Kids and Families Have Fun in the Sun in San Antonio!
By Kimberly Suta
San Antonio Local Expert
San Antonio has no shortage of fun, exciting and educational things for kids. The question is where to start? If you're waffling between Fiesta Texas and SeaWorld, hands down SeaWorld has Fiesta Texas beat for entertainment and shows. Where else can you pet a live stingray or commune with the dolphins? For an activity that's purely San Antonio, take the kids to the Mercado, where they can enjoy the rich culture, food, music and activities that San Antonio has to offer. You can spend the whole day here shopping, playing and having fun or walk to a variety of other attractions nearby. Other amazing San Antonio activities the kids will love include the San Antonio Zoo, the 8th largest in the United States, that also features a magical butterfly exhibit, the Tower of Americas where the kids can see the entire city from high above or the Witte Museum where kids can learn and play amongst the dinosaur exhibit and other educational and fun exhibits. For active families, we highly recommend a bike tour through the city of San Antonio or taking the kids to a Scorpions game for a chance to see live professional soccer. If they love horses, Retama Park offers live horse racing throughout the year and special family-night options. No matter what you decide to do, you'll create lasting memories of family adventures in San Antonio!
10 The Main Event
If you're looking for a one-stop-shop where the kids can go wild, and the parents too for that matter, then Main Event Entertainment San Antonio is the place. This new and gigantic complex is a family fun entertainment center featuring multiple bowling lanes, 100's of video games, billiards, gravity ropes, laser tag, a bar and café, just for starters. Often, venues that offer video games and the like are run-down or out-of-date, but The Main Event offers all of the best and newest games for kids to enjoy. It's the perfect location for your next birthday party, corporate affair or company meeting. Have a blast! ((210) 305-5999)
9 Tower of the Americas
For the best view in San Antonio, go directly to the Tower of the Americas, which was built for the World's Fair back in 1968. Located downtown, this 750-foot-tall structure in the middle of Hemisphere plaza offers the most spectacular views from its observation deck, as well as a fun-tastic 4D Theatre ride the kids will love! If you want to go all out, grab a bite to eat at Chart House, the fine-dining restaurant that sits atop the tower, revolving slowly, much to everyone's delight. Make sure to take time to enjoy Hemisphere park, which is made up of beautiful grounds, waterfalls and fountains, a children's playground, historic buildings and is also home to the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Children's Magik Theater. (210-223-3101, 210-207-8615)
8 Blue Star Bike Shop
For active families, there's no better way to spend the day with the kids than exploring the wonderful Alamo city by bike. We suggest heading down to Blue Star Bike Shop, which is just minutes from downtown, where you can rent bikes for a family of four for less than $100/day. You certainly can't say that about other popular family activities like Fiesta Texas. Hop on to the riverwalk, which is right next to the Blue Star complex. You should see it, but if you get confused, then feel free to ask for directions from a friendly Texan. Once you're on the riverwalk, you can stay on it the entire way as you head north. Take time to meander through the stunning King William residential district, perhaps stop to have lunch along the popular part of the river downtown and then explore the new riverwalk extension. ((210) 858-0331)
7 San Antonio Scorpions Soccer Team
What better way to spend time with the kids than to take them to a professional soccer game. Sure, in America, football and baseball are sports staples, but soccer is growing in popularity and is an exciting game to watch. When visiting San Antonio, make sure to take the kids to a Scorpions game, San Antonio's new professional soccer team, who is part of the North American Soccer League (NASL). The games take place at the Toyota Field, San Antonio's newest state-of-the-art, open air stadium, which lead to the creation of this outstanding soccer team. Ticket prices may vary, so be sure to find out beforehand and get your tickets early! ((210) 495-8686)
6 Natural Bridge Caverns
If you're looking for something a little off the beaten path, you can't go anymore obscure than this amusement park for the eyes underneath the earth. This natural phenomenon made up of 140 million-year-old rock formations is one of the top attractions in Texas and offers a great opportunity for kids to learn and have fun simultaneously. You can explore this beautiful and historical cavern system by the light of a cave lantern, pan for precious stones, take a leap of faith from the Canopy Challenge, go caving on one of their many adventure tours or at the very least enjoy nature on the original Discovery Tour. (210-651-6101)
5 Retama Park Horse Racing
What's better than a hot dog, beer and betting? Retama Park is the place to go for live thoroughbred horse racing! If you've never been before, it's a little dirty, a little gritty, but it's a whole lot of fun! Great for dates or for the whole family. The kids love going down to the track and getting pics of the horses while adults can try their luck at trifecta's. The park has a sports bar on the Clubhouse level and concession stands throughout the park. Although live racing is only on the weekends, they are open for simulcasting daily. (210-651-7000)
4 Witte Museum
For education in the form of fun, there's no better place to take the kids than the Witte Museum, San Antonio's premiere museum of South Texas history, culture, and natural science. Centrally located in Brackenridge Park, this amazing museum illuminates young imaginations with exhibits that feature exciting things like dinosaurs, Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions, magic lanterns (the original cinematic devices that brought modern film projection and television into existence), local history and so much more. The Witte also offers a summer adventure camp that teaches kids all about science. Parents will also enjoy this stellar museum that has been around now for almost 100 years. (210-357-1900)
3 SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld should be on everyone's list when visiting San Antonio, no matter what your age. Although they have some great rides, such as the Steel Eel and Great White rollercoasters, the best reason to go to SeaWorld is for the animals and the animal-centric shows. They have dolphins and stingrays that you can "pet" if you are lucky enough for them to swim by you, a magnificent oceanarium filled with all sorts of creatures, including sharks and giant sea turtles. The shows are outstanding and include dolphins, Beluga whales and sea lions. Oh, and did we mention the penguins? Yes, there are penguins in Texas, if you can believe it! (210-523-3000, 800-700-7786)
2 Market Square (El Mercado)
To fully experience the wide range of diversity that San Antonio has to offer, San Antonio's El Mercado (a.k.a. Market Square) is the best place to take the kids for a unique, fun day. It was once home to a bustling produce market. Today, it's a festive and exciting representation of all of the colorful cultures and flavors that make up San Antonio. On the weekends, you can expect to find all sorts of activities, live music, vendors and events designed just for kids. Mom and Dad will also have fun shopping. There are plenty of leather and papier-mâché goods, blankets, pottery and numerous other hand-made and imported items. (210-207-8600)
1 San Antonio Zoo
You can't bring the family to San Antonio without taking the kids to the Zoo! The butterfly exhibit alone is worth the trip with its magical environment where you're more likely to find a butterfly on your shoulder than anywhere else. Centrally-located in the city, it's easy to get in and out and is, perhaps surprisingly, the third largest zoo in the U.S. Parents Magazine has ranked the San Antonio Zoo as one of the Top 10 Best Zoos for Kids. The Zoo houses over 8,500 animals, including all of the exotic animals you'd expect to find. Always well cared for, clean and enjoyable, this is a must-see attraction that the kids will never forget! (210-734-7183)
About Kimberly Suta
Kimberly A. Suta is a professional freelance writer, filmmaker and entrepreneur with a background in marketing, advertising and social media. Her first business, Midnight Sun Innovations, involved a partnership with Regal Cinemas, the largest theatre chain in the world. Kimberly has written, directed and produced several films that have screened at Texas film festivals and she produces an annual film competition at the popular Alamo Drafthouse theatre. She recently published her second novel, The Rain Queen, which can be found on Amazon.com. Kimberly currently lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, a place of much inspiration to her.
Read more about Kimberly Suta here.