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The 11 best things to do with kids in San Antonio

All the best theme parks, zoos and museums offering family fun in San Antonio

James Wong
Written by
James Wong
Written by
Lynn Freehill-Maye
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As one of the biggest cities in the US, San Antonio is packed with awesome things to do for all the family; kids and adults alike. What we love most about it are the historic attractions that make learning fun: places like the Alamo that take youngsters on a journey to Texas’ past, and the nearby River Walk and Pearl neighborhood that bring them back up to modern speed. Then you have Six Flags, i.e. the Queen of all theme parks in the South.  Yes, South Texas may be toasty spring, summer and fall, but the locals sure are pros at cooling off in these times too. They’ll seek out AC-chilled indoor activities like bowling or lots of splash at local water parks, so nothing gets in the way of a swell time. We’ve plucked the best things to do with kids in the San Antonio area, so y’all can have a blast the whole year round.

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Best things to do in San Antonio with kids

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 Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster is the world’s first single-rail roller coaster.

If you fancy an artsy activity that's fun for kids and a little bit boozy for adults, head to Hopscotch. Since opening, the immersive art experience has drawn visitors who flock to get selfies with vibrant-yet-thoughtful displays from talented artists across a variety of mediums. Not to spoil the surprise, but expect plenty of mindboggling optical illusions and ample neon lights. A full-service bar is at the entrance if you’d rather just let the kids head down to play, and many of the exhibits are themed to diversity and inclusion—proving that love is love in Texas, too.

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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.

Robert Ripley wandered the world collecting unusual, odd, and eccentric items, and they can all be admired at Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in San Antonio. With three floors and 500 exhibits, the odditorium houses Ripley’s unusual finds and astounds all who enter. Also on-site is Louis Tussaud’s Wax Works Museum, where you can take selfies with your favorite celebrities and royalty. Finally, hit up Ripley’s Believe It Or Not 4D Moving Theater for a wild ride on a motion simulator.

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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 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.

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.

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The San Antonio Zoo can trace its history to 1914 when Colonel George W. Brackenridge deeded land full of monkeys, lions, bears, and buffalo over to the city. Today, families descend upon the San Antonio Zoo to see 750 species of animals on 56 acres. So, grab the kids and charge your phone—you’ll want to take photos of one of the largest bird collections in the world, hippos, and crocodiles underwater, lions frolicking in Big Cat Valley, and an up-close shot when you feed the giraffes.

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 Body Lab, the Witte is a nice, cool place to while away a hot afternoon.

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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!

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.

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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.

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