Outdoor fun in San Antonio, from games and parks to wild rides

It doesn't matter what time of year it is, it's always a good time to be outdoors in San Antonio, whether your exploring nature, visiting one of the renowned entertainment parks or simply going for a stroll along the historic river walk. Pack your bags and get ready for some fun in the sun!

Topgolf tops the list as a fantastic entertainment destination, regardless of the weather. This over-the-top venue is like a sports bar taken to the next level. They offer golfing games for all ages and playing bays that let you hit the ball as far as you can while keeping your chilled cocktail close at hand. Dining, entertainment, music and family fun. It doesn't get better than this! Or, maybe it does...

Nature lovers will love exploring McAllister Park, located in central San Antonio. Hike, bike on hidden trails, bird watch, picnic and play some outdoor games. This park has endless trails and hidden treasures, right in the middle of the city. They also have a kiddie park for the little munchkins. So put on your kicks, it's time to stretch those legs!


Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Photo courtesy of Six Flag Fiesta Texas

If you're a thrill-seeker, you cannot visit San Antonio without stopping off at Fiesta Texas, one of the best entertainment parks in the country. Located on 200 acres of what used to be a rock quarry, this theme park features teeth-chattering rides, great shows, and incredible attractions, plus White Water Bay water park for cooling off during the hot summer months. Although Fiesta Texas used to be geared more towards the Looney Tunes characters like Bugs Bunny, Fiesta Texas has now become the place to go for thrill rides. They have some of the most spine-tingling roller coasters you'll ever ride, including the Rattler and Superman Krypton Coaster.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: One of San Antonio's top destinations throughout the year, Fiesta Texas offers a plethora of excitement, from new thrill rides to fireworks.

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to stay till the end of the night to catch the fireworks and laser light show! It's like the Fourth of July every night at Fiesta Texas.

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Located just outside of San Antonio, this wonderland of wild animals is a great way to spend your afternoon, especially if you have kids or just love animals. It's like having a mini Africa in the middle of Texas. How it works: You meander (safely in your vehicle) through 400 acres of magnificent live oak trees, rolling green hills and creek beds where 500 animals from 40 exotic, native and endangered species roam free. You get a free bag of food for the animals with the purchase of your ticket and can buy more if you like. You then throw food to the animals so that they'll come up to your vehicle. In actuality, the animals are so used to getting fed they come up to your car anyway, sometimes blocking the way until you throw them a handful. Beware of the Ostrich, however, as they can be very territorial!

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Natural Bridge Wildlife is a unique outdoor excursion filled with wildlife, just a short drive from the city.

Kimberly's expert tip: It's best to go in the morning or on a cool day to get the most out of this experience. Otherwise, you might find all the animals snoozing under the shade trees!

Read more about Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch →

San Antonio's Botanical Gardens is one of the prettiest places to see in the city. This extraordinary 33-acre facility showcases plants from desert regions to equatorial rainforests, some of which are housed in individual, climate-controlled glass environments surrounded by a sunken courtyard and tropical lagoon filled with aquatic plants. Specialty collections include epiphytic plants, desert cacti and succulents, equatorial tropicals, palms and cycads, tropical fruits, ferns and aroids and insectivores. The Gardens, which always strive to connect people to the plant world through experience, education and research also features a children's garden, a Japanese garden and even a garden for the blind. .

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: One of the most incredible gardens in the city - it's a wonderful way to spend the day.

Kimberly's expert tip: The culinary garden has an outdoor kitchen and offers a variety of food-centric events and cooking classes for kids.

Read more about San Antonio Botanical Gardens and Conservatory →

River Walk
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

Travel + Leisure ranked the San Antonio River Walk as the #1 River Walk in America. Also known as Paseo del Rio, this major tourist attraction brings in over five million visitors a year. Delight yourself with a relaxing dinner at one of the numerous restaurants or cafes that line the river. Spice it up by visiting one of the numerous nightspots or enjoying the sounds of mariachis and other live music. Adults and children enjoy floating on riverboats piloted by San Antonio's humorous tour guides. The River Walk is the perfect place to hang out with your family or sit quietly with your date while you enjoy the sounds of a bubbling waterfall.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Newly opened, the San Pedro Creek Culture Park is a gorgeous place to take your honey on a stroll.

Kimberly's expert tip: If walking along the northern extension part of the River Walk, just across from the San Antonio Museum of art, stop by the Luxury for a cold brew and sit on their swings big enough for two.

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Located just below the headwaters of the San Antonio River, not far from downtown, Brackenridge Park has been a gathering spot since prehistoric times (dating back 11,000 years) and has since evolved into one of the most popular family hang-outs in San Antonio. This beautiful park is covered with Live Oak trees and offers visitors dozens of privately situated picnic tables and barbeque pits to choose from. Brackenridge offers three pavilions (available for events), a playscape for children, a softball field, a walking path around the pond, where you'll find all sorts of ducks and other wildlife and, best of all, a charming mini-train that runs right through the park.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Brackenridge, located close to downtown, is a popular park for a little nature fun, from feeding the ducks to going on a mini train ride.

