Things To Do in San Antonio with Kids

This is a guest post from Jody Halstead of Family Rambling. She blogs about her family travel adventures from Iowa. This post makes me want to go to San Antonio. Thanks Jody!

photo of river walk in san antonio texas, things to do in san antonio with kids

San Antonio River Walk

At first glance San Antonio seems like a dream destination. Year round temperate climate – check. History – check. Culture – check. Great food – check.  And then you look a bit deeper and realize that San Antonio has everything a traveling family could ask for in a vacation spot.

San Antonio’s temperate climate makes the city perfect to visit year-round. Average lows in December and January hover around 50°F, while summer highs reach the mid-90′s. The shoulder season of April/May and September/October are perfect for visitors with temperatures in the 80′s and the summer crowds depleted. May and October are the rainiest months, but even then you’ll only lose half a day to the weather.

Things To Do in San Antonio with Kids

San Antonio for the Nature Lover

The fabulous climate makes San Antonio a great place to get outside and explore — and San Antonio has dozens of opportunities!

For underground adventure visit the Natural Bridge Caverns. Tours take you through a spectacular half mile of caverns. Not into underground exploring? Try the 350 foot long zip line.  (Prices begin at $17.95 for adults, $9.95 for kids).

San Antonio is filled with parks! One of the most popular is Enchanted Rock. The park is almost 1650 acres of wilderness filled with hiking trails, rock climbing, picnicking spots and rustic camping. The centerpiece, though, is the 640 acre pink granite dome that rises 425 feet above the ground.  Tip: arrive early as parking spaces can fill quickly on weekends. (entrance fee $6 per day)

For nature with a side of wild visit the Wildlife Ranch. 400 acres of open Texas hills lead you through a worldwide safari of over 500 animals. You can also get up close and personal with some animals in the petting zoo. ($16.50 adults, $8.50 kids).

photo of the alamo in san antonio texas, texas with kids

The Alamo

San Antonio for the Historian

Texas history really begins in San Antonio and no place evokes more passion than the Alamo. Smaller than you’ll expect, it really won’t take long to explore. The Alamo is one of five missions; I suggest a drive along the Missions Trail. The other four missions are larger and more impressive, definitely worth visiting. These missions still hold regular services and are open to visitors from 9am til 5 pm. There is no charge to visit the missions.

For a look at justice, Texas Style, you’ll want to head to the Texas Ranger Museum located in the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum. Photographs and artifacts will give you an idea of Texas’ past, then take a step back to San Antonio circa 1900. Don’t miss the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit- including a replica of the “death car”. The Buckhorn Museum is filled with natural history- over 520 species of animals are represented. The Buckhorn Museum is a large tourist draw and admission prices reflect this. Food in the saloon is good, but it’s the atmosphere that will thrill the kids. (Admission to the museums $17.99 adults, $13,99 kids; keep your receipt for free second day admission. No charge to visit the saloon, cafe or arcade).

For a closer look at Texas history a visit to the Witte Museum is in order. Log cabins and historic homes of San Antonio have been moved to the museum grounds while history comes alive in special shows inside the museum. The science tree house is four stories of fun and hands on learning and makes a great adventure when the weather isn’t cooperating. (adults $8, children $6)

San Antonio for Shoppers

El Mercado is always my first stop. The largest Mexican market outside of Mexico you’ll find everything from clay figures and hand beaded bags to beautifully worked leather goods and authentic dresses. Plan to eat at Mi Tierra — a favorite of both locals and tourists. Enjoy a serenade from roaming Mariachi, savor fresh Tex-Mex cuisine and don’t forget treats from the bakery as you leave!

For arts you’ll want to stroll through La Villita, just off the Riverwalk. San Antonio’s oldest settlement now hosts artisans whose crafts range from pottery and painting to jewelry and metal work.

After indulging your artistic side at La Villita stroll down the steps of the Arneson River Theater to the famed Riverwalk. Here you’ll find shops selling trinkets and restaurants to suit any taste. Rest your feet and enjoy a tour of the Riverwalk by boat. The history is fascinating.

photo of the kids water park at the jw marriott in san antonio texas.

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa

Where to Stay

There is no shortage of lodging around San Antonio. My suggestion is to spoil your family at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort. With its 6 acre water park (heated and open year round), incredible kids club, sensational spa and two PGA golf courses every member of your family will be thrilled.

Options around San Antonio range from budget friendly to luxurious; you’ll have no problem finding something to fit your needs and your price point.

San Antonio is a wonderful, year-round family destination. One visit will leave you wanting to return!

Photos courtesy of iatraveler on Flicker.

Relevant Links:

Review of JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa on Ciao Bambino

5 Comments

  1. Well, this is timely! I was just thinking if the kids & I should bother going down there this summer while my husband’s there for a conference. Plus, the world’s largest cowboy boots are there! :-)

  2. Cathy- you’ll find that San Antonio is a great winter destination. Lows average around 50 degrees F, so very comfortable with a jacket. 6 & 8 year old boys will enjoy the buckhorn Saloon & Museum (http://buckhornmuseum.com/), with the Texas Ranger Museum, loads of “wild west” history and even some Bonnie & Clyde memorabilia. Wildlife Ranch Safari is open year round, as are Natural Bridge Caverns. Sea World and Six Flags Fiesta are open weekends and Christmas week in December.

  3. Thank you Jody for your comments about San Antonio. You obviously loved it here. I wish more people would write in because Jody was only able to write about a small fraction of the family activities in San Antonio. Since San Antonio is one of the major tourist destinations in the world I was expecting more from other people. I worked helping tourists in downtown San Antonio so I know more than the average person. Some of the places I would suggest are San Fernando Cathedral. Even though it is far away from the Alamo it was central to the battle of the Alamo. The church which was built in the 1700′s is still in use as a Catholic church today. San Fernando cathedral was General Santa Ana’s head quaters during the battle of the Alamo and from the roof he gave the final orders to kill everyone. Davie Crockett’s tomb is also in the church. Take the kids to see the Movie the Alamo at River Center Mall then visit the Alamo then San Fernando Cathedral. It will mean a lot more to them that way. It is probably not Davy Crokett’s remains at San Fernando Cathedral but a beautiful memorial to the heroes of the Alamo. During the month of April we celebrate Fiesta. It is like a month long party with events for everyone including children.

  4. Thank you for your suggestions, Perry! San Antonio is a special place and one that is worth re-visiting!

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