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With lots of history and culture, San Antonio is also loaded with fun things to do for adults and kids alike. Just a short drive away from Austin, Houston, or Dallas, San Antonio is conveniently located whether you’re taking the family on a weekend getaway or an extended stay. San Antonio has attractions for all styles and tastes.
If you have just a little bit of time in San Antonio, you can’t miss at least these Top 5 Things to Do:
- The Alamo
- San Antonio River Cruise
- Tower of the Americas
- The Pearl District
Money Saving Tip: Save literally $100s if you’re planning on visiting multiple attractions by getting the San Antonio Explorer Pass. You can get passes for 3, 4, or 5 attractions or build your own.
- 1. The Alamo
- 2. Riverwalk
- 3. San Antonio River Cruise
- 4. Tower of the Americas
- 5. Hemisfair Park
- 6. The Pearl District
- 7. San Fernando Cathedral (to see the Saga)
- 8. The DoSeum
- 9. The Witte Museum
- 10. San Antonio Zoo
- 11. San Antonio Aquarium
- 12. Natural Bridge Caverns
- 13. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
- 14. Mission San Jose
- 15. Mission San Juan Capistrano
- 16. Kiddie Park
- 17. Morgan’s Wonderland
- 18. San Antonio Botanical Garden
- 19. The Amazing Mirror Maze
- 20. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! San Antonio
- 21. Guinness World Records Museum
- 22. Alamo City Ghost Tour
- 23. Texas Air Museum
- 24. The Buckhorn Museum & Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum
- 25. SeaWorld® San Antonio
- 26. Aquatica San Antonio
- 27. Magik Theater
- 28. Six Flags Fiesta Texas
- 29. Splashtown San Antonio
- 30. San Antonio Fire Museum
- 31. Texas Transportation Museum
1. The Alamo
Remember the Alamo! You cannot visit San Antonio with kids without touring the Alamo. We happened to stay at the Hotel Gibbs across the corner from Alamo Plaza, so getting there on foot was very convenient, to say the least.
Touring the Alamo is a nice way to take the kids through a bit of Texan (and American) history lesson. First a church then army barracks, the Alamo is better known as the battleground for one of the most famous battles in U.S. history. The Alamo set the stage for a later Texan victory over Mexico liberating the Republic of Texas.
Best of all, admission is free. Just pull up to the front of the Alamo and tour the whole complex. You can also get the audio tour for $7/person to help you follow along.
San Antonio is also well-known for its Riverwalk. Lined with shops, restaurants, hotels, and other attractions, the Riverwalk follows the San Antonio River through downtown San Antonio. When you visit, take your time on the Riverwalk because it is one of the best places in San Antonio to stroll, relax, and grab a bite to eat with the kids.
If you’re not in the mood to walk, you can take a river taxi or jump on a River Cruise and explore the Riverwalk.
3. San Antonio River Cruise
The kids will love the San Antonio River Cruise! The narrated cruise takes 35 minutes to complete and explores some of San Antonio’s history and attractions from a different viewpoint. Tours run for most of the day (the night tour is a nice option to see the lights on the 16 bridges included on the course) and cost $12/adult and $6/kids 1-5 years old.
4. Tower of the Americas
Possibly one of the most iconic landmarks in San Antonio, the Tower of the Americas has some of the best views of the city. The Tower’s Flags Over Texas Observation Deck offers 360-degree views of the city and a chance to grab a bite or a drink at the Tower’s restaurant.
At the Tower, you’ll also be able to watch 4D movies that the kids will love. 4D means that besides visuals jumping at you from the screen, you’ll also feel the experience (wind, splashes, and chair motion). There were 3 movies when we visited: Ice Age, Rio, and Skies Over Texas (an introduction to Texas). But check the showings before your visit.
Tickets to the Tower of the Americas as $14/adults, $11/kids 4-12 years old, and free for kids 3 and under. One admission will give you access to the Tower and the 4D Theater until the day is over, so don’t feel like you have to do it all at once. If you’re in and out of the area like we were, just head back to the Tower later in the day to catch another movie or see San Antonio at night.
