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Aug 29 2019

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Things to do in San Antonio with kids, including the Alamo, the River Walk, and the Witte Museum.

Things to Do in San Antonio With Kids

Things to do in San Antonio with kids, including the Alamo, the River Walk, and the Witte Museum.

In addition to the amazing culture and history, there are a number of fun things to do in San Antonio with kids. We recently visited for five days over Spring Break, and we all had such a great time. Thinking of visiting with your children? Here are some of the best things to do in San Antonio with kids.

Things to Do in San Antonio With Kids

Disclosure: We received complimentary tickets to SeaWorld San Antonio for this review. Affiliate links are included in this post – if you click/purchase through an affiliate link, we may make a small commission. We paid for all of our other activities, including hotel, food, and airfare.

If you are planning to visit San Antonio with kids, you may consider getting a San Antonio Explorer Pass. This pass can help you save up to 45% on attractions, and you have the choice of purchasing a pass with three, four, or five attractions. There are lots of popular spots included, so you can customize based upon the experience you want to have.

We’ve tried to spend school breaks exploring different parts of the United States. My kids hadn’t been to Texas before, so we decided to head to San Antonio, Texas, home of the Alamo and River Walk. We booked a Southwest Vacations package, which included our flights from Boston,

The Alamo is the most popular attraction in Texas, so it’s definitely a must-do for your San Antonio family vacation. It gets busy with school groups and tourists, so we decided to go first thing in the morning. It’s free to get in, and walk around, but you can also choose to purchase an audio tour or guided tour.

We opted to get the audio tour, which I definitely recommend if you are traveling with older children (mine are 10 and 12). There’s so much information in the tour, and you’ll learn a lot of the history and background of the Alamo as well as Texas history. Otherwise, you’ll be walking around and trying to read the different exhibits. I always find the audio tours to be easier to follow, and keep the kids more engaged.

It doesn’t take too long to walk around. There are some rules of reverence that you’ll need to follow when visiting the interior, so review those in advance.

If you aren’t staying on the River Walk, then combine your trip to the Alamo with a visit to the River Walk.

The River Walk – one of the best things to do in San Antonio with kids

The San Antonio River Walk

While the Alamo is the most popular tourist attraction in Texas, the River Walk is the second more popular attraction. We have an entire post focused on things to do on the San Antonio River Walk – but I definitely recommend taking the river boat tour. The guides are so knowledgeable, and the 30-minute ride is fun and educational. While you are exploring the River Walk area, you’ll see so many of these boats floating around.

The River Walk is located within walking distance of the Alamo, so you can definitely do both in one day if you aren’t staying in the area. There are also lots of shops and restaurants that you can explore during your visit.

SeaWorld San Antonio

My kids’ highlight of our time in San Antonio was our day at SeaWorld. Although the park is smaller than the location in Orlando, we loved it. There are roller coasters and thrill rides for older children, other rides for smaller children, and lots of different animal encounters and shows (our favorite spot was the penguins).

SeaWorld San Antonio is open limited days and hours in the off-season, so you’ll want to check that out before your trip. It was only open weekends during our trip, so we only had the option of one specific day during our five night trip. That’s definitely something you’ll want to know in advance. You can definitely spend the whole day there, so I wouldn’t plan to do anything else that day.

The Witte Museum

There was one rainy day during our San Antonio family vacation, so we headed to the recently renovated Witte Museum. Although my kids were a bit reluctant to visit a museum on our vacation, the Witte so pleasantly surprised them.

Part science museum, part history museum, the Witte features several different buildings with loads of hands-on exhibits. Our favorites were the Texas heritage center, the dinosaur gallery, and the H-E-B Body Adventure. Although the Body Adventure is in a separate building, I definitely recommend visiting it. My kids loved learning about health and fitness, and even learned how much they would need to exercise to burn off their favorite sugary drinks. It was a good lesson for all of us.

The Tower of the Americas

We used to live in Seattle, and loved the Space Needle, so we definitely wanted to visit the Tower of the Americas. Surprisingly, it is actually taller than the Space Needle. It gets busy, so we arrived first thing in the morning. After paying for parking, we walked to the park surrounding the tower. We were there before it opened, so we just enjoyed the park before purchasing tickets.

Tickets for the tower also include the 4D theater, although it wasn’t operational while we were there. You get a wristband for the tower, so you can also return later in the day to see the city at night. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this for younger kids, but if you like seeing great views, it’s a fun attraction. It doesn’t take too long to visit.

The Pearl

The Pearl is a fun new neighborhood in the original Pearl Brewery district. We parked in the free lot, and visited several of the unique, hip shops before checking out the gorgeous Hotel Emma. If you like buildings and hotels, I’d recommend walking through it (or even staying there).

Then, we walked by the river – taking loads of pictures, and dined at the riverfront restaurant La Gloria. It’s definitely worth driving out to the Pearl for the afternoon. It’s so different from the River Walk, and La Gloria was one of our favorite dining experiences. Eat outside if at all possible.

Attractions by the Alamo

There are a number of fun kitschy museums located by the Alamo, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Guinness World Records Museum. My son saw the front of Ripley’s and begged to go in. While I wouldn’t consider these must-dos, they are fun to visit if you have the time, and if your kids want to go.

Other activities

We weren’t able to see everything that we wanted, but there are definitely other things to do in San Antonio with kids. We really wanted to visit Schlitterbahn (a water park), but like SeaWorld, it’s only open weekends during April. There’s’ also the San Antonio Zoo, the Institute of Texas Cultures, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the San Antonio Aquarium, the Natural Bridge Caverns, and the Doseum.

Outside of San Antonio

If you want to explore outside of San Antonio, you may consider taking a drive through Texas Hill Country. While there are lots of resorts, hotels, and ranches to stay in, you can also visit for a day trip. There, you’ll find several museums, state parks, ziplining, shops, and restaurants.

During our visit, we decided to drive up to Gruene Texas (pronounced Green). Because this was the kids’ first trip to Texas, we wanted to go beyond the city of San Antonio to explore more of the Texas countryside. While we didn’t spend too much time in Gruene, we did enjoy some shopping and lunch at the Gruene River Grill.

Where to Eat in San Antonio

We loved almost all of the meals that we had in San Antonio. For BBQ, I definitely recommend BBQ Station, which is a bit of a drive from the River Walk. I was surprised that there aren’t too many great BBQ restaurants near the River Walk, but BBQ Station is the real deal.

For Mexican, we loved Casa Rio and Acenar (both on the River Walk), as well as La Gloria in the Pearl. Our favorite restaurant overall was Boudro’s (also on the River Walk). We ate there twice, because we loved it so much. There are so many great restaurants, so it’s a good idea to do some research in advance.

At a minimum, you should definitely consider eating at least one meal outside on the River Walk. Even if you don’t stay on the River Walk, you’ll love people watching as you dine.

Where to Stay in San Antonio

When looking at San Antonio hotels, you’ll have lots of options. There are some hotels that are located in Downtown San Antonio/on the River Walk, some a short walk from the River Walk, some that are near the airport, and others that are closer to SeaWorld.

We decided to stay on the River Walk, at the Omni La Mansion Del Rio. The Drury Hotels (there are two in the River Walk area) have great reviews as well (see reviews for the Drury Plaza and the Drury Inn and Suites). I loved being on the River Walk since it’s so convenient. When booking your room, you may have the option of a River Walk view. I found that to be worthwhile – we really enjoyed the view.

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