San Antonio Area
Updated On: 5/3/2013 11:25:32 AM
SAN ANTONIO HISTORY read more...
San Antonio, Texas is currently the seventh largest city in the United States. In San Antonio's earliest days, Native Americans lived along the San Antonio River, calling the area "Yanaguana" which means "refreshing waters" or "clear waters." Spanish explorers and missionaries first discovered the river in 1691, and because it was the feast day of St. Anthony, they named the river "San Antonio." The actual founding of the city came in 1718 by Father Antonio Olivares when he established Mission San Antonio de Valero, which became permanently etched in the history as The Alamo. The Battle of the Alamo took place in 1836, and eventually the town would grow to encompass the mission where the battle took place, a mile to the east. Texas independence was finally attained at the subsequent Battle of San Jacinto the following April. Since that time, the city has greatly expanded in area. San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities, and under Texas law exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over most of the surrounding unincorporated land. The city actively pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. This is the reason that the city is the seventh largest in the U.S. but its metropolitan area is ranked the 30th largest metropolitan area. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has only been annexed since 1960. In recent years, the city has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. San Antonio was also a training site of the Buffalo Soldiers, famed African American cavalry fighters, who helped bring peace to the Western Frontier a century ago.
SAN ANTONIO AREA ATTRACTIONS
300 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX (210) 225-1391
Perhaps the most famous historical site in all of Texas, The Alamo is world-renowned as a symbol of both heroic courage in the face of death and the struggle against oppression. Before it was launched into its present place in history, it was a simple Spanish mission, run by missionaries and visited by many significant people throughout it's time. Thousands of people each year pay a visit to the landmark where 189 defenders including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett held out for 13 days against 4,000 troops in the centralist army of Gen. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Since this famous battle, it has not only become a symbol of Texas, but also a symbol of American independence and fortitude. The chapel, one of the most photographed facades in the nation, and the Long Barracks are all that remain of the original fort. Walking tours of the site are available. For more information, call their office or visit their website at http://www.thealamo.org/main.html
Casa Navarro State Historical Park
228 S. Laredo St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 226-4801
Casa Navarro is the home site of Jose Antonio Navarro (1795-1871), a Texas legislator under Mexico, the Republic of Texas and the United States. The site includes Navarro's furnished house, first residence and store. Navarro's life illustrates Texas' rich Mexican history and heritage. Conversational tours and exhibits are provided. For more information, call their office or visit their website at http://www.thc.state.tx.us/hsites/hs_navarro.aspx?Site=Navarro
205 E. Guenther St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 227-1061
Guenther House is located on a bend of the San Antonio River. Carl Hilmar Guenther, founder of Pioneer Flour Mills, built this elegant home in 1860. The restored house offers a museum featuring mill memorabilia. Of interest to collectors are the Dresden China Anniversary plates made in Germany until World War II. For more information, call their office or visit their website at http://www. guentherhouse.com
Market Square (El Mercado)
514 W. Commerce
San Antonio, TX (210) 207-8600
From early morning until late at night, Market Square is alive with activity. Visitors and locals alike browse through the 32 shops at "El Mercado," an area patterned after an authentic Mexican market. In addition, there are 80 specialty shops in Farmers Market Plaza. Market Square is also the scene of many Hispanic festivals, where food and beverage booths spring up alongside the Guadalajara lamps and the strains of mariachi music blend with the excitement of Mexican dances. For more information, call their office or visit their website at http://www.marketsquaresa.com