5. Hemisfair Park
San Antonio hosted the World’s Fair in 1968 at the site of today’s Hemisfair Park. The Park is one of San Antonio’s best place for kids. It offers playgrounds, splash pads, grassy areas, and it’s also where the Tower of the Americas is located. Hemisfair Park is centrally located and easy to get to on foot from Downtown.
6. The Pearl District
Now known as the Pearl District, the area was the site of the historic Pearl Brewery and has been redeveloped into a vibrant neighborhood with condos, restaurants, and shops. The different buildings in the area kept the brewery motif as the “Can Plant”, the “Bottling Plan”, and so on.
Just around the corner from the “Bottling Plant”, there’s a splash pad and large grassy area where we spent most of an afternoon and early evening. This area is overlooked by the Food Hall, making it one of the best places in San Antonio to sit, relax, eat, drink, and watch the kids play.
The Pearl also hosts a Farmer’s Market that’s worth visiting with the kids. Check the schedule before heading there, so you don’t miss it.
7. San Fernando Cathedral (to see the Saga)
Besides being the oldest operating church in the U.S., San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio hosts the amazing light and sound show called the Saga. The Saga takes viewers on a visual journey through the history of San Antonio. Created by world-renowned French artist Xavier de Richemont, the Saga is projected on the façade of the Cathedral, so onlookers can sit in awe in front of the church and watch the display for free. The show plays on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 9:00 p.m., 9:30 p.m., and 10:00 p.m. now through 2024.
8. The DoSeum
Foster your kids’ creativity at the DoSeum, San Antonio’s children’s museum. With 39,000 sq. ft. of indoor/outdoor exhibits, there’s no shortage of fun for your kids. The Sensations Studio, Explore, Little Town, Innovation Station, Spy Academy, and Imagine it! will keep your kids busy while they learn science concepts. Admission costs $14/person and free for kids under 1 year old.
9. The Witte Museum
After the mid-Summer sun has worn you down, head inside to the Witte Museum, a Smithsonian affiliate, located on the San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park (north of downtown). The Museum has a variety of exhibits showing dinosaurs that roamed South Texas, as well as hands-on exhibits including the H-E-B Body Adventure.
H-E-B Body Adventure educates kids about healthy living in a fun and interactive way. Your kids will test their energy score, check their stride and height measurements, and take home a personalized POWERprofile. Admission is $14/adults, $10/kids 4-11 years old, and free for kids 3 and under.
10. San Antonio Zoo
A wildly popular attraction with the kids in San Antonio, the San Antonio Zoo has a collection of over 3,500 animals representing 750 species in its 35 acres. Featured areas include Africa Live!, Amazonia, and Big Cat Valley where kids see and learn about the animals. Your little ones will enjoy The Tiny Tot Nature Spot, designed specifically for infants. Admission costs $18.99/adult, $15.99 for kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 3 and under. Fun Day Passes, which include carousel rides, train rides, butterfly exhibit, and entrance to the Zoo, cost $24.99/adult, $21.99/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 3.
11. San Antonio Aquarium
After you’ve had enough of land animals, head to the San Antonio Aquarium where your kids will have the chance to interact with all kinds of underwater animals. From sharks to stingrays, tropical fish to octopus, the kids will have a blast being curious about the animals and even feeding some of them. Weekday admission costs $13.95/adult, $8.95/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 2 and under. For weekend admission costs, add $2 to each ticket price. And for a little bit more, the kids can head over to I-Guana Jump bounce zone and burn off some energy.
12. Natural Bridge Caverns
For an unforgettable adventure, head to the Natural Bridge Caverns, 30 minutes north of San Antonio. Your family will explore a half mile of caves at 180 feet below ground through a 75-minute guided tour (Discovery Tour). During the tour, the kids will learn about the history of the cave and its unique natural formations (can you tell a stalactite from a stalagmite?) The Cavern is a must-do with kids if you’re in San Antonio for a couple of days.
Besides the cave, the kids can also zoom down the ziplines or mine for treasure. The Discovery Tour costs $24.50/adult, $15.50/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 3 and under at the gate, but you can get in for less if you buy in advance.
