On March 6, 1836, 189 Texan and Tejano heroes held the Alamo for 13 days before being overtaken by 1,000 men from Mexico’s army. According to legend, General William Travis drew a line in the sand and asked the defenders to step forward if they intended to stay and fight. All but one stepped over the line. These men were ready to sacrifice their lives to defend their individual freedoms. Today the Battle of the Alamo still symbolizes the courage to fight for liberty.
More than 2.5 million people a year visit the site to relive this famous battle. The Alamo (San Antonio de Valero) is one of five Catholic missions established by the Spanish Church in the 18th century to extend its reach north into Texas. The Church converted local Native Americans to Catholicism and supported vocational training, education and economic enterprise, and formed the foundation for the city of San Antonio.
San Antonio’s tumultuous past looms large with many historical buildings and amazing period architecture. But there’s another side to San Antonio. Families are in for a wild ride at theme and water parks in town. And sports fans can get their basketball, baseball and golf fix right here, too.
For history buffs…• San Fernando Cathedral. Used by Mexican General Santa Anna as a lookout, this cathedral was important to the city’s development and still holds services today.
• Spanish Governor’s Palace. Built in 1749, this national historic landmark, named San Antonio’s most beautiful building by the National Geographic Society, was home to officials of the Spanish Province of Texas.
• Market Square. Market Square preserves the culture and history of Mexico with live entertainment, festivals, Tex-Mex restaurants, a thriving market and shops selling Mexican crafts.
• La Villita. San Antonio’s first neighbourhood is located on the shore of the San Antonio River. Take a stroll through the restored village to find art galleries, craft shops, top-notch restaurants and clothing stores.
For families…• Sea World San Antonio. Meet world-famous orca Shamu, make the Journey to Atlantis, visit RL Stine’s Haunted Lighthouse and exhibits of sharks, dolphins, seals and sea lions. Beluga whale shows and performances by Pacific white-sided dolphins are offered at night.
• Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort. Seventeen waterslides, a surfing machine, and three uphill water coaster “blasters” keep the kids happily occupied.
• Green Acres Golf & Games. This amusement park has two 18-hole miniature golf courses, go karts, a paintball field, bumper boats, and batting cages.
• Morgan’s Wonderland. A wheelchair accessible amusement park that serves individuals with special needs and their friends and families. The park includes a carousel, Butterfly Playground, Treasure Island Playground, Off-Road Adventure, Sensory Village, Fishing Wharf, Garden Sanctuary and train.
• San Antonio Zoo and Aquarium. The nation’s third-largest zoo, ranked Top 10 Best Zoos for Kids by Parents magazine. The Africa Live 2 exhibit features the tallest aviary in North America with African wild dogs, mongooses, an okapi “forest giraffe”, leaping colobus monkeys and birds.
• Natural Bridge Caverns. “Soda straw” stalactites, waves of “cave ribbon” and hanging “chandeliers” are some of the formations that can be seen north of San Antonio in this limestone cavern. Kids can test their climbing skills, fly through the air on a zip line or hike through the cavern on a guided tour.
For sports fans…• San Antonio Spurs. Come out and cheer for your favourite team at the AT&T Center, home of four-time NBA Champions, the San Antonio Spurs.
• San Antonio Missions. This AA-affiliate of the San Diego Padres plays home games at Nelson Wolff Station, west of downtown San Antonio.
• TPC San Antonio. TPC San Antonio boasts two world-class courses and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa. The courses were designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman and can accommodate all levels of players. Other golf courses in San Antonio include the Pecan Valley Golf Club and Brackenridge Park Golf Club.
• San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. Each February the world’s best cowboys thrill crowds as they challenge themselves to ride bucking broncos.