5 Cool Things to do in San Antonio with kids (+ 10 Free Things To Do in San Antonio!)

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Disclosure:  Hotels.com asked me to share my