Home to 1.5 million people, San Antonio is the seventh biggest city in the United States and the second biggest in all of Texas. Founded way back in 1718, San Antonio has a fascinating history and is home to some unique and interesting monuments that history buffs will adore like the Alamo, the Mission Concepcion, and the Bexar County Courthouse.
1.San Antonio RV Parks
2.Traveler's World RV Resort
3.River Walk RV Park
4.Green Lake RV Resort
5.Admiralty RV Resort
4 Best San Antonio RV Parks
- San Antonio RV Parks, Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Traveler's World RV Resort, Photo: gilles lougassi/stock.adobe.com
- River Walk RV Park, Photo: Andrey Armyagov/stock.adobe.com
- Green Lake RV Resort , Photo: _jure/stock.adobe.com
- Admiralty RV Resort , Photo: Tomasz Zajda/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Pete/stock.adobe.com
Attraction Spotlight: San Antonio Botanical Garden
In the late 1940’s, two friends, Mrs. R.R. Witte and Mrs. Joseph Murphey, conceived the idea for a botanical garden. Together with many friends and associates, they were able to start the San Antonio Garden Center on land adjacent to Brackenridge Water Works, an abandoned limestone quarry turned water supply system and reservoir deeded to the city of San Antonio, Texas in 1899.
The first item on the agenda of the Garden Center was to create a master plan for a public botanical garden on the water works land in the late 1960’s. In 1970, voters approved $265,00 in bonds to fund the groundwork of the garden. These bonds, as well as grants and individual contributions, lead to the ground breaking ceremony on July 21, 1971 with the official opening of the garden to the public on May 3, 1980.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden Society, Inc, a not for profit organization, was chartered in 1980 to support the garden with the mission of inspiring people to connect with the world of plants, and understand the importance of plants in our lives.
Over the years, there have been many updates, drawing more visitors to the gardens, including the conservatory, Sullivan Carriage House, Auld House, the Funston Properties, trail revitalization projects, children’s facilities, landscape lighting throughout the garden, and many community events including Shakespearean plays, and plant sales. The garden is currently 38 acres and has much to offer visitors of all ages.
The Lucille Halsell Conservatory is one of the focal points of the botanical garden. Circling the Courtyard are exhibit rooms that feature plants from all over the world. There is also a pond with varieties of tropical water lilies to relax and enjoy.
The main exhibit room houses orchids, bromeliads, and other tropical varieties of flowers and plants in a tropical rainforest environment. The room is for the epiphyte plants that exist by growing on other plants.
The Robert and Helen Kleberg Desert Pavilion features plants from Mexico and Southern Africa. Plants that have the special ability to store water and ration its own usage of water, grow in this room.
The Gretchen Northrup Tropical Conservatory features tropical plants that must fight for light by growing tall with large leaves. The cocoa, coffee, and rubber trees can be found in this room. There are also varieties of climbing plants, vines, and tropical flowering plants.
The Palm and Cycad Pavilion house ancient varieties of plants from the stone age. Palms, Queen Sago, Lata Palm, and Coconut Palm, are all grown in this exhibit room.
The last of the exhibit rooms in the Lucille Halsell Conservatory is the Fern Grotto. This room houses what are considered one of the oldest varieties of plant in the world, ferns.
Texas Native Trail
This eleven- acre trail pays homage to the various regions of Texas. Over 250 plant species grow in the Texas Native Trail with the Hill Country, East Texas Pineywoods, and South Texas regions all being represented in this unique setting. Adding to the authenticity is several early Texas houses on the property that add to the regional flair and history. Even the soil for each region is brought in to provide optimal growth and life for the plants and trees. The Hill Country representational region is home to live oaks, juniper, mountain laurel, crabapples, maples, and other limestone tolerant plants. Over on the Pineywoods section you can find pine trees, sassafras, sweet gum and acidic soil loving species grow vibrantly. The South Texas region of the Texas Native Trail grows dryland trees, and thorny bushes, as well as olive trees, and ebony.
This beautiful section of the Botanical Garden may change frequently and be different every time visitors patronize the attraction as the plants are changed seasonally to add variety to the garden. Flowers will fun, vibrant colors are chosen for the four formal display beds.
There are several species specific themed gardens on display as well. Older flowers are found in the Old Fashioned Garden while roses of every species and color imaginable are always in bloom in the Rose garden. There is a Japanese Garden with items donated from the San Antonio sister city Kumamoto Japan, and a sensory garden where you can touch and get up close and personal with many varieties of exotic and native Texas plants and flowers. Visitors can relax in the shade garden where there is plenty of seating to rest your feet, experience a calm tranquility in the Sacred garden, and be lost in the desert in the Cactus Garden. These are just a few of the beautiful gardens on display in the San Antonio Botanical Garden.
The Children’s Vegetable Garden is a fun place for families to go and learn about horticulture, organic growing, and simple gardening techniques that they can use at home! This garden is educational and affords children a hands on learning experience in planting and the proper ways of making something grow.