Know Before You Go: Strollers are not allowed on the tour, but your little ones are more than welcome to join. And wear comfortable, rubber-soled shoes because you’ll need traction on the steep, wet surfaces.
13. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Just next door to Natural Bridge Caverns is Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. The Wildlife Ranch is a drive-through safari through the Texas Hill Country. Your kids will get a chance to see the animals up close and even feed them! One bag of animal feed is provided, and extra bags are available for purchase. Admission is $24.50/adult, $15.50/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids under 3. Best of all, you can drive around the ranch as many times as you’d like.
14. Mission San Jose
The Alamo is only one of five missions on the San Antonio River. Mission San Jose in San Antonio is one of the most beautiful ones and definitely worth a visit with the kids. The Queen of the Missions was restored in the 1930s and is the largest of the San Antonio Missions. Head to Mission San Jose to see how this landmark may have looked more than 250 years ago. Admission is free.
15. Mission San Juan Capistrano
Another great Mission to visit around San Antonio is the Mission San Juan Capistrano. In the mid-1700s, San Juan was already a self-sustaining community, producing products for its own consumption and outside trade. Visitors today can catch a glimpse of what the Mission’s farming activity may have looked like. San Juan maintains a living demonstration farm fed by a historic acequia. Your kids can see what the laborers and life surrounding the Mission San Juan Capistrano would have looked like almost 300 years ago. Admission is free.
16. Kiddie Park
In the heart of San Antonio’s Museum District, Kiddie Park, America’s oldest amusement park, is a classic, old-fashioned amusement park with rides for kids of all ages. From the carousel to the Ferris wheel to roller coasters, your kids will have a blast riding the rides without mom and dad. For older kids, there are also arcade games, carnival rides, face painting, and even pony rides on most weekends.
Rides cost $2.50/single ride, $80/book of 100 ride tickets (for multiple days), or $13/unlimited ride bands (for the day of purchase). Your kids need to be between 1-12 years old to ride, and you can ride with them for no additional charge. Kiddie Park is only open Friday through Sunday.
17. Morgan’s Wonderland
Encompassing 25 acres of rides, attractions, and activities, Morgan’s Wonderland caters to San Antonio families with special needs kids. The park has sensory areas, warm water splash pads, and wheelchair swings. Admission is free for special needs guests. For additional family members, admissions cost $17/adult, $11/kids 3-17 years older, and free for kids 2 and under.
18. San Antonio Botanical Garden
A relative newcomer to San Antonio attractions, the San Antonio Botanical Gardens have 38 acres of impeccable green areas. Your kids can explore the splash pad, covered sandpit, playhouses, and other play areas. Admission costs $12/adult, $9/kids 3-13 years old, and free for kids 2 and under.
19. The Amazing Mirror Maze
The first of many attractions in the Alamo Plaza, the Amazing Mirror Maze is a great place to spend a couple of hours with the kids in downtown San Antonio. For the most curious kids in your bunch, they can try to escape from four different mazes: the mirror maze, infinity maze, laser maze, and holographic maze. After that, they can try the Vault Laser Challenge, where they can contort around laser beams to escape the room or have a laugh in the “Funny Mirror” room. Admission costs $17.99/person 3 years old and up and free for kids 2 and under.
20. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! San Antonio
Ripley’s displays a variety of oddities from the world’s tallest man to other strange things. You and your family can walk through 18 themed galleries with over 500 exhibits, examining bizarre and unusual phenomena. You’ll also learn about Mr. Ripley himself and his fascinating life. Admission costs $21.99/adult, $13.99/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 2 and under.
Money Saving Tip: Save money by buying the combo ticket to several Ripley’s attractions.
21. Guinness World Records Museum
Next door to Ripley’s in San Antonio’s Alamo Plaza is Guinness World Records Museum. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to get the latest version of Guinness Book of World Records and browse through its records and oddities. Now you and your kids can do just that in San Antonio by interacting with the displays and video screens at the Museum. Admission costs $21.99/adult, $13.99/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 2 and under.
Money Saving Tip: Save money by buying the combo ticket to several Ripley’s attractions.
22. Alamo City Ghost Tour
For the bravest ones in your group, there’s the Alamo City Ghost Tour. Head back to the Alamo with ghost detection equipment in hand and explore San Antonio’s most haunted place. Admission ranges from $18/adult, $15/kids 5-12 years old, and free for kids 4 and under. Tours start promptly at 8:30 pm.
23. Texas Air Museum
Your aspiring flight cadets will love the Texas Air Museum and a chance to explore the history of flight. The museum displays vintage aircraft, vehicles, weapons, and uniforms used throughout history. Admission costs $6/adult, $3/youth, and $2/child.
24. The Buckhorn Museum & Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum
Rumored to be the place where Teddy Roosevelt recruited Rough Riders, the Buckhorn Museum & Saloon and Texas Ranger Museum are experiences unlike any others. You’ll get a chance to explore a collection of Ranger historic artifacts and other oddities, including a 10,000-year-old prehistoric Irish elk. Admission to both museums costs $19.99/adult, $14.99/kids 3-11 years old, and free for kids 2 and under.
25. SeaWorld® San Antonio
For world-class marine life exploration and fun for the whole family, head to SeaWorld® San Antonio. The kids can see dolphins, penguins, and polar bears up close, or ride rollercoasters. If you’re not afraid to get wet, catch the orca show or ride the Rio Loco. Make sure you plan your day to get the most out of the shows and rides. Admission costs $59.99/person 3 years old and up (at least 3 days in advance) and free for kids 2 and under.
Money Saving Tip: Save by buying the combo ticket for SeaWorld and Aquatica.
26. Aquatica San Antonio
Beat the heat next door to SeaWorld at Aquatica San Antonio, a family-friendly waterpark in the Texas Hill Country. The kids will have a blast at Aquatica’s thrill rides while you relax in the park’s sandy beaches. Make sure you don’t miss Aquatica’s main attraction Stingray Falls®, where you can ride a four-person raft down to an underwater cave to see the stingray. Admission costs $54.99/person 3 years old and up (at least 3 days in advance) and free for kids 2 and under.
Money Saving Tip: Save by buying the combo ticket for SeaWorld and Aquatica.
27. Magik Theater
Located next to Hemisfair Park, Magik Theatre creates kid-friendly productions of classic and contemporary children’s literature. Your kids will be captivated by the magic of theater and inspired by storytelling and creativity. Be sure to check out the showtimes at Magik Theater’s website before you head to San Antonio with the kids. Admission costs $15/person 2 years old and older and free for kids 1 and under.
28. Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Find all the classic theme park fun at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. With 6 themed areas in the park, there are water rides, bumper cars, roller coasters, and shows for the whole family. Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a great place to spend the day with kids just a short drive north of downtown San Antonio. Admission costs $54.99/person 2 years old and older (if you buy in advance) and free for kids 1 and under.
29. Splashtown San Antonio
Another heat-busting option just 3 minutes north of downtown is Splashtown San Antonio. With 20 acres of slides and rides, Splashtown San Antonio has over 50 rides and attractions to keep the kids cool and busy. For the little ones, head to Kid’s Kove and enjoy the lily pads, splash features, and games. For older kids, there are 40 slides to pick from and fun beach games like volleyball. Admission costs $34.99/person over 48″ tall and $29.99/person under 48″ tall.
30. San Antonio Fire Museum
Spend an afternoon with your future firefighter at the San Antonio Fire Museum. The Museum has unique firefighting artifacts, a 1953 firetruck that kids can climb on, and gear for dress-up. For a more educational visit, your kids can catch a movie that shows how firefighters train. Admission costs $5/adult, $2/kids 3-12 years old, and free for kids 2 and under. Admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month from 12 pm to 4 pm.
31. Texas Transportation Museum
The outdoors Texas Transportation Museum has a large collection of transportation pieces like cars, fire trucks, horse carriages, tractors, model trains, and full-size trains. You can even catch a train ride just for fun in one of the museum’s historic trains. Admission costs $10/adult, $8/kids 4-12 years old, and free for kids 3 and under.
With so many options, what are you going to do in San Antonio? If you already visit, what was your Top 5 and why?
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