Originally a Franciscan mission called Mission San Ant√≥nio de Valero, this was the first of five missions established in the area starting in 1718. It was fortified and renamed by the Mexicans. The Alamo stands as a monument to the 189 volunteers who fought to the death there in 1836 against an army of 4000 Mexican troops. Texas was at that time a part of Mexico, and the goal of the 189 volunteers was to break free of Mexican rule. "Remember the Alamo" was the battle cry several weeks later when a motley crew of Texas volunteers surprised the Mexican army outside Houston and defeated them.
Today , the historic chapel and barracks contain the guns and other paraphernalia used by William Travis, Davy Crockett, James Bowie, and other Texas heroes. Outside in the peaceful courtyard, a history wall recounts the history of the Alamo before and after its days as a fortress.
Alamo Special Effects Theater
307 Alamo Plaza
Winter: 10 -7 Summer hours: 10.-8 .
Group rates available for 10 or more.
An action-packed multi-media production portraying the movement toward Texas Independence with the Alamo drama as its centerpiece. Utilizing an array of state of the art special effects, the "Encountarium F/X Theatre" format surrounds viewers with an environment that simulates the touch and feel of being present as history is made.
(Small children may be frightened by the vivid scenes of battle and the loud sounds of guns being fired). In addition to the theatre, there is a retail store and a light food and beverage service both inside and outdoors at the Losoya Court Cafe.
In the River Center Mall
This state of the art theater presents Alamo, The Price of Freedom a 45-minute docudrama. The story begins with the arrival of William B. Travis on Feb. 3, 1836, in San Antonio, and tells story of the 189 defenders who chose to die for freedom from Mexican rule. IMAX surround sound and the huge (six story) screen make the battle of the Alamo very realistic.
(Small children may be frightened by the vivid scenes of battle and the loud sounds of guns being fired).
San Antonio Missions National Park
Established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century, the four Spanish colonial missions that now comprise this national park stand as reminders of Spain's evangelical outreach northward from Mexico. All of the missions are active parish churches which in addition to religious services offer exhibits, lectures, talks and cultural demonstrations.
(1) Missi√≥n San Jos√©
6539 San Jos√© Dr.
One of the largest and most successful missions in the southwest, it has a visitor center that details the history of the missions. San Jos√©'s outer wall, Native American dwellings, granary, water mill, and workshops have been restored and can be viewed by visitors.
(2) Missi√≥n Concepci√≥n
807 Mission Rd.
This mission dates back to 1731. It is one of the best preserved in Texas and the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. It is built of porous limestone which is found in quarries in the area. It is known for its remarkable 18th century frescoes.
(3) Mission San Juan
A self sufficient community was centered around this mission, which was also established in 1731. Goods produced by local Indian artisans and farmers and not needed by residents were traded. The mission church is notable for its Romanesque arches. It has a serene chapel for meditation.
(4) Mission Espada
10040 Espada Rd.
The southernmost Spanish colonial mission has a 120 foot long Arab-inspired aqueduct. This was part of the missions' famous acequia water management system that carried water over Piedras Creek for over 250 years. Nearby farms still use water from this system.
Texas Star Trail
This interesting family activity involves taking a 2.6-mile walking tour in which 80 historic sites are identified by blue disks inlaid in the sidewalks. A map and brochure(available from the San Antonio Conservation Society, 107 King William St.) give details about each marked site.
The river's floating transportation system, provides a novel method of sightseeing in downtown San Antonio. Groups can also dine aboard open air, candlelit cruisers as they wind their way along the scenic waterway. River taxis deliver visitors to Rivercenter, a dazzling three-level glass shopping, dining and entertainment complex, and to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Amidst the daily hubbub of the busy metropolitan downtown, sequestered 20 feet below street level, lies one of San Antonio's jewels. Best known as River Walk, but also as Paseo del Rio, this leading tourist attraction comprises about 3 miles of stone pathways lining both banks of the San Antonio River as it flows through downtown. In some places the walk is peaceful and quiet; in others it is an energetic mix of European style caf√©s, restaurants, nightclubs, gleaming high rise hotels, boutiques, and strolling mariachi bands, all of which can also be seen from river taxis and charter boats.
The River Walk stretches for approximately two-and-a-half miles from the Municipal Auditorium and Conference Center on the north end to the King William Historic District on the south.
