By: Carole Terwilliger Meyers
April 7, 2021
Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.
If your family has plans to remember the Alamo soon, rest assured San Antonio is a super family-friendly city well beyond the iconic Franciscan Mission. You’ll want to plan a stroll along the famous River Walk, hit a theme park, make friends with some local animals, and check out all the other top attractions San Antonio has to offer. Check out this list of the best things to do with families in San Antonio and get ready to enjoy some extra-special fun times together.
SeaWorld San Antonio
Said to be the nation’s largest marine life park, SeaWorld San Antonio stands out for its nighttime animal shows and fireworks (get your advance tickets here). The Texas Stingray offers a thrilling ride on the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster in the state, while lower-key animal encounters provide the chance to get up close to dolphins, penguins, and sea lions. Next door’s (and with separate admission) Aquatica water park cools things off with plenty of wet fun.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
You’ll find everything at Six Flags Fiesta Texas from The Grand Carousel, with its colorful saddled-up horses as well as zebras, rabbits, and lions is perfect for little ones, to the 17 stories-high Joker Carnival of Chaos, one of the world’s tallest pendulum rides that is sure to thrill daring teens and adults. In warm weather, water rides are available, too, at the included White Water Bay section of the park. Book your Six Flags tickets in advance right here.
Morgan’s Wonderland and Morgan’s Inspiration Island
The first theme park in the world designed to accommodate special-needs individuals of all ages and abilities, this family theme park provides fun for everyone. Everything in the park is wheelchair accessible, and that includes a seesaw and Ferris wheel, and the carousel features chariots custom-designed so that riders in wheelchairs go up and down like everyone else. All this, plus free admission for children who are special needs. Located adjacent to Morgan’s Wonderland and with separate admission, Morgan’s Inspiration Island splash park offers adapted water attractions.
The area referred to as Pearl is centered around a complex that was home to the Pearl Brewery from 1883 to 2001. Among the businesses housed today within the brewery’s historic buildings is a family-friendly food court providing a variety of casual dining options, with seating both inside and out. Though any day is a good day to visit, Sundays in summer are particularly popular with locals who come to enjoy a meal while kids frolic on an expansive green lawn and on a cooling water-feature splash pad. Also inside the historic brewery is Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, where parents can get a full-service meal and kids can make their own hot pretzel while they wait.
San Antonio Zoo
Everyone in the family will get excited to participate in a behind-the-scenes interaction with one of their favorite animals—think rhinos, hippos, tortoises and more—but allow time to visit the San Antonio Zoo’s newish “Wild Australia” area with its aviary filled with Australian birds and Roo Walkabout. The San Antonio Zoo Eagle zoo train has been making the rounds of Brackenridge Park since 1956. Stops include the Witte Museum and the Japanese Tea Gardens. Kiddie Park, an area landmark dating back to 1925 and is said to be the oldest kiddie ride amusement park in the country, is now also part of the zoo. Old-time rides are designed for small children from age 4 to 8 years and include a classic hand-carved carousel, flying saucers, and a Ferris wheel. Pony rides, face painting, and an updated arcade with carnival games provide even more fun. Get your skip-the-line San Antonio Zoo tickets here.
Situated on the banks of the San Antonio River, this natural history museum focuses on the cultural history of the region and illuminates the state’s history from prehistoric times to the present. It was founded in 1926, expanded in 2017, and is now San Antonio’s largest museum. Kids especially enjoy the interactive science exhibits and dinosaur skeletons. Allow some time before or after to romp around in Brackenridge Park.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
Visitors to this Texas-style African safari park use their own car as a safari-mobile to explore the 4-mile route. A booklet helps visitors identify animals. Some particularly friendly ones, like ostriches and emus, often come right up to the car window. After the drive, park your car and take in the ranch’s Walk-A-Bout section, where you can visit the giraffe barn, check out the ring-tailed lemurs on Lemur Island and mingle with free-roaming peacocks.