Kimberly's expert tip: If you have little ones with you, bring bread or leftover tortillas so you can feed the ducks.

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SeaWorld San Antonio
Photo courtesy of Kimberly Suta

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!

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: A major tourist destination for outdoor family fun, rides and the amazing wildlife from under the sea.

Kimberly's expert tip: SeaWorld puts on an extraordinary month of Halloween festivities called Howl-O-Scream, where they transform the peaceful park into something a little spooky.

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Lost Maples State Natural Area
Photo courtesy of Texas Park and Wildlife

It's a rare thing in the San Antonio area to be able to witness the changing of the seasons, but if that's what you're looking for, you don't have to go terribly far to find it. Just a few hours northwest of San Antonio is a state park known as Lost Maples. Although it makes for an extraordinary excursion any time of the year, during the fall, this grove of "lost maples" turns all the beautiful colors of autumn. This scenic park is also known for its abundant wildflowers, steep canyon walls and the gorgeous Sabinal River. This is a great place to take the whole family, especially once fall has hit Texas. Go hiking, photo trekking, fishing, birding, camping, stargazing or hunting for geocaches. With 10 miles of trails, it's easy to get happily lost in this wonderland.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: There's nothing quite like Lost Maples in all of Texas. It's a beautiful place to explore any time of the year, but particularly in the fall.

Kimberly's expert tip: Make sure to check the website to find out exactly when the leaves are turning color, and get there early, especially on the weekend.

Read more about Lost Maples State Natural Area →

San Antonio
Slab Cinema
Photo courtesy of Slab Cinema

What's better than an outdoor movie? A free outdoor movie! And thanks to Slab Cinema, which provides free movie watching experiences all over the city of San Antonio, you have the opportunity to enjoy popular films, often several times a month. Slab Cinema started in 2004 and has been a favorite family activity ever since. From The Little Mermaid to War Games and even a Coen Brothers triple feature which includes Raising Arizona, Big Lebowski and Fargo, Slab Cinema pops up at the coolest, iconic venues, ranging from the San Antonio Museum of Art (at Confluence Park) to Hemisfair Park and even the Alamo. On the Southside, they've been playing movies on a restored drive-in screen at Mission Marquee Plaza. Typically, the movies tend towards family-friendly flicks, but the content varies, so be sure to check out their website to see what's coming up. Bring a blanket or chair, maybe a cooler with some drinks and snacks and you're set for the evening. Often the venues have food trucks or access to nearby restaurants, in case you don't have time to prepare. Free never felt so fun!

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Slab Cinema is a relaxing outdoor activity for film lovers that's free for the whole family.

Kimberly's expert tip: Slab Cinema doesn't want you to miss the movie, so they ask that you be there before dusk. The movie starts approximately 15 minutes after the official sunset time.

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McAllister Park has a lot to offer, chief among them; it has the best trails for bike riding in the city, but be careful as it's easy to get lost here! Although smack dab in the middle of the city, it feels like you're on a retreat. This park offers some of the most beautiful vistas and a stunning variety of vegetation. It's a great place to take your camera for some scenic shots. McAllister is also a popular family spot as it has a multitude of baseball fields, soccer fields, rugby fields, multi-purpose fields, a children's play area, dog park, fitness stations, almost 200 picnic tables and fifteen miles of both hard and soft trails.

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: McAllister Park is a virtual wonderland of nature and wildlife.

Kimberly's expert tip: After a great hike or bike ride, swing by nearby Two Bros. Barbecue to replenish those calories!

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Photo courtesy of Topgolf

Topgolf is an epic entertainment center that lets you enjoy the outdoors from the indoors. With venues all around the world, Topgolf has earned a reputation as a destination for sports enthusiasts as well as just friends and family looking to have a fun time in a superior sports bar-like atmosphere. With competitive golf games for all ages, climate-controlled playing "bays" (they compare them to bowling lanes), a chef-prepared sophisticated food and drink menu with even seasonal selections, full-service restaurant and bar and, of course, HDTVs to watch your games. Add to that live music and every day is a party at Topgolf. The perfect place for large groups to celebrate any special event or just a great date night on a Saturday night. No need to worry if you're not a golf pro, either. No one's watching. Everyone's here just to have a good time!

Recommended for Outdoor Activities because: Topgolf offers an excellent alternative to the usual weekend outings. Enjoy golf games, food and drinks with your friends in a state-of-the-art setting.

Kimberly's expert tip: Brunch is now being served every Saturday and Sunday until 2 pm, with their classic mimosas available for $4 every day!

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Meet 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,...  More About Kimberly