal heads mounted to the walls, a mammoth stone fireplace and large comfy furnishings. With 120,000 square feet of floor space, the store is so big you don’t know where to go first. Immediately the kids spotted the large aquarium at the back of the store so we went there first.
The tank holds 16,000 gallons of water and is stocked with fish native to the area including largemouth bass, white bass, brook trout, catfish, gar, crappie and smallmouth. You can watch weekly fish feedings on Saturday and Sunday at 1PM. Surrounding the tank is a detailed wildlife scene with a waterfall, bear, rocks and trees. It’s quite a sight to see.
Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill is another great reason to pay Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World a visit. I had no idea this was even here, but now you can bet my kids will be asking to go back often. The underwater themed bowling alley, bar and restaurant is over the top decorated with large creatures of the sea hanging from ceiling and remnants of a shipwreck scattered about. The lighting and ambience makes for a fun indoor experience. Bowling during non peak hours is $20 for an hour plus shoe rental. With four kids they were able to complete one game during the hour with about 10 minutes left to bowl a couple more frames. You can also order food while bowling or sit in the restaurant or bar to order. Fun for any age.
After the kids bowled, we continued to look around the store at all the interesting merchandise. Anything you can think of for outdoor fun, camping and fishing, you will find here. The toy department kept them busy for quite a while too. Then we wandered over to the ATV and pontoon boat displays. The ladies clothing section, which we didn’t get to spend any time in, looked really nice. I spotted a few things that I will need to go back and get.
They also have a booth set up to sell their luxury wilderness themed adventure resort, Big Cedar Lodge, located in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. It looks pretty amazing!
Overall we spent almost three hours shopping, bowling and eating. It’s definitely a great way to spend a hot TX afternoon. This little outing to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World was also good timing because I managed to pick up a great Father’s Day gift while we were there.