North and South American DestinationsTexas

San Antonio – A Delightful Experience of the Past and Present

San Antonio is a travel destination that won’t disappoint, offering something of interest for every visitor that promises to provide good times and good memories.  For history buffs, San Antonio’s diverse past will be of particular interest as they explore the 4-acre complex of the Alamo. Here visitors are taken back in time to 1836 with reenactments of battles from the Texas Revolution to interactive tours of the famous compound that became the inspiration for Texans fighting for their freedom against Mexico https://www.thealamo.org/.

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In order to fully appreciate San Antonio’s rich cultural heritage, tourists should also visit the Missions National Historical Park.  Comprised of 18th century Spanish Catholic Missions along the San Antonio River, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, Mission Espada, and Mission San Antonio de Valero (famously known as The Alamo) represent an age when cultures were converging into a brave new world.  These five missions are the largest assembly of colonial architecture in North America that were built in order to settle the area for Spain and to introduce indigenous people to Christianity. They later played pivotal role in Texans’ struggled for independence from Mexico. 

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Mission San Jose

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Today, these missions, which are visited by over 2.5 million visitors a year, still celebrate Mass and continue to shape the culture and identity of San Antonio.  Because these well- preserved missions are no more than three miles apart, they are easily accessible via car, on foot, by bike, or by bus. Both guided and self-guided tours are available as well. 

https://www.nps.gov/saan/index.htm

In addition to the missions, the Spanish Governor’s Palace located in downtown San Antonio, is another National Historic Landmark and is one of the oldest residential buildings in the state of Texas.  It is also the only remaining building from Presidio San Antonio Bexar and is a well-preserved example of 18th century Spanish Colonial architecture. 

Spanish Governor’s Palace

Spanish Governor’s Palace

After taking in San Antonio’s historic past, you can easily step back into the Alamo City’s vibrant present at the River Walk.  The famous 15-mile Paseo del Rio is the biggest urban ecosystem in the United States. Located below street level, the cool, tranquil waterway can be explored either on foot or via guided tour on a river barge.  The River Walk makes all the historic sites very accessible and also has many restaurants and shops to explore. 

River Walk

River Walk

While culture and history are an integral part of San Antonio’s identity, it also has a wide variety of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy.  The San Antonio Botanical Garden is a prized gem in the Alamo City and was ranked by Architectural Digest as one of the eight most beautifully designed gardens in the United States.  Central to the garden’s beauty is Argentinian architect, Emilio Ambasz’s Lucielle Halsell Conservatory. It is also home to a number of historic buildings such as the Auld House and the Daniel J. Carriage House.  These structures give visitors the opportunity to experience life on the Texas frontier during the 1800s.

 

Lucielle Halsell Conservatory

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Another local attraction is the San Antonio Zoo, which is located near the heart of downtown San Antonio.  As a zoo committed to education and conservation, it boasts amazing natural habitats for over 750 species of animals on over 56 acres of magnificently landscaped grounds.  

San Antonio provides additional outdoor entertainment from large theme parks such as Sea World and Aquatica San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  The Alamo City is also home to Morgan’s Wonderland, the first theme park designed for people with special needs.

If you are looking to explore outside of San Antonio, then visiting the Hill Country attractions is definitely worth the short drive.  Enchanted Rock State Natural Area provides ample opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to hike, explore, and bike along its many trails. For those who enjoy rock climbing, there are climbing and bouldering opportunities as well.  Visitors can even enjoy stargazing, camping, and birdwatching.  

Enchanted Rock

Enchanted Rock

The Hill Country area is also known for its picturesque towns and farms, with its quaint main streets filled with boutique shops.  It is also an area known for its yearly events featuring over 30 wineries and their award-winning wines.

San Antonio is also home to one of the world’s leading show caves.  The Natural Bridge Caverns offers multiple tours to explore the wonderous formations of stalagmites, soda straws, chandeliers, and stalactites.  The park also offers visitors above ground adventures with ropes courses, ziplining, and Texas’ largest outdoor maze.  

Another attraction close to the caverns is Bracken Cave.  During the summer, the largest bat colony in the world congregates there.  Visitors can watch the wonderous bat flight that takes place every evening as they form an enormous mass that is thought to be the largest assembly of mammals in the world.  Natural Bridge Caverns offers packages where guests can visit the caverns and Bracken Cave. 

Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns
Close to the caverns is the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, voted by USA Today as one of the top 10 safari parks in the country.  Guests encounter over 500 animals from all over the world from the comfort of their own vehicles as they drive through 450 acres of some of Texas’ most beautiful hill country. 

If you’re looking for a quiet place to relax and unwind, then a stay at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort is definitely worth a visit.  This 300-acre all-inclusive resort offers complete spa services, a championship golf course, a five acre-water park, nature trails, tennis courts, family and children’s activities, and a wide variety of dining options.  Because of Hyatt Hill Country’s wide offering, there is very little reason to ever leave the property during your stay there. With the well-appointed rooms and first-class service, guests experience authentic southern hospitality at its best.

The water activities are always a hit with families. The lazy river is a relaxing treat that winds throughout the property.  The pools and hot tubs are easily accessible from the lazy river along with poolside dining. When you want a break from all the splash and activity, adults can retreat to a relaxing adults-only swimming pool and enjoy additional privacy in their poolside cabanas.  The kids (and adults) can also take a turn on 22-foot waterslide and learn some skills flowboarding on their Flowrider Wave Machine. The resort also offers numerous children and family activities from family golf, arts and crafts, to evening smores and daily outdoor movies. 

Lazy River

Lobby

Waterslide

Playground

Firepit for Smores

San Antonio is a welcoming community of culture, history, and beauty.  Folks who travel here will get to experience both the new and the old in a wide range of sites and activities that give all who visit a memorable experience that uniquely belongs to the Alamo City.

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