Water Saver Garden and Water Saver Lane
Adults that want to learn how to garden, but see the task as daunting and water wasting are welcome to experience an educational adventure at Water Saver Garden where staff teaches classes on low cost, water and energy saving irrigation systems. Visitors can learn about different Texas soil types, specific to the region you live in and be taught useful gardening tips to help your plants thrive. This is not for Texas native patrons only however. Many people from all over the world enjoy this area of the garden for its dedication to conservation and education on co-operative gardening and water saving techniques that are put to good use in places that do not suffer from drought as well.
After the class, visitors can head down Water Saver Lane where there are six separate texas log cabins built with different landscape designs that represent different soil regions. This is to give an idea of what you can achieve at home using the tips and tricks taught in class. There is even one cabin that shows you what NOT to plant and demonstrates how these plants, no matter how pretty, do not thrive in the Texas environment.
The Botanical Garden offers more than just plants and flowers for guests to enjoy. The entrance to the gardens is designed around the Daniel J. Sullivan carriage house. This structure was used as a horse stable and carriage house in 1896 and was moved stone by stone onto the gardens to serve as a grand entrance in 1995 after it was donated and disassembled in 1987. Inside the carriage house is the gift shop and a restaurant that preserves the antiquity of the home.
The Auld home, an 1880’s pine wood log cabin is thought to be the largest in Texas and is made out of large trunked logs from archaic pinon trees that had been around since the ice age. The home now sits in the Texas Native Trail, proudly representing Texas heritage and ancestry.
The Schumacher home was a limestone, German homestead built in 1849 in Fredericksburg Texas. The three room home was built with limestone, oak and red clay. The home was brought to the Botanical Garden in pieces and had to be reassembled on site, earning a preservation award in 2006.
The East Texas log cabin and outbuilding are part of the Pineywoods section of the Native Texas Trail. No record of the original builder exists, but the one room home, with remnants of a loft, a barn, smokehouse, and well head, were each well preserved and moved to the garden from Fayette County.
The South Texas Adobe also rests in the Texas Native trail in the south Texas area. Built in 1880, this house was reassembled using wood over 100 years old, leaving sections in the wall opening so that visitors can see and learn about the different building techniques used to design this palisade house with a split shake roof. These types of houses are made out of mostly cedar and sun baked mud, any further north, rainfall would cause the home to melt.
The bird watch structure is an important part of the Botanical Garden because you can witness up to 650 different species of migratory birds, as well as native Texas birds, passing through this area. The Rio Grande is along the flight path for birds from Mexico and you can often see some of them from the Bird Watch Structure. This special place is relatively new to the Botanical Garden, being built in 2010. The space is set up as an observatory with cooling fans and benches for resting visitors, portholes and windows for viewing the hundreds of birds outside. Sunflowers and Salvia decorate the landscape, attracting birds that enjoy sweet nectar such as, humming birds, Painted Bunting, White-throated sparrows, and the Purple Martin.
The San Antonio Botanical Gardens offers many fun, onetime events throughout the year to attract new visitors and cater to frequent Patrons. Family Flashlight night, astronomy clubs, dog training clubs, Viva botanica!, Spring Gala’s, and the new addition of Story Book Playhouses for kids, has drawn large crowds and helped fundraise to continue the Garden’s legacy. Visitors can also participate in different camps for children and adults, yoga, and tai chi classes that all take place on the grounds.
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555 Funston PL San Antonio, TX 78209, Phone: 210-536-1400
Attraction Spotlight: The Alamo
The history of The Alamo dates all the way back to the early 1700s when Father Antonio de San Buenaventura y Olivares started the Texas Mission work. The present day location of the mission was built in 1724 with the goal of, not only converting Native American Tribes to Catholicism, but converting them to the Spanish way of life also.
Native American Tribes were taught agriculture, weaving, raising livestock, stone work, blacksmith, and carpentry in hopes of starting a growing population loyal to Spain and without the influence of France. The mission ended in 1793 when disease reduced the native population and the land was handed over to local government.
For the next century, The Alamo in San Antonio was used as a military outpost. It was at The Alamo that the famous battle of 1836 occurred during the Texas revolution. General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna marched through the winter to San Antonio where the rebels fled across the river to the Alamo. Many men, women, and children, were killed in the final battle when the Mexico army, unaware that Texas had declared its independence, rushed the Alamo, killing the 200 defenders as they slept just before dawn. Santa Anna troops claimed, repaired and occupied the Alamo until May 1836 when they were ordered to withdraw and destroy the Alamo. They knocked down several of the walls in an attempt to make repair difficult for the Texans.
In the early 20th century, after a century of various military use, what was left of The Alamo was turned into a memorial for those who died in the legendary battle of 1836. A gift shop and park were built near the grounds as well. In 1960, John Wayne starred in a movie about the epic battle, and The Alamo gained much attention once again leading to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas opening a museum at The Alamo is 1968. This museum still stands and is visited by hundreds of tourists daily.
The Church or Shrine is the most widely recognized structure of the Alamo. Built to be used in the Spanish Missions, the church has also been the depot warehouse for the army, and is now the memorial to the 200 fallen Texas Rebels from the battle of 1836, called the Shrine.
