For many people, San Antonio is synonymous with the River Walk and the Alamo. And those are certainly two great places to go when visiting San Antonio. But San Antonio, a city steeped in history and vibrant culture, has much more to offer! With its blend of Spanish colonial heritage and modern, dynamic atmosphere, San Antonio has something for everyone in the family.
Read on to see what to do and where to go when Visiting San Antonio with your kids.
The River Walk
Certainly no trip to San Antonio is complete without a visit to the iconic San Antonio River Walk. Take a 35-minute boat tour along the river, enjoy al fresco dining at Ostra Restaurant, and say hi to the ducks as you meander along the river.
La Villita HIstoric Village
Located just off the River Walk, La Villita is a quaint, quiet little area that is a haven for artists and art lovers. Filled with boutique art galleries and shops, La Villita is a lovely place to walk around and do some window-shopping. While there, pop in to the Little Church of La Villita, built in the 19th-century. You'll love the stained glass windows and the peaceful aura.
One of the most famous attractions in San Antonio, the historic Alamo, originally a Spanish mission and later a pivotal battleground during the Texas Revolution, is known for its well-preserved chapel and barracks, offering visitors a glimpse into the state's rich past and the individuals who fought for Texas' independence. It is open to the public from 9:00 to 5:30 daily and is a must-see during your San Antonio family vacation.
Built in the 1700s and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2015, the San Antonio Missions are also worth a visit during your San Antonio vacation. Mission Trails is a 7.5-mile hike- and bike-trail that starts at Mission Conception and continues to the other three Spanish missions along the route. However, you can start at the Alamo in the north and walk or bike the whole route to Mission Espada in the south, which is approximately 10 miles total. The terrain is easy, but if you have younger kids, you can also drive to each of the missions as needed.
Hemisfair and Tower of the Americas
The urban district of Hemisfair (formerly Hemisfair Park) covers 96 acres to the southeast of the Riverwalk. Take the kids to Yanaguana Garden and let them play at the large park that is perfect for both kids and adults. Explore the newly-opened Civic Park, a beautiful greenspace that's excellent for a relaxing walk. And enjoy 360-degree views of the city atop the distinct Tower of the Americas, a 750-foot tower with a revolving dining room and observation deck.
Historic Market Square
This shopping and dining area in downtown San Antonio has been around since the 1820s. Dine at the historic Mi Tierra Cafe and Panaderia for live mariachi music, tasty Tex-Mex eats, and cold margaritas. Shop El Mercado and the farmers market plaza for souvenirs.
Six Flags Fiesta TExas
Take the kids to the world-famous theme park Six Flags Fiesta for rides on the 90-foot-tall Ferris wheel, the roller coasters, water rides, the carousel, and kiddie rides. Make sure to check their calendar, as they are not open daily.
Legoland DIscovery Center
The famous indoor Lego playland has locations all over the world, including San Antonio! Take your little builders to LEGOLAND Discovery Center, where your younger kids can work on the gross motor skills and fine motor skills, and your older kids can enhance their creativity and grasp of physics. This is one of the best places to take kids of all ages to stretch their young minds!
This sprawling 349-acre park features picnic areas and ball fields, a mini train and playgrounds. Brackenridge Park also encompasses the Witte Museum, the San Antonio Botanical Garden, the San Antonio Zoo, and Kiddie Park. Pack a picnic lunch, take the two-mile train ride, and let the kids expel some energy on the playground.
San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is a great place to take the whole family. From lemurs and flamingos, speckled bears and clouded leopards, to kangaroos, giraffes, zebras, and lions, you're sure to find your kids' favorite animals. Meet Timothy, the world-famous hippo, and Hogan, the adorable anteater.
Tip: If you're looking for something to eat nearby, don't pass up Augie's Barbed Wire Smokehouse on St Mary's Street!
San Antonio BOtanical Garden
Across from the San Antonio Zoo lies the San Antonio Botanical Garden, a 38-acre space filled with both native and imported plants. Though I love to see the various cacti, the Japanese Tea Garden is by far my favorite part of the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Botanical gardens are always fun places to let little ones run out their wiggles, and this one is no exception.
At the Witte Museum, you and your family will learn about natural history, science, and South Texas history and heritage. You'll see a large collection of taxidermy animal displays, sculptures, and mounted skeletal displays. The Witte Museum is an excellent educational experience! Visit on a Tuesday afternoon for free entry. The museum does have an on-site cafe if you hear rumblings in little tummies.
This small, classic amusement park for children features a carousel, Ferris wheel, pony rides, and other rides for young kids. Originally built in 1925, Kiddie Park is the oldest children's amusement park in the United States.
Sea World San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio is marine animal theme park known all over the world. Families who love to watch their favorite sea creatures up close can explore the aquariums and catch a show. Visit the Sesame Street Bay of Play, cool off at the water park, get your thrills on the amusement rides. Your young children will love Big Bird's splash pad and your older kids will enjoy Coco Loco where they can play arcade games - both classic and modern. SeaWorld has awesome things to do for all ages!
With a focus on accessibility for everyone Morgan's Wonderland is a newer theme park in San Antonio. With lots of great kids' activities, like the butterfly playground, the pirate island playground, the sand circle, and sensory village, your children are sure to have a great time at Morgan's Wonderland!
San Antonio Museum of Art
The San Antonio Museum of Art is a great place to take your young learners. With art spanning 5000 years of human history, your future artists and art lovers are sure to find a favorite piece.
Buckhorn Saloon and Museum
The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum features a menagerie of Texas historical artifacts and curiosities. Look up, look down, look all around. With mounted antlers and animal heads and guns everywhere you look, it doesn't get much more "Texas" than the Buckhorn Saloon! Before you go, enjoy a cold beverage and a bite to eat at the saloon.
Your little foodies will love the Pearl District. With tons of eateries, plus a weekend farmers market and fresh brews for the adults, the Historic Pearl area has something tasty for everyone. You may even catch some live music while you're there!
If you have plenty of time in the San Antonio area and would like to venture out to see the surrounding areas, here are some suggestions that involve a short drive from San Antonio.
Natural Bridge Caverns
Get underground at Natural Bridge Caverns! The tour takes about 75 minutes, so make sure your kids are old enough to walk that long, and remember to wear proper footwear.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Go on a safari at Natural Bridge Wildlife Park! As you drive through the safari park, you'll see emus, gazelles, antelope, donkeys, bison, and much more! Choose from a self-guided tour in which you drive your own vehicle, viewing and feeding animals from your windows or a guided tour in which you ride along with a ranger, hearing unique facts about the animals you see. Add a giraffe encounter or an aviary experience for your littles. Before you go, grab a sweet treat or cold drink at the Safari Sweet Spot.
I hope your family vacation in Alamo City is full of good food (don't miss out on San Antonio's fabulous food truck scene!) and lots of laughs. With both excellent educational opportunities and exciting entertainment options, San Antonio ensures that your family will create lasting memories together in this vibrant Texan gem.
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