Mission Trails, San Antonio
Missions National Historical Park
2202 Roosevelt Ave.
San Antonio, TX (210) 534-8833
The chain of missions established along the San Antonio River in the 18th century are reminders of one of Spain's most successful attempts to extend its New World dominion from Mexico. Representing both church and state, these missions were charged with converting the local Native Americans into devout Catholics and productive members of society. More than mere churches on the Spanish Colonial frontier, the missions served as vocational and educational centers, and economic enterprises involved in agricultural and ranching endeavors and regional trade. They were the greatest concentration of Catholic missions in North America and formed the foundation for what is today the thriving city of San Antonio. The park contains the historically and architecturally significant structures of missions; Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada. Other important cultural resources included are the historic EspadaDam and Aqueduct, acequia (irrigation) systems and the Rancho de las Cabras. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.nps.gov/saan
Natural Bridge Caverns
26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road
San Antonio, TX (210) 651-6101
This 140-year-old cave provides a magnificent journey of exploration, boasting more than 10,000 limestone formations. Explorers have the opportunity to choose from a variety of tours, which include panning for gold in Texas' largest sluice or participate in rock climbing on the Watchtower Challenge. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.naturalbridgecaverns.com
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
26515 Natural Bridge Caverns Road
San Antonio, TX (830) 438-7400
Have you ever dreamed of going on an African safari? If so, then the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is your dream come true, Texas style! Hundreds of animals from all over the world roam freely in the picturesque Texas Hill Country. Animals are enticed to come up for nose-to-nose encounters using the complimentary food provided to visitors upon entrance. The Petting Zoo and Walk-a-Bout areas are included in the price of admission and everyone is invited to travel through the Ranch as many times as they would like during their visit. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.wildliferanchtexas.com
Old Spanish Trail
During the 1920's, San Antonio's Gunter Hotel was the headquarters for the building of the southern U.S. transcontinental Auto Highway commemorated by the O-Mile Stone on City Hall lawn. From St. Augustine, Florida to San Diego, California, the Old Spanish Trail links cities of the Spanish conquest and settlement. For more information, visit their website at http://www.oldspanishtrailcentennial.com
River Cruise Tours
205 N. Presa, Building B
San Antonio, TX (210) 244-5700
During this 35-40 minute cruise along the beautiful San Antonio River Walk, participants learn about the rich history of the San Antonio River and receive helpful information that will assist them during their visit. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.riosanantonio.com To reserve tickets, call (800) 417-4139.
110 Broadway, Suite 500
(Paseo del Rio Association)
San Antonio, TX (210) 227-4262
The Paseo del Rio, in the heart of downtown, is the pride of the city. Lush green foliage lines the banks of this peaceful and historical river. Cobblestone walkways lead visitors to the river-level restaurants and shops. The river bubbles to the surface on the grounds of the University of the Incarnate Word and flows to downtown and beyond, threading its way through the city one level below the hustle and bustle of city streets. Along the horseshoe-shaped river bend, the river is shaded by towering cypresses, oaks, willows and bordered by gardens of flowering ornamental plants.
Visitors and locals that travel the River Walk's three miles will find themselves passing unique retail shops, restaurants and nightclubs. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com
San Antonio Zoo
3903 N. Saint Mary's St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 734-7184
Ranked as one of the top zoos in the nation, more than 750 species and 3,800 animals call this zoo their home. The zoo spans 56 acres and features exhibits such as the Hixon Bird House, Amazonia and Gibbon Forest. Seasonal shows and educational programs are also offered throughout the year. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sazoo-aq.org
Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort
305 W. Austin
New Braunfels, TX (830) 625-2351
This water park offers three miles of tubing adventures, seven children's water playgrounds, 17 water slides, the world's first surfing machine and three uphill water coasters. While the water park is open only seasonally, families can take advantage of the resort year round. The resort includes fully equipped vacation homes with access to pools, hot tubs, playgrounds and volleyball courts. The water park and resort are located in New Braunfels (which is located just north of San Antonio), an historic German town filled with great restaurants, museums and attractions for the whole family. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.schlitterbahn.com
10500 SeaWorld Drive
San Antonio, TX (800) 700-7786
SeaWorld, San Antonio, the world's largest marine life adventure park and family entertainment showplace, presents a splashy lineup of more than 26 sensational shows, thrilling rides, animal attractions and educational experiences for all ages. It's actually four parks in one on 250 acres: a show park, a rides and slides park, a water park and an amazing animals park. Where else can you touch and feed dolphins and sea lions, count the teeth on a shark and watch penguins play in a sub-Antarctic environment? And, just try to stay dry when world-famous Shamu "comes a-splashing!" Test your courage on the weightless dives of the "Steel Eel" or the twists and corkscrews of the "Great White," Texas' first inverted steel roller coaster. Want to get wet? Escape for a while on the fast and furious river rapids adventure, "Rio Loco" or lose yourself in the tropical pleasure of "Lost Lagoon"—a five-acre paradise that's home to exotic birds, alligators, a giant wave pool and water slides the whole family can enjoy. Don't miss the 4-D theater! The Sea Star Theater, the first of its kind in the Southwest, features "R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse," which is a family friendly ghost story with eye-popping 3-D effects and seats that move with the action. Sea World's operating days and closing times vary seasonally. For complete park operating schedule or park information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.seaworld.com
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
17000 Interstate Highway 10
San Antonio, TX (210) 362-2020
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is a theme and water park designed to reflect the heritage and culture of its Southwestern roots. This 200 acre park features numerous adult and children's rides including "The Tornado," an extreme tubing experience; "The Rattler," an exciting wooden roller coaster; "Superman Krypton Coaster," the largest floorless coaster in the Southwest; and the "Lone Star Lagoon," a wave pool in the shape of the state of Texas. In addition to breathtaking rides, families can enjoy a variety of shows, shops and restaurants. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sixflags.com
Spanish Governor's Palace
105 Military Plaza
San Antonio, TX (210) 224-0601
The Spanish Governor's Palace is labeled "the most beautiful building in San Antonio" by the National Geographic Society. This historic landmark once housed the officials of the Spanish Province of Texas. The palace has distinguishing features that include period furnishings, a cobblestone patio with a fountain and foliage. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sanantonio.gov/dtops/SpanGovPal.asp.
