San Antonio Trip Report

We just got back from a quick trip to San Antonio. I lived there from third grade through high school and things like The Alamo, Tower of the Americas, Institute of Texas Cultures and many a Mexican restaurant were the backdrop of my childhood – one which by most people’s definition would be defined as pretty sad. Going back with my husband and daughter in tow is always very special. Something I never imagined I’d do since I was convinced that if I made it to adulthood I would live far away from that place! But now, going back just makes me very happy and I guess I have Shamu to thank.

Sea World and Six Flags appeared on the scene shortly before I left. The two parks are about 20 minutes apart and located on the perimeter of San Antonio, part of which sits on the edge of the hill country. Our favorite of the two is Sea World. Seeing killer whales on TV is one thing, but getting up close and personal is unforgettable. And September is a good time to do it. We arrived around 10:30 and the lines for thrill rides were practically non-existent. The key to having fun at Sea World is starting early in the morning and saving the shows for later. We stayed until late afternoon then checked into a hotel nearby for the evening.

There are a few luxury resorts in the area, our favorite being The Westin La Cantera. It has an amazing pool area with a slide, fountains and roving waiters who’ll cheerfully bring you refreshments from the café. Along with a few other very good restaurants, there’s also a spa, tennis court and a world class golf course. About 3 minutes down the road is an upscale shopping mall called Shops at La Cantera, and across the street is Six Flags. Like most other cities in Texas, you need a car to get around. Downtown San Antonio, where you’ll find loads of good restaurants, is about a 30 minute drive. We took Fuzz to a place called “Eyes over Texas” which is the spinning restaurant at the top of the Tower of the America’s. Our steaks were very good, but I imagine they will be getting even better because it’s about to be converted to a restaurant called Chart House.

After dinner downtown, we drove back to the hotel, circled some breakfast items and hung them on the door for room service, then went to bed. We wanted to be well-rested for a trip to the San Antonio zoo. The zoo, which is near downtown in Brackenridge park, is opened 365 days a year. It’s changed quite a bit. In fifth grade, my friend and I use to rent horses for 10 dollars an hour and ride by ourselves all over the park. The stables are gone, but the zoo and park are still very nice and Kiddie Park, the tiny amusement park on Mulberry is still there too.

There are so many other things about San Antonio I appreciate more as an adult. The Institute of Texas Cultures, which sounds kind of boring in an educational sort of way, is an extremely interesting, hands-on place to learn about the different ethnic groups who settled in Texas. I loved it as a kid and can’t wait to take Emma. For architecture buffs, there’s The King William Historical District, where people have restored houses from Old San Antonio. Those are just a few tourist attractions that come to mind at the moment, but I can think of more… Mission Trail, The Pearl Brewery, The Witte Museum, the McNay Art Institute and the Blue Star Gallery of Contemporary Art. Oh, and The Alamo! It sits in the middle of downtown surrounded by shops and pigeons. It’s not exactly a spectacular site in and of itself, but when you hear the story and walk through, you might get the chills. I sure do. I could go on and on, but I thought I’d include this info for anyone planning a trip to Texas.


  1. Loren says

    Hi There,

    Thanks for sharing your trip to San Antonio. It brought back some memories. Its a small world because I also grew up in SA. I went to Kitty Hawk Jr High and Judson High School. Which school did you attend. Enjoy your blog very much.

  2. says

    Hi Loren,

    I went to Castle Hills Elementary, a few different Junior Highs (the awful years) and Clark High. We lived in an area called Hunter’s Creek.

  3. Adare says

    Loved the trip report and slideshow! SA is a great city – like you, I couldn’t wait to leave, and now I love to go back! Last time I went, the Tower was under construction – I’m glad it’s open again. It’s a neat spot. And like Loren, I, too, went to Kitty Hawk and Judson! (small world, eh?)

    My daughter (9yo) and I love your blog (a coworker of your hubby’s turned us onto it) and we bake together all the time. Thanks for all of the inspiration!

  4. says

    Hello Adare,

    Glad you enjoyed the trip report! So I wonder if you and Loren knew each other ;). All I remember about Judson was that they had a really good football team.

    By the way. Remember the skyrides going from the zoo to Sunken Gardens? They’re gone. I suspected maybe they had been taken down, but didn’t (and still don’t) know the whole story.

  5. says

    My Mom and I went on a trip to SA when I was in my early 20’s. We ate at the spinning restaurant–or I should say she did. I took my dinner to go because I got sick. YUCK! We had a lot of fun on that trip but got lost so many times. We found a lot of neat places to go while we were lost…lol!
    Over Labor Day weekend I went down around Waco and went to a HEB! I went down the baking isle and thought of you–so many cool things.

  6. Adare says

    You’re bringing back memories here! I loved the skyride and the stables. My best friend in SA told me a few years ago that the zoo closed both due to insurance issues (not sure about the whole story). Went to lots of bday parties at Kiddie Park! Bought candy at TG&Y. Tried to find “the” railroad tracks. Loved the holiday display at Joske’s. Lunch at Scrivener’s with my mom. Remember the Magic Time Machine?

    Am wondering if Loren’s dad was my geometry teacher – his first name was Loren.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

  7. says

    Brenda, I have to admit, the spinning got to me a little at first. But I have major motion sickness issues so I was thankful it was just a *little*. Once I started eating and drinking, the queasy/dizzy feeling went away.

    Glad you got to explore the wonderful world of H.E.B.. The one in my neighborhood is probably better ;). No really.

  8. Sandra says

    I love S.A. too. I grew up in a small South Texas town about 2 hrs from there. We loved to visit it growing up and now my husband (he’s from Arkansas)and I love to stay on the Riverwalk. We go to a very fun club called ‘Howl at the Moon’. Its a dueling piano bar.

  9. says

    Adare, I suspected the horses and skyrides disappeared due to insurance issues. It seems that’s always the case!

    Sandra, do you have any Riverwalk hotel recs?

    Debbi, you have to try it. It’s totally addictive.

    Even Fuzz can use it and she’s only 6! If you like it, sign up to be an aviator.

  10. says

    Anna, thanks so much for sharing your trip, so glad you all had a good time. I’ve wanted to go back to SA — went there for a conference about 15 yrs ago w/o hubby and after experiencing the beautiful Riverwalk, wanted to take him back. If we ever do get there, we have lots of other places to visit and a great place to stay, thanks to you! Gee, this is a great blog, not only good recipes but great travel advice.

  11. says

    Sounds like lots of fun! I’ve been to the Six Flags but have not been to Sea World. I’d love to do that some time…and the zoo, I’ve been wanting to do one of those for a while! Sounds like I need to take a trip with some friends!

  12. Susan says

    I’m a lurker of your blog but wanted to comment this time to say I’m from SA too! Colonies North elem, Hobby Middle, and Clark High… I live in Austin now but I still visit SA frequently since my parents still live there. Anyway, love your blog. In fact, your blog got me started on reading other baking/cooking blogs as well as baking more.

  13. says

    Hi Susan,

    How funny! I only went to Hobby for a few months, but I did spend 3 years at Clark. Maybe we had some of the same teachers?

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