22 S. Alamo
This former 1968 World's Fair site southeast of River Walk is home to the 750-ft
Tower Of The Americas. The Tower, 750 ft. tall, offers a panoramic view of San Antonio and the surrounding area. Glass-walled elevators ascend over 500 feet to the restaurant and observation level. It was the theme structure for HemisFair in 1968 and was designed to symbolizes the progress made by the confluence of civilizations in the Western Hemisphere. Observation Deck, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday - Thursday; 9 a.m.-11 p.m., Friday -Saturday. Parking for restaurant is available off Bowie Street, east of the park.
Institute Of Texan Cultures
This is an interactive museum which allows visitors to walk through a recreated sharecropper's house and also to observe and listen to an animated, recorded conversation that might have taken place between a Spanish governor and a Comanche chief in the 1790's.
La Villita (Little Village)
South Alamo and Nueva Streets
This 250 Year Old Spanish settlement and site of the city's original settlement was reconstructed during the 1930's to preserve the unique buildings. The area has three patios where various functions and festivals are held. The adobe houses currently are occupied by working artists who produce art work and craft items for sale and display.
McNay Art Museum
6000 N. New Braunfels Ave.
cost: donation requested.
This 1920s mansion on the outskirts of the city has handsome tile floors and a Moorish-style courtyard. Gothic, medieval, late 19th and 20th century American and European paintings, sculpture, graphic arts, rare books, and exhibits are all featured. The impressive collection includes works by Gauguin, Picasso, and Manet, and there is a theater arts library.
204 Alamo Plaza
210-223-4361 or 800-345-9285.
According to legend, William Menger's hotel was occupied at various times following its opening in 1859 by Robert E. Lee, Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan. The mahogany bar is where Teddy Roosevelt supposedly recruited his Rough Riders.
San Antonio Botanical Gardens
555 Funston Pl.
Among these 33 acres of formal gardens are meadows of wildflowers, a Japanese garden, herb gardens, a xeriscape, rose gardens, native Texas vegetation surrounding a lake and model dwellings of the 1800's. There is also a "touch and smell" garden specially designed for the visually impaired.
San Antonio Museum Of Art
200 W. Jones Ave,
Housed in the castle - like former Lone Star Beer brewery, this museum is noted
for its unique collections of pre-Columbian, Native American, and Spanish
colonial folk art. There is also a section for Ancient Art, with Egyptian, Greek
and Roman antiquities. On the grounds are a sculpture garden and rest areas. . A
new $11 million wing houses the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Latin American
Art. It contains major Latin works dating back 3000 year.
2800 block of North Broadway;
2 miles north of the Alamo
This lushly landscaped park has 340 acres of picnic grounds, playgrounds, athletic fields, and a golf course. It also has a miniature railroad, a carousel with antique horses, a cable car sky ride and paddle boats. Some of the attractions charge a small fee.
Stroll across rustic stone bridges and up winding walks around gleaming pools, and through an authentic Japanese Tea Garden. The Sunken Gardens Theater regularly presents entertainment. Following are additional facets of the park:
(1) San Antonio Zoological Gardens and
3903 N. St. Mary's St.
Daily 9-5 Summer 9-8
The zoo is inhabited by more than 3,000 animals representing 750 species and is one of the top zoos in North America. It is a sanctuary for various endangered species like the whooping crane, snow leopard, and white rhino. Natural habitats have been created and there are special sections for Australian and African animals. Most of the animals reside in outdoor habitats. In addition, there is a children's zoo with a boat ride.
(2) Witte Museum of History and Science
Admission is charged.
The museum features extensive hands on exhibits covering history, science and
the humanities. Also displayed are exhibits of the natural history and natural
science of Texas and dioramas of Texas flora and wildlife. These are brought to
life through instructions on how to decipher ancient rock art, by the recreation
of a walk through a thorny Texas landscape and the opportunity to meet some
dinosaurs that once roamed the State. On the museum grounds are four early Texas
houses and a furnished log cabin. A four-level "science tree house" filled with
interactive exhibits lets children lift themselves with pulleys and ropes, play
music with laser beams, and launch tennis balls 30 feet in the air.
(3) Pioneer Memorial Hall
This museum houses collections of Texas trail drivers, pioneers and the Texas Rangers.
Among the exhibits are saddles, guns, tools, furniture, etc.
(4) Japanese Tea Gardens
Hours: 8: am-dark.
3800 North St. Mary's St.
At the northwestern edge of Brackenridge Park Winding pebble walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall and tranquil pools highlight this lush garden.
