Despite its status as one of the largest cities in America, low-slung, low-key San Antonio is all about enjoying life with the familia. Our list of the best things to do with kids in San Antonio starts with the city’s historic must-stops, the River Walk and the Pearl neighborhood, but San Antonio isn’t shy about the theme parks, either, including local outposts of SeaWorld and Six Flags. Yes, South Texas is toasty in spring, summer, and fall, but the locals are pros at cooling off with AC-chilled indoor activities like bowling and lots of splash at local water parks. Fill out your family time with a meal at some of the best restaurants in San Antonio and a rest at one of our favorite, affordable hotels.
RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in San Antonio
Best things to do in San Antonio with kids
Think of the DoSeum as San Antonio’s extra-active children’s museum for kids from infants to 10 years old. Its landmark teaching exhibits focus on science, tech, engineering, art, and math. Check out this list of highlights and just try not to find something your kid would adore: a puppet parade, a musical staircase, Baxter the interactive robot, an ADA-accessible treehouse, a 39,000-square-foot outdoor play area, and a spy academy that encourages problem-solving with math.
With atmospheric stone bridges, restaurant patios, bright umbrellas, and floating mariachi bands, the 15-some miles of San Antonio’s iconic River Walk make for a unique, happy memory that will stand out in your kids’ minds. The River Walk is stroller-friendly, but for ambulatory toddlers and up, be aware that the one thing the entire River Walk doesn’t necessarily have is guardrails between path and water. Make it relaxing, cooling, and fun to cover a longer distance with kids by taking a boat cruise.
In this big, bright, festive space, Chef Johnny Hernandez makes custom-made burgers with traditional Mexican ingredients like mole negro and pickled red onions. Burgerteca’s also got a kids’ menu and fun snacks like Mexican ice cream, frozen popsicles (paletas), and shaved ice (raspas). Kids will love the giant Day of the Dead folk-art figure outside the door, too!
Founded by a teacher and botanist, the Witte is a little museum jewel for families that focuses on science, natural history, and Texas heritage. With live tarantulas, tortoises, and other creatures to watch in the EcoLab, and hands-on activities in the health-and-wellness-inspiring H-E-B Body Lab, the Witte is a nice, cool place to while away a hot afternoon.
This restored brewery complex along the river now hosts a regular farmers’ market, fun retail shops, a Culinary Institute of America campus (with all the cheffy restaurants you’d expect!), and a public green space that welcomes families and dogs. Kids can play in the Parkito and splash in Gustav’s Geysers at Pearl Park. Adults can enjoy outdoor yoga or live music at the Amphitheatre, or kick back with a family picnic at the plaza.
Being warm so much of the year, San Antonio offers hospitable growing conditions for tropical plants and beyond, and this lush 38-acre garden capitalizes on it. The garden’s recent expansion includes the Family Adventure Garden, a 2.5-acre play and learning space that includes play-around hits like Tumble Hill, Muhly Maze, and No Name Creek.
San Antonio’s outpost of the national amusement park chain is Mexican fiesta-themed, with more than 50 rides that start with the Kiddee Coaster and ratchet up to Fireball, Pandemonium, and Spinsanity. Get a nowhere-else thrill: the new Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster is the world’s first single-rail roller coaster.
If you’ve got a family of bowlers, San Antonio offers a couple fun alleys that (you’re welcome, grown-ups) also serve from stellar menus. The boutique, upscale Bowl & Barrel has 15 lanes, giant pretzels, hot fried quail, and housemade cotton candy. Now that’s how you roll. There’s also Bowlero, featuring 48 lanes, a ropes course, and bites like hot turkey sliders and sweet potato tots.
Morgan’s Wonderland, which calls itself the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park, recently added a special splash park as well. Morgan’s Inspiration Island features a jungly riverboat adventure ride and five wheelchair-accessible water play areas, complete with all the fun stuff: pools, geysers, jets, rain trees, waterfalls, water cannons, and tipping buckets. This theme park is ideal if you have kids with special needs, or if you want yours to be comfortable and compassionate with those who do, or if you yourself like to watch dreams come true.