Family Fun in Central Texas, Part 6: San Antonio

This is my sixth post about our family's travels to Central Texas. I recommend reading the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth posts before this one. Because I blog about educational travel, I was given free admission tickets, media rates, discounts, and other benefits for some of the attractions we visited throughout the trip. This has no bearing on my reviews. Everything I'm sharing is something that I recommend whole-heartedly. If you notice any gaps in my narrative, it's because I didn't like a particular hotel, attraction, or restaurant enough to recommend it, regardless of how much I paid or didn't pay.


San Antonio, Texas

After a wonderful morning at the San Antonio Zoo, plus taking 11/14ths of the Old Town Trolley Tour, we were more than ready for lunch. We chose the highly recommended Crockett Tavern in the historic Crockett Hotel

It was a fantastic decision. The atmosphere was great and the food was terrific. 

Then we visited the city's most famous attraction, The Alamo. From this angle, you can see the Crockett Hotel peeking over the Alamo church. 

In case you don't 'Remember the Alamo', here's a refresher. The Alamo was built in the early 1700's by the Spanish government as Misión San Antonio de Valero in order to spread Roman Catholicism to the indigenous population. It was secularized in 1793 and abandoned. Eventually, it served as a fortress, first by Mexicans and then by Texians. At the Battle of the Alamo (a 13-day siege in 1836), the Mexican Army reclaimed the Alamo and killed most of its defenders, including Davy Crockett and James Bowie. 

There are a lot of things to see and do at the Alamo. The most recognizable is the Alamo Church. Entry is free, but you need tickets. 

It was ridiculously crowded when we visited. I asked if that was due to the eclipse, but was told that it's almost always crowded. The line to get in was 30+ minutes, so be prepared to stand in the sun for awhile. 

Don't miss the sacristy, where the women and children hid during the siege. 

There's a lot more at the Alamo to see than just the church. 

The Long Barrack is the oldest building on the site and is where you'll find the 17-minute Crossroads of History film. At the Calvary Courtyard and Alamo Cenotaph, you can remember those who died during the siege. 


Don't miss the Living History Encampment or the Wall of History to learn even more. Unfortunately, they were so crowded that we didn't end up with any pictures that showed more than just a wall of people. 

Things were a little less crowded at the Alamo Exhibit inside the Collections Center, since there's an admission fee to go in. Start with this excellent model of the Battle of the Alamo for a very informative overview. 

Phil Collins features prominently throughout the building. You may wonder, as I did, what connection a British drummer, singer, and songwriter has to the Alamo. It turns out Collins learned the story of the Alamo when he was five years old and saw the Disney film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (affiliate link). He's been a passionate collector of Alamo artifacts for many years.  

You could easily spend the entire day at the Alamo. I don't do well in crowds, so we didn't stay as long as I'd expected we would. But I'm glad we saw what we did. The Alamo is a very interesting place with tons of history and a lot to see and do. 

Next up, the San Antonio Urban Adventure Quest. As you know, I'm obsessed. I think there's no better way to get an up close and personal look at a city. Conveniently, the first five questions are all around the Alamo. On the sixth question, we ran into construction that made it impossible to find the answer. 

There's a covered mural on the right that has the information we needed!

Fortunately, that's not a problem with Quests. They have options to get hints, skip questions, or even call Customer Service. They are great about helping their users. And as soon as they're aware of a problem (like this one), they'll put a notation in the Quest to let users know something is temporarily impossible due to construction. 

Another feature I love with Urban Adventure Quests is the ability to pause the game. We needed to catch the last Old Town Trolley tour of the day in order to see Stops #1-3 and to retrieve our car, still parked (for free!) at the zoo. 

As before, our driver was great and we learned so much more about San Antonio. We got off the trolley and walked to our car, intending to drive back downtown, find parking, and resume the Quest. 

But... we didn't. It was so crowded downtown and we'd need to find parking. We were way too hot (heat + humidity = torture) and we weren't dressed cooly enough. I was in jeans. Trevor was in jeans and a long sleeved shirt. He'd turned down my offer to buy him a short-sleeved shirt, but accepted an Icee. Steve, apparently the smartest of the three of us, was dressed like everyone else in San Antonio that day, wearing a t-shirt and shorts. Anyway, once we got in our car with the AC blasting, none of us wanted to return to the heat and the crowds, even to finish our Quest. I don't know if the game remains paused forever, but it's still paused as I'm writing this two weeks later. I hope someday we'll be back in San Antonio, not only to finish the Quest but to see everything else that we missed. It really is a great city.  

Other than some construction traffic, we had a pleasant drive back to Fredericksburg. I snapped a quick photo of our temporary home-sweet-home, then headed indoors to put my stuff down. 

Within five minutes, the sky was black and we had a massive thunderstorm that lasted for hours. It turned out to be such a blessing that we'd headed back when we did, rather than driving home in that weather. 

The next morning, we said goodbye to Dave, Pat, and Teri, checked out of Hugelhaus, and headed to the Austin airport. We allowed plenty of time, not knowing how the drive would be. As it turned out, the drive was fine, but the airport was insane. Long story short, we it took a lot more time than it should have to get to our gate and none of the problem was due to security. We had an uneventful flight to Salt Lake City. I said goodbye to Steve and Trevor and got off the plane, while they continued on to Sacramento. 

What was I doing alone in Salt Lake City? I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. 

1 comment:

  1. I hardly wear jeans. Just too hot for the tropical climate. I don't do well with crowds either.


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