San Antonio attracts visitors for many reasons.
There’s the history of the Alamo and the Spanish Missions, a great selection of Tex-Mex cuisine, lovely strolls along the River Walk or shopping in the Mexican marketplace at Market Square. But what if you’re traveling with your family, and how do you keep the kids amused?
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Is San Antonio good for kids?
From amusement parks to outdoor exploration, a family vacation in one of Texas’ most popular cities will be memorable for all ages.
The temperature remains fairly warm, humid, and sunny year-round, so a layer of sunscreen and a hat are wise. Many of San Antonio’s attractions are located near or along the famed River Walk, so prepare for lots of walking. Strollers and comfortable shoes are a good idea, as is lots of water.
Before your trip, be sure to check the San Antonio Visitor Alliance’s website for discounted tickets to a variety of popular attractions. You could chill out on a city boat tour or make the most of a unique, fully accessible theme park. Here are the best things to do with kids in San Antonio.
Enjoy a family cruise along the river in Downtown San Antonio © f11photo / Shutterstock
1. Take a boat cruise along the River Walk
See San Antonio in a whole new light with a River Walk boat cruise from GO RIO Cruises. After boarding the open-air boat, your captain will take you up and along the Downtown section of the San Antonio River and relay the history of the city, the river and the buildings you’ll see along the way. Sit back and relax with your family as you float along, passing under bridges and seeing the sights of one of the most beautiful cities in Texas.
Planning tip: Tickets for the GO RIO Cruises aren’t sailing-specific, so you can buy in advance and use them whenever you’d like. Boats depart every 15 minutes from the dock.
2. Meet the animals at San Antonio Zoo
One million guests visit the San Antonio Zoo each year to see over 750 species across 56 acres. You can walk throughout the whole zoo or pick and choose among your favorite areas like the Reptile House, Cat Grottos or the Savanna. The zoo’s “Behind-the-scenes” programs give visitors a chance to feed hippos, giraffes or flamingos.
Planning tip: The traditional fairground rides and amusements at Kiddie Park, which is run by the zoo, require a separate ticket.
3. Play and learn as a family at the DoSeum
The interactive and hands-on exhibits of the DoSeum will “wow” your children and perhaps inspire them to become scientists, explorers, writers and innovators. You’ll have a great time exploring 68,000 sq ft of exhibits that include everything from a Spy Academy to an Innovation Station where kids can build and create. By the time you leave, your family will have learned about force and motion, seen what it takes to build a story, practiced their digital literacy, and created things with their hands.
Planning tip: The DoSeum is closed on Tuesdays and open to members only for the first hour on Sundays.
Morgan’s Wonderland is a unique ultra-accessible theme park © Morgan’s Wonderland
4. Visit a truly inclusive theme park at Morgan’s Wonderland
San Antonio is home to Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park. The 25-acre theme park was designed as a place of inclusion for people of all abilities, their families and their allies. With over 25 attractions that are wheelchair accessible, the whole family can soar high on a Ferris wheel, ride a train, or hop on a carousel. Entertainment – such as puppet shows and fun characters that walk around the park – is especially loved by visitors. Other activities include a Butterfly Playground, a Sensory Village, and even an 8-acre lake with catch-and-release fishing. In the summer months, pack a swimsuit and make the most of the epic accessible waterpark at Morgan’s Inspiration Island.
Planning tip: Guests with special needs receive free admission, but your family does not need to include someone with special needs to visit. All are welcome! Separate tickets are needed to visit Morgan’s Inspiration Island.
5. Get interactive at San Antonio Aquarium
The San Antonio Aquarium is the go-to destination to learn about animals below and above the sea. Since 2014, the aquarium has encouraged children to experience the underwater world through interactive experiences, like snorkeling with sharks and stingrays. Kids will find plenty to marvel at as they walk through a rainforest full of reptiles, lemurs and birds, alongside tanks full of coral and fish. After exploring the San Antonio Aquarium, let the kids go wild in the on-site arcade or jump in a bounce house.
Planning tip: Admission is free to foster children with a form of state-issued identification.
6. Learn about Texas’ history at the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum
Yes, it may seem a bit odd that a saloon is on this list, but bear with us because The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is a family-friendly affair. In 1881, The Buckhorn Saloon opened in San Antonio, but in the last 140 years, it has since become more like a cabinet of curiosities full of Texas history. Start with a meal in the restaurant and let the kids admire the old-fashioned furnishings and walls covered in animal heads. Afterward, make your way to the two different on-site museums. In the Texas Rangers Museum, you’ll learn about the history of Texas’ historic law enforcement. The Buckhorn Museum features displays of unique items and animals from Texas and beyond. The whole family will have a grand time exploring the sideshow of oddities in this historic space.
Planning tip: Tickets include entry to both the Texas Rangers Museum and the Buckhorn Museum.
Kids will love an underground adventure at Natural Bridge Caverns © John Le / Shutterstock
7. Go on a day trip to Natural Bridge Caverns
Take the kids on an underground geological adventure at the Natural Bridge Caverns. Located on the outskirts of San Antonio, the Natural Bridge Caverns are the largest known commercial caverns in the US. Visit to see the 60ft limestone bridge at the cavern’s entrance (the cave’s namesake) before making your way 180ft below Earth to marvel at wondrous natural rock sculptures. Natural Bridge Caverns also has above-ground activities like a 5000-sq-ft maze and a 60-ft-high adventure ropes course. You can learn to mine and pan for gems and fossils here, too.
Planning tip: Tickets bought online in advance are discounted.
8. Get your thrills on the rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is the ultimate amusement park destination for a hit of adrenaline. It’s open year-round and has more than 60 high-thrill rides, including the Joker Carnival of Chaos, one of the tallest pendulum rides in the world, and the Dare Devil Dive Flying Machines, the world’s tallest ride of its kind. Families with smaller children will find rides suitable for every age.
Planning tip: Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit because admission to the amusement park includes entry to White Water Bay waterpark. Cool off after a morning of fun at Six Flags Fiesta Texas on the slides, rides, and in the Texas-shaped pool.
9. Hit the free playground at Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair
You don’t have to spend a lot of money in San Antonio to have a good time with the kids. Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair is free and fun for kids of all ages. This playground has adaptive play equipment for wheelchair users, as well as a Sandy Play space, swings, a climbing structure, and a splash pad. While the kids run and play, guardians can play foosball or cornhole in the shade.
10. Build something cool at Legoland Discovery Center
Let children discover a whole new tactile world with a visit to the Legoland Discovery Center in San Antonio. Explore a LEGO replica of San Antonio built with over 1.5 million bricks in the Miniland exhibit, or make your own creations alongside master builders. In addition to a two-story indoor LEGO playground, the family won’t want to miss a chance to experience the Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest rides.
Planning tip: Combo tickets are available with entry to the nearby aquarium.