FAMILY VACATION: ROAD TRIP – SAN ANTONIO
TOP TWELVE TRAVEL TIPSHEET
By Esther Llanos Pipia
Editor’s Note: Top Twelve Travel Tipsheet is a ParentsPost.com series on favorite FAMILY-FRIENDLY places and activities outside Houston. Esther Llanos Pipia is a San Antonio SuperMom with a son and daughter. She was born in Colombia and grew up in San Antonio. She attended Wellesley College.
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#1 SAN ANTONIO ZOO & TRAIN
3903 North Saint Mary’s Street, San Antonio, 210-734-7184
The zoo is on 35 acres, and has 3,500 animals of 600 species. Children can feed the lorikeets at Lory Landing. There are hundreds of these small parrots waiting to dip their beaks into the cups of nectar, while sitting on visitors’ hands and shoulders. There is a great Tiny Tot Nature Spot where kids can swim in a shallow water beach area, fish with magnets, play in a kitchen and do other exploring. They can also see prairie dogs up close. You can bring your own food and drinks and there are grassy picnic areas where your children can play. The train will stop, drop-off and pick-up at the Witte Museum.
#2 BRACKENRIDGE PARK & JAPANESE TEA GARDENS
3700 North Saint Mary’s Street, 210-207-7275
Bring bread – there are lots of ducks to feed. This is a popular park with a nice playground for preschoolers. In the park, the Japanese Tea Gardens is open everyday from dawn until dusk. Children enjoy the koi ponds and waterfall. Some features of the garden are not easily navigated with a stroller.
#3 WITTE MUSEUM
3801 Broadway Street, 210-367-1900.
Located in the outskirts of the Zoo and Brackenridge Park, families can stroll through Old San Antonio model homes and learn about South Texas heritage, or explore the HEB Science Treehouse for hands-on science experiments.
#4 SAN ANTONIO BOTANICAL GARDEN
555 Funston at North New Braunfels Avenue, 210-207-3250
Special events during the summer include concerts and movies on the green. There are neat story times and craft activities for families. Parents and children can experience several gardens with a variety of flowers and design structures. The conservatory houses plants from desert regions and rainforests. There are neat story time and craft activities.
#5 SEAWORLD SAN ANTONIO
10500 SeaWorld Drive, 210-523-3900, 800-700-7786
Visitors enjoy encounters with all sorts of sea life including the beluga whale, killer whales, dolphins, penguins, sea lions and harbor seals. Be prepared for lots of walking! If you sit too close to the tanks during shows, you will get wet with icy cold water. The Sesame Street Bay of Play is great for young kids with rides, shows and play areas. Seaworld Aquatica Waterpark opened in May. It features water slides, rivers and more than 42,000 square feet of beach area.
MOMAK’S, 13838 Jones Maltsberger Road, 210-481-3600
This American style restaurant has a large enclosed play area for children – an 8,000 square-foot artificial turf field and a tree house. Weekends are busy, and this eatery is popular with kids’ sports teams for after-game celebrations.
THE COVE, 606 West Cypress, 210-227-2683
This restaurant is famous for its fish tacos. Organic foods and gluten free options are featured on the menu.
#7 SAN ANTONIO RIVERWALK
110 Broadway, 210-227-4262
A developed area of the San Antonio river lined with restaurants and shops, a visit is visually stimulating for your little ones. There are lots of good Mexican restaurants. Take your child on a boat ride with Rio San Antonio Cruises that tours downtown. Check for parades and special events.
#8 SAN ANTONIO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM
305 East Houston Street, 210-212-4453
This museum has lots of stations to spark your child’s imagination. Make sure to visit the HEB store in the basement. The Tot Spot is devoted to infants and toddlers.
5359 Casa Bella Street, 210-877-9804
A play place designed like a miniature town for children, including a small train.
#10 NATURAL BRIDGE WILDLIFE RANCH
26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, 830-438-7400
A self tour of wildlife from your own car. Families can go on safari, driving through 400 acres, to see up close wild animals including rhinoceroses, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, gazelles, camels, lemurs and kangaroos. You can buy food at the entrance to feed the animals. Beware the fearless ostriches. Stop by the petting zoo.
#11 NATURAL BRIDGE CAVERNS
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, 210-651-6101
These natural caverns are just 30 minutes north of downtown San Antonio. Explore the amazing underground passages and see ancient rock formations. Learn about stalagmites, stalactites, and other geological wonders as you wander around the caves.
HARDBERGER PARK, 13203 Blanco Road, 210-207-7275
A 311-acre park with two playgrounds. Enter at Blanco Road for the playground for toddlers through school aged children. Enter at NW Military Drive for the playground for toddlers and preschoolers. Pet-friendly with dog parks.MCALLISTER PARK, 13102 Jones Maltsberger Road, 210-207-7275
A 986-acre park with trails, picnic tables, pavilions and sports fields. Enter at Jones Maltesberger for playground.