Tower of the Americas
600 Hemisfair Plaza Way
San Antonio, TX (210) 223-3101
The Tower, 750 feet tall, offers a 360-degree, panoramic view of San Antonio and the surrounding area. Glass-walled elevators ascend more than 500 feet to the restaurant and observation level. It was the theme structure for the Hemisfair in 1968 and symbolizes the progress made by the confluence of civilizations in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.toweroftheamericas.com
MUSEUMS AND CULTURE
ARTS San Antonio
222 E. Houston St., Suite 400
San Antonio, TX (210) 226-2891
The mission of ARTS San Antonio is to provide a diverse and comprehensive program of high quality performing arts accessible to the surrounding community. Performances include opera, ballet, theatre, music and dance. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.artssanantonio.com
Buckhorn Saloon and Museum
318 E. Houston St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 247-4000
For a taste of the Old West and wildlife exhibits from all over the world, visit this classic 1881 saloon and museum. The museum is a short two blocks from the Alamo and 50 yards from the River Walk Shopping Center. Stroll through 33,000 square feet of artifacts from Texas history and world record wildlife exhibits with African, Asian, Alaskan and North American themes. There are over 520 different species in all, including fish from the Seven Seas. The Buckhorn Saloon and Museum offers admission discounts to the military with ID. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.buckhornmuseum.com
Gallery of the Southwest
13423 Blanco Road
San Antonio, TX (210) 493-3344
Gallery of the Southwest specializes in classic, historic and contemporary Native American Indian jewelry, baskets, Navajo rugs, Indian drums, Zuni fetishes, Hopi Kachinas, Pendleton blankets and sand paintings made by leading American Indian artists. These items made by Zuni, Navajo and Hopi artists are handmade using natural materials, such as sterling silver and turquoise. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.galleryofthesouthwest.com
Greenhouse Gallery of Fine Art
6496 New Braunfels Ave.
San Antonio, TX (210) 828-6491
A traditional gallery that features nationally and internationally recognized artists, many of whom are featured in fine museums and prestigious collections. Experience the emotion and exceptional light quality captured by 21st century masters in fine oil paintings, and the outstanding designs and vibrant coloration of art glass and bronze work by leading artists. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.greenhousegallery.com
Guinness Book of World Records,
Ripley's Haunted Adventure and
Davy Crockett's Tall Tales Ride
329 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX (210) 226-2828
The Guinness Book of World Records Museum is a state-of-the-art, interactive experience that brings the world famous book to life. Explore 16 themed galleries spread over 10,000 square feet featuring exhibits, artifacts, videos and games all showcasing exciting world records. Ripley's Haunted Adventure, a multi-million dollar special effects haunted house, is almost guaranteed to bring terror to the heartiest of souls. Davy Crockett's Tall Tales Ride is a theme park style ride through the life and times of Davy Crockett according to Davy himself. Enjoy a narrated journey through colorful sets, animatronic characters and an array of visual effects. Visit all three of these wonderful attractions conveniently located across from the Alamo. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.alamoplazaattractions.com
Located on the Riverwalk at Arneson and South Alamo at Nueva San Antonio, Texas, La Villita is a unique arts and crafts community with shops, working artists, restaurants and a post office. The Old San Antonio Exhibit (located in Bolivar Hall) houses a collection of art objects, artifacts and symbols relevant to local history. This beautifully landscaped historic district offers leisurely shopping, dining and five rental venues for special events. For more information, call (210) 207-8610 or visit their website at http://www.lavillita.com
Louis Tussaud's Plaza Wax Museum
and Ripley's Believe It Or Not!
301 Alamo Plaza
San Antonio, TX (210) 224-9299
Located across the street from historic Alamo Plaza, the Plaza Wax Museum features a collection of wax figures displayed within themed sections of Hollywood, Children's Land of Make Believe, Freedom's Journey, Horror, History and Religion. "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" allows you to discover one of a kind oddities, curiosities and illusions gathered from all over the world. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.plazawaxmuseum.com
224 E. Houston St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 226-2121
Named a State and National Historic Landmark, the Majestic Theater is home to the San Antonio Symphony and the AT&T Broadway Series. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.majestic empire.com
San Antonio Botanical Garden,
Lucile Halsell Conservatory
555 Funston at New Braunfels Ave.
San Antonio, TX (210) 207-3250
While touring this 33-acre living museum, visitors can enjoy seasonal floral displays, a serene native forest walk, exotic plant specimens, modernistic glass pyramids and even an authentic log cabin. Included among the museum's many highlights is a Garden for the Blind, Kuamoto En (an authentic Japanese garden) and the Aquatic Garden Pool. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sabot.org
San Antonio Children's Museum
305 E. Houston St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 212-4453
This unique and innovative educational resource is dedicated to providing engaging hands on experiences where children and the adults in their lives actively learn through creative play. It contains more than 80 interactive multi-sensory exhibits designed to foster a greater understanding of the working society and the physical world. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sakids.org
San Antonio Museum of Art
200 W. Jones Ave.
San Antonio, TX (210) 978-8100
This world-renowned museum houses a collection of everything from ancient art to Mexican folk art. An elegant setting for both indoor and outdoor themes, it is also the original home of the Lone Star Brewing Co. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.samuseum.org
Southwest School of Art & Craft
San Antonio, TX (210) 224-1848
Visitors can see free contemporary art exhibitions and lectures by visiting artists, or just stroll around the picturesque grounds of the historic Ursuline Campus which was once an all girls' school and convent. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.swschool.org
1174 E. Commerce
San Antonio, TX (210) 222-9481
Sunset Station, nestled in the historic St. Paul district, offers visitors a unique experience in downtown San Antonio. Visit this venue to enjoy dining at Aldaco's Fine Mexican Cuisine or Ruth's Chris Steak House. Here you can experience a self-paced walking tour to marvel at the turn of the century architecture, or catch a concert given by nationally recognized artists ranging from blues to country to alternative to rock. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.sunset-station.com
Texas Air Museum, Stinson Chapter
1234 99th St. (Stinson Chapter)
San Antonio, TX (210) 977-9885
The Texas Air Museum was founded in 1985, in Rio Hondo, Texas. A branch of the museum opened in Slayton, Texas in 1990 and another in 1999 at Stinson Field in San Antonio. The mission of the Museum is to promote education through the preservation and restoration of aircraft and artifacts representing historic events that have shaped this nation and the world. The Stinson Chapter presents the history of flight from the early days of aviation (with an emphasis on early aviation in San Antonio) to the present. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.texasairmuseum.org
University of Texas Institute of
Texan Cultures at San Antonio
801 S. Bowie St.
San Antonio, TX (210) 458-2330
Meet the pioneers of Texas through exciting and creative displays that feature the 27 different ethnic groups that built the Lone Star State. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.texancultures.utsa.edu
San Antonio, TX (210) 357-1900
Located in Brackenridge Park on the banks of the San Antonio River, the Witte brings history, science and culture to life. With an extensive collection of nationally acclaimed traveling exhibits, the H-E-B Science Treehouse and beautiful grounds on which historic homes and log cabins proudly stand, the Witte Museum offers something for everyone. For more information, call their offices or visit their website at http://www.wittemuseum.org
PARKS AND RECREATION
City Parks and Recreational Activities
The citizens of San Antonio are proud of their public parks. The city maintains over 180 parks and recreational areas that play host to a variety of sporting activities including softball and basketball leagues, tennis, boxing and soccer. Parks are also a good inspirational source for jogging and other athletic endeavors. Public parks are perfect for family outings and other social gatherings. They also provide a wonderful way to take in the natural beauty and scenery the area has to offer after a long week of work. Many of the Community Centers located in several of the parks offer a wide variety of classes, while city swimming pools offer swimming lessons and water aerobics classes. The outdoor pool season in San Antonio stretches from May through August to provide maximum benefit from the hot summer months.
San Antonio is fast becoming a major national golf destination. Whether looking for that short or long drive, golf enthusiasts can easily find diverse and challenging courses in and around the city. Courses offer group tournaments and a wide range of greens fees to fit any budget. The terrain is both vast and lush. Mild temperatures and more than 300 days of sunshine grace the area annually, making San Antonio's golf experiences among some of the best in the country.
San Antonio offers a wide variety of spectator sports including the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, the San Antonio Rampage hockey team and the San Antonio Missions minor league baseball team. The minor league teams have a loyal fan base that actively shows their support.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are the only team from San Antonio is in major U.S. professional sports. This has caused a lot of support from the city and their fans and also creates a feeling of pride. This pride was wide felt in 2007 when San Antonio Spurs fans celebrated, as the team became the NBA Champions after sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the finals.
San Antonio's dining scene is as varied and rich as its cultural influences. You can enjoy regionally inspired Tex-Mex cuisine, specialized international flavors, or modern American recipes infused with worldwide influences. Take the time to savor the very best Texas game and seafood or simply hunker down at a down-home chophouse. No matter what you have an appetite for you can find it in San Antonio.