San Antonio has two exciting, world-class theme parks---and kids often want to make a beeline towards them as fast as possible.
SAN ANTONIO FAMILY FUN CENTERS: Theme parks aren't the only place you can enjoy some rousing family activities in the Alamo City. Like most other metro areas, San Antonio has a selection of family fun parks...where (depending on which one you choose) you may play miniature golf, ride bumper boats, drive go karts, play laser tag and, of course, test your skill in the arcade. A list of San Antonio family fun centers includes:
Fun Animal Attractions in & around San Antonio
The San Antonio Zoo in Brackenridge Park has already entertained several generations of San Antonio residents & visitors, and shows no sign of slowing down. It was hit with my kids when they were little...and now my granddaughter finds it to be quite interesting, too. Improvements and new additions continue to be made regularly, making the San Antonio Zoo ever more attractive and full of fun. Here's a link to the San Antonio Zoo, where you'll get the lowdown on the park's exhibits, hours, prices, and events.
You'll want to return to Brackenridge Park for still more fun! Taking children to enjoy The Witte Museum at the park is a San Antonio tradition! The museum's HEB Science Treehouse helps kids understand science better; regional animal life, dinosaurs and culture are other topics explored here in striking displays. You'll find that the Witte Museum website gives you all the info you need to plan your outing.
Wonder World Park is another choice for families with kids who enjoy animals. More famous for its cave tours (which will be described further down this page,) the Wonder World Park also has a petting zoo that children may enjoy. Here's the Wonder World Park website, where you get full details.
Animal World and Snake Farm, New Braunfels: Animal enthusiasts of all kinds---and especially reptile lovers---won't want to miss the interesting Animal World & Snake Farm. You may view the park's website at www.awsfzoo.com for a complete desctiption of their facility.
The Alamo and Alamo Plaza
This sobering sanctuary is a national tourist draw; family-fun attractions surround the shrineThe Alamo needs no introduction. Its story of bravery and valor are well-known, and for adults, the Alamo is surely San Antonio's first spot on any touring itinerary.
Small fry, and even teens, aren't necessarily going to feel the same way. Moreover, the story of the battle at the Alamo ends in bloodshed and death; stopping to hear the docent's re-telling of the story could certainly be overwhelming to the little kids in your group.
That's not to say that your family should avoid the Alamo. The building itself is interesting to behold, and its spacious grounds are well-maintained, green and lovely. Here's The Alamo's website to use as a guide in planning your visit.
More than likely, your kids will be clamoring to visit the Alamo Plaza attractions. It's impossible to miss them; they're directly across the street from the Alamo itself. Ripley's Believe It or Not is a collection of oddities gathered from around the world...which oftentimes tend to be grotesque looking. Needless to say, it's often a hit with teens. Kids will probably be interested, too...and adults may find themselves staring in fascination, despite themselves. Louis Tussaud's Wax Museum is a fun place to view wax replicas of Hollywood stars, past and present. This attraction shares a website with the Ripley's museum.
Other Alamo Plaza family attractions include the ever-popular Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley's Haunted Adventure and Moving Theater 3D. These three facilities share one website, www.AlamoPlazaAttractions.com, where you'll find hours, ticket prices, and a full description of what you'll see when you visit.
The Ultimate Mirror Maze & Vault Laser Challenge are other fun things to do which your family might enjoy in the Alamo Plaza area, as well.
River Walk & Downtown Attractions
The Alamo may be the "heart" of downtown, but it's far from being the area's only good family attraction. Kids will enjoy both the San Antonio River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, and the San Antonio Children's Museum, as well.
2.) The San Antonio River Walk is one of the loveliest downtown areas that you'll find in any city in the USA. The area is actually many attractions in one, all of them lining both sides of a small, picturesque river. Tour barges and water taxis ply the river, trees tower overhead, stonework bridges criss-cross back and forth for pedestrians to cross...and large, colorful umbrellas seem to be everywhere, shading scores of sidewalk cafe tables. It's an area where you'll enjoy people-watching at its finest...and whether you're walking, dining, or riding in a boat, you'll be a part of the action.
Most of the attractions along the River Walk are restaurants and bars. It gets crowded in the evenings once the nightlife begins; therefore, mornings and afternoons are more ideal times to bring children. Eating at one of the sidewalk cafes is an enjoyable activity...but if you're on a budget, getting ice cream at the Haagen Dazs works just as well (and your kids will certainly approve!) San Antonio's Rainforest Cafe location is also along the River Walk...and it's festive jungle decor & colorful aquariums draw children's interest like a beacon. Teens may be interested in dining at the Riverwalk's Hard Rock Cafe location.
The Rivercenter Mall is located on a portion of the River Walk...and it's also an attraction you won't want to miss. Not only is it a convenient and lovely spot to shop, but you can hail water taxis and take tours from this location. A food court provides less expensive dining options than the Riverwalk's restaurants, if you're on a budget. And, the AMC/IMAX Theater is here at the mall...most noted for its Alamo Imax movie, that serves to expand what you've already learned at the shrine next door. But, if you feel your kids are too young for the topic, you can choose from some interesting IMAX nature movies, instead.
Websites for the Riverwalk attractions can help you plan your outing. You may be interested in checking out the Rivercenter Mall website and the San Antonio River Walk website...all of which are very helpful and informative.
3.) The DoSeum---San Antonio's Museum for Kida (which is also downtown near the River Walk and Alamo Plaza) is an interesting stop for families with kids from ages 2 through about 10 years old. As you might guess, "learning through play" is emphasized here, and the museum's interactive exhibits keep kids absorbed while learning and role-playing in a variety of settings. To help plan your family's outing, here's the The DoSeum website, where you'll discover the children's museum hours, prices and exhibits.
San Antonio-area caves and caverns
What child, teen or adult doesn't like to enjoy an interesting cave? The site of beautiful caverns filled with stalactites, stalagmites, cave bacon and other formations is always thrilling to the human imagination. The area around San Antonio offers your family to learn while having fun at the same time...by taking one of several cavern tours!
The Natural Bridge Caverns is one cave system that my own family has enjoyed (and you can see some pictures of this attraction in the slide show above.) It's reasonably-priced, popular...and can easily be combined with a visit to another fun attraction "next door" (the Natural Caverns Wildlife Park, described below) to make for a full day of fun. For info, please see the Natural Bridge Caverns website.
Wonder World Park in San Marcos is another good cavern tour that your family might enjoy. The admission price also includes other family activities your kids will enjoy. Details can be found at the Wonder World website.
The Cave Without A Name in Boerne, Texas also makes a good day-trip from San Antonio. It features 6 rooms of beautiful features...which take a full hour's tour to enjoy. Here's the Cave Without A Name website for directions, hours and tour prices.
Cascade Caverns, also in Boerne, is yet another enchanting cave system you may want to explore in the heart of Texas Hill Country. During its long life, even mastodons and saber-tooth tigers have enjoyed the cave. (How do we know? Their bones have been found here!) For details, here's the Cascade Caverns website.
San Antonio water parks & river tubing
As you discovered in the section above, both Sea World and Fiesta Texas have good, mid-sized water parks which your family is sure to enjoy. That doesn't mean you shouldn't check out the area's other water parks.
Splashtown Water Park in San Antonio is another good choice for families who love water slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. Everything from a tame kiddie area to giant, scream-inducing slides awaits your group here! Details can be found at the Splashtown website.
TUBING: For a more relaxed approach to water fun, you'll want to discover the activity of river tubing. The area around San Antonio offers good tubing opportunities in both New Braunfels (on the Guadalupe and Comal rivers) and San Marcos (on the San Marcos River.) You may bring your own tubes...and the price couldn't be better. It's free! Or for even more fun, you can find a tubing company which will take you back to the "starting point" as many times as you'd like during the day. Canoeing and kayaking are other river activities which make good family outings. Google's list of New Braunfels tubing companies includes a map showing where each one is headquartered. TubeSanMarcos.com is a popular site about San Marcos tubing, and other good sites can also be found by doing an internet search.
San Antonio Attractions CouponsWhat's could be more fun than touring the wide variety of San Antonio family attractions?
Touring them at a discount, of course!
The good news is that most of the fun things to do in San Antonio with kids ALSO have discount coupons that you can find (either on the internet or locally in tourist brochures.) Here are some good places on the internet to find discount coupons for San Antonio attractions:
1.) San Antonio Area Tourism Council coupons: The very active tourism council has been doing a good job of getting coupons to the public for a number of years. On their www.SanAntonioAttractions.com website, you can get some good San Antonio attractions coupons to a wide variety of activities. These coupons include the SA Botanical Garden, the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, the SA Children's Museum, the Enchanted Springs ranch, the IMAX theater, the Institute of Texan cultures; the shops of La Villita; the Ultimate Mirror Maze & Vault Laser Challenge; Natural Bridge Caverns; Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch; Ripley's/Louis Tussaud's; Schlitterbahn Water Park; Fiesta Texas; SeaWorld; Splashtown water park; McNay Art Museum; SA Trolley Tours; Wonder World Park and cave; and San Antonio Zoo in Brackenridge Park.
2.) The San Antonio Convention & Visitor's Bureau is also very active in helping families find discounts to San Antonio tourist attractions. This group's website, VisitSanAntonio.com, is a terrific resource for tourists and local sight-seers to discover. The San Antonio Visitor's Bureau is also very helpful for deal-finding. Here's the "Deals" page of the San Antonio Deals page of their website
3.) Coupons for the San Antonio River Walk can be found on TheSanAntonioRoverWalk.com website. Fortunately, the discount coupons aren't limited only to RiverWalk attractions; they include other family fun spots, as well. On this website's San Antonio attraction discount coupons page, you'll also find print-at-home coupons for the Ripley's attractions in downtown San Antonio and a Tower of the Americas coupon, for example.
4.) AAA Club's San Antonio attraction discounts: You'll need to be a member of the American Automobile Association in order to get these discounts...but since many people are, we'll list them here. The AAA has 2 types of discount programs. One is the "Show Your Card & Save" program...where you simply show your AAA card at the door of participating attractions to get a discount. The other type of AAA discounts require you to actually go into one of the club's branch offices and purchase your discount tickets in person...or else purchase them online from the AAA website; these are usually even better discounts. With the online discount ticket-buying, you'll need to get them from your home state's AAA...Because each state (or sometimes a several-state region) has its own offers. If you go to AAA.com, the site will re-direct you automatically to your local AAA.
5.) Privately-owned coupon sites: Groupon.com and Entertainment.com both offer discounts on San Antonio restaurants and attractions. With Entertainment.com, you'll buy a book stuffed with coupons for restaurants, shopping and entertainment throughout the metro San Antonio area. Then, you'll use each coupon once when you visit that establishment. Online coupons also available.
Groupon.com offers an assortment of deals, but you purchase the offers one at a time, only getting the one deal that interests you at the moment. Groupon's offers rotate, so you should check every so often to see if they have any discounts that interest you. You should also be aware of the attraction's own ticket price, because many attractions these days are having some very good sales of their own. At the time of this update, several tubing companies, museums and fun parks have Groupon offers going. That list will change, of course, but who knows...they might have just the very offer that you're looking for at the time you'd like to plan an activity.