Campo Santo, once bordered by walls, was first designed as a cemetery when the grounds were used during the Spanish Missions. Many of the converted Native American people were buried here. When the US Army occupied the Alamo however, the grounds were turned into part of the Alamo Plaza and used as street space in front of the church. The cemetery was paved in 1935 with flagstone and a lawn was created.
Long Barrack was originally built to be a two story living quarters for the Spanish Missionaries. This building was also where the epic last stand took place in 1836 when the Texan Rebels retreated to this building against the Santa Anna army. The Barrack has since undergone many changes, being used in various ways by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and incorporated into the Hugo Schmeltzer Store
Gift shop, often mistaken as being part of the original Alamo, was built as a museum in 1937 as one of nine centennial buildings honoring the 100th anniversary of Texas independence. The museum held many artifacts of historical importance until the Daughters of the Republic of Texas decided to convert it into a souvenir shop to fund their mission work. Today the building, completely renovated in 2012, houses the Alamo Gift Shop.
Alamo Hall was built in 1922 and served as a fire house. In 1937, the structure was deeded to the State of Texas and the DRT (Daughters of the Republic of Texas) decided to remove the second floor and use the building for whatever needs arose. Today, the space is available to rent for a variety of different occasions. Rentals are currently not being accepted however until all of the various renovation and preservation projects are completed.
The Arcade was built in the early 1930s as part of a beautifying project to put people to work by the Works Projects Administration.
Alamo Research Center, the former DRT library, opened in 1950 and still houses the DRT’s collection of books, documents and photographs dating back to early Texas, particularly San Antonio. The building is not open to the public, but can be used for research by appointment only.
The Battlefield Tour is the first thing visitors should do when coming to the Alamo. This guided tour takes you on the path of the epic battle of 1836, showing you the original fort and plaza, and discusses the history of The Alamo. Visitors are also taken to the place on the North wall where Colonel Travis spent his final moments, and where the legend, David Crockett fought. The tour is one hour long and recommended for ages 13 and up.
The VIP Tour is the perfect small group experience. A guide takes your 5 to 20 -person group through the buildings and grounds of The Alamo, giving a detailed history lesson. Tours must be booked at least one week in advance and are not available during summer months.
After Hours Tour is a unique experience for a group of at least 20. After the last visitors leave, your group is taken through the Shrine and The Long Barracks by a history interpreter. The tour is one hour long and must be booked at least one week in advance.
The Phil Collins Collection was donated by the music legend himself in 2014. The collection consists of Alamo and Texarkana artifacts that Collins spend a lifetime collecting. He donated weapons, relics, documents and many other historical objects that he had bought, and even discovered himself, to the Texas General Land Office. The hundreds of items in their entirety will soon be on display in a museum that is currently under construction.
Many events are hosted at the Alamo year after year drawing huge crowds of visitors from all over the world. The events range from ceremonial to educational and are for all ages.
First Saturday at The Alamo is a special day where, on the first Saturday of every month, visitors get free admission and are able to partake in an interactive history event that depicts what life was like in Texas as far back as the mission days. History comes alive with live firing events using black powder, costuming, and more.
Battle Anniversary/Dusk at the Alamo is a ceremonial, two- week long celebration and memorial of the battle of 1836. From February 23rd through March 6th, every year, different events are held daily. The event concludes with the lighting of the funeral pyres of the Alamo soldiers, just as General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna did in 1937.
Fourth of July at the Alamo features a live reading of the Declaration of Independence with plenty of fireworks and activities for the public to enjoy.
Fall at the Alamo is held on the second Saturday of October every year since 1998. This event is a period craft show set up entirely by volunteers. There is a specific theme every year as well.
History Talks are lecture groups held every day that occur throughout the day and are 20 minutes long. Each present discusses something about the history surrounding the Alamo and these lectures are free with admission.
San Antonio Founders Day is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Held on the third Saturday of October every year, many historical groups come to the ground of the Alamo to create an event commemorating the history of Texas and San Antonio.
Summer Camp at The Alamo is a fantastic opportunity for children ages 9-13 to become immersed in history, meet new friends, and learn what it was like to live in the 1830s and 1840s Texas. Kids participate is soldier school, period cooking, period crafting, fire starting, and period games and toys.
Crockett Fiddler Fest has been held for three consecutive years in march and is a day filled with fun and music. Local musicians come out to play western swing, bluegrass, and old time country, and food trucks from all over Texas set up along the Crockett Street.
There are very strict rules ones must adhere to in order to be granted admission to The Alamo. Visitors should familiarize themselves with these rules before going so as not to be surprised.
Men cannot wear hats inside the shrine.
No food, beverage, or open containers are allowed in any of the buildings.
Photography, camera, or cell phone use is not allowed inside the buildings.
Unless marked for interactive content, no touching displays or walls of the Shrine.
No animals unless Service animals.
NO obscene language or clothing will be tolerated.
One must speak in a low voice.
No bikes, or skateboard.
No unauthorized weapons, state issue carry license required to carry a weapon.
Back to: Best Things to Do in San Antonio, TX.
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, Texas 78205, Phone: 210-225-1391