Sea World Of Texas
10500 Sea World Dr.
Sprawled across 250 acres of manicured gardens northwest of the city, this is the world's largest marine life park offering more than 25 shows in a 4500 seat stadium. The 300,000 gallon coral reef aquarium features many species of sharks and thousands of Indo-Pacific fish. The shows feature sea lions, beluga whales, dolphins, and penguins, among others. There are water rides and a children's play area. For the more adventurous, there are high speed roller coasters, including the Steel Eel hypercoaster and The Great White inverted coaster. A water park features rides such as the Rio Loco.
The Spanish Governor's Palace
105 Military Plaza (Plaza de Armas)
45 minute tour
This was the residence and the seat of government when San Antonio was the capital of the Spanish Province of Texas from the mid 1700's to the early 1800's. It has carved doors, low beamed ceilings an interior patio with a fountain and several rooms furnished in period furniture. Tours are offered daily of this National Historic Landmark.
515 West Commerce Street
The largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico, this colorful village within a city is busy from dawn until late at night. It includes a farmers' market, Mexican restaurants, a bakery, art galleries, boutiques, and El Mercado, a market with vendors selling handicrafts and souvenirs from Latin America. Festivals are often held here.
Military Bases Complex
San Antonio has five military installations - a reminder that the city was founded as a garrisoned fort. A visitor's pass is normally required except for Fort Sam Houston, an open post. Since some of these bases are restricted, it is best to call in advance.
Brooks Air Force Base
Southeast Military Drive at the junction of I-37 (7 miles southeast of downtown).
Brooks is headquarters of the Human Systems Center.
Tours 8:00am-4:00pm, Monday -Friday.
Hangar 9/Edward H. White Museum Brooks Air Force
8:00 - 4:00 Monday - Friday
Individuals will be added to scheduled tours
For reservations call 210-536-2203 or 531-9767.
Hangar 9 is the oldest aircraft hangar in the Air Force. It houses the Museum of Flight Medicine, which contains exhibits concerning the history of the base, the development of manned flight and the evolution of aerospace medicine and the Flight Nursing Annex which is dedicated to the history of flight nurses
Fort Sam Houston
Grayson Street and New Braunfels Avenue
10-4 Wednesday - Sunday
Quadrangle Gift shop Friday-Tuesday 8 -4.
This fort was established in 1876 and was the site of the first military airplane flight. Today, it is Fifth Army Headquarters and home of Brooke Army Medical Center. Fort Sam's Quadrangle dates from 1876. The Apache Indian Chief Geronimo was once held prisoner within its walls. Today this historic landmark stands in the center of a park-like setting where animals roam the grounds among people at work and visitors from around the world.
Fort Sam Houston Museum/National Historic
123, Fort Sam Houston.
Museum open 10:00 am to 4:00 pm Wednesday-Sunday,
closed Monday, Tuesday and Federal holidays.
Exhibits trace U.S. Army history in San Antonio area from 1845 to the present. Historic 500 acre fort includes the Quadrangle, built in 1876.
U.S. Army Medical Department Museum
Located at the corner of Harry Wurzbach and Stanley Road, Fort Sam Houston.
Museum hours 10 -4 Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Monday, and Federal Holidays.
The museum collection consists of Army medical equipment (including captured medical equipment from Germany, Japan, Russia, China and Vietnam), uniforms, artwork, photographs, and scale models. The museum is also assembling a collection of restored and replicated ambulance vehicles. The museum has a significant collection of American prisoner of war memorabilia.
Lackland Air Force Base
12 miles southwest of downtown off U.S. 90 at SW Military Dr. exit
Lackland is a basic military training center for all Air Force recruits nationwide.
Air Force History and Traditions Museum
Tuesday-Saturday 8 -4:45 closed on Sundays, Mondays
Tours of 15 or more by appointment. Auditorium for 35.
Featuring aviation history, the museum maintains a collection of rare airplanes and their components. Free admission.
Randolph Air Force Base
17 miles northeast from downtown off I-35
Randolph is home to the 12th Flying Wing, HQ. Air Training Command, HQ. Air Force Military Personnel Center and HQ. Air Force Recruiting Center. The Taj Mahal (Bldg. #100) is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Route I-10 at La Cantera Parkway
Set in a limestone quarry, this 200 acre theme park surrounded by 100-foot cliffs celebrates the cultural diversity of Texas. Disney characters entertain with thrilling rides, a water park and live shows. The park is divided into "theme areas" : the Mexican town of Los Festivales, the German village of Spassburg, the 1920 cowboy boom town of Crackaxle Canyon, and the small Texas town of Rockville during the golden age of rock'n'roll, which includes Fiesta Bay Boardwalk, a '50s-'60s seaside boardwalk complete with a 90-foot ferris wheel.
Thus, in the course of one visit, it is possible to polka in Germany, participate in a Latin fiesta and move on to riding one of the world's tallest wooden roller coasters. Joker's Revenge sends the rider into a 360 degree loop, a series of corkscrew turns, and into a spiral. All of this rotation is backwards!
Blue Bonnet Palace
Open at 7 p.m. Fri., Sat.
Garden Ridge Exit off I-35
Country/Western entertainment complex includes dance hall, indoor bull-riding arena, outdoor sports, and rodeo arena. Big name country stars, professional cowboys, special events, and entertainers.
224 E. Houston
Named a State and National Historic Landmark. One of the few remaining vintage, vaudeville movie palaces. Home to the San Antonio Symphony and the Majestic Broadway Series. Individual concerts and events are also showcased.
1774 E. Commerce
All aboard! The complex is a destination for great entertainment, food and live music, as well as shopping all set in the historic backdrop of a turn of the century train station on St. Paul Square. Originally constructed in 1902, it has been revitalized to showcase the city's cultural diversity. Traditional Mexican cuisine against a backdrop of live music. Four music stages and five dance floors.
Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
318 E. Houston
10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.
The museum's two stories are packed with more than 40,000 western artifacts and 550 different species displayed from all over the world. Other features include the only wax museum of Texas history, an authentic shooting gallery, videos, live entertainment, gifts and the original 118-year old bar
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
325 South Salado
The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center brings its artistic vision alive through six art disciplines: visual arts, media arts, theatre arts, literature, dance, and music life
King William Historic Area
A 25-block area near downtown on the south bank of the San Antonio River.
In the late 1800's the King William District was the most elegant residential area in the city. Prominent German merchants originally settled the area. It was zoned as the state's first historic district, and has once again become a fashionable neighborhood. The area includes the following attractions:
(1) Guenther House
205 E. Guenther
Museum and River Mill store hours 9-5 Monday-Saturday
8 -2 Sunday.
The house is located on a bend of the river, at the foot of King William, one of the oldest historic districts in Texas. Carl Hilmar Guenther, founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, built this elegant home in 1860. The restored house is now a museum. Of interest to collectors are the Dresden china anniversary plates which were made in Germany until WWII.
(2) Steves Homestead
509 King William
Open daily. Hours: 10 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Small Admission charged.
Located in the King William Historic District, this Victorian French Second Empire design three-story home was built for Edward Steves in 1876 and furnished in a late 19th-century style. The River House, a one-story brick structure, housed the first natatorium or inside swimming pool in San Antonio. The Carriage House was built in 1875. This two-story frame and stone building was used for storage. The servants quarters were built around 1877. The Steves Homestead has been maintained since 1954 as a historic house museum.
Castroville Regional Park
From Jct. US 90 in city: Athens St S 5 blks; Lisbon St W 3 blks; half blk
S on Alsace St. On suburban, grassy hill by Medina River.
Matagorda Island State Park and Wildlife
For several years, beginning in 1942, a portion of Matagorda Island was used for practice bombing by the U.S. Air Force. Now, as a state park, the 7,325-acre area has largely returned to its natural state as a haven for migratory water fowl and deer.
Friedrich Wilderness Park
Open Wed. - Sun. 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Operated by city of San Antonio as a nature preserve. Provides nesting habitat for black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler. Five miles of hiking trails.
Mission Tejas State Historic Park
Landmark structure in 363-acre state park commemorates Mission San Francisco de los Tejas, first Spanish mission in East Texas, built in 1690 to stem tide of French settlement, but was not successful and closed in 1693
3,624-acre impoundment on Calaveras Creek is among the best of the Texas bass lakes, producing trophy-size fish above 12 lbs. Two non-native species of game fish have been introduced.
Choke Canyon Reservoir
Midway between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, the 25,733-acre reservoir on the Frio River has been heavily stocked with largemouth, striped and Florida bass, crappie, sunfish, and channel and blue catfish.
Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area
The wildlife management area is open nightly from June - Oct. for a spectacular emergence of 1.5 to 2 million Mexican free-tailed bats from an abandoned tunnel of the old San Antonio, Fredericksburg and Northern Railway Co.
Cascade Caverns Park
14 miles NW on I-10 to exit 543 (Cascade Caverns Road)
This beautiful park has been a popular visitor attraction since 1932. Skilled guides conduct 45 minute interpretive tours every 30 minutes over well lighted, comfortable walking trails. A water formed underground cavern with spectacular rock formations is the centerpiece of the tour. It has a 100 foot underground waterfall. There is a picnic facility on the grounds of the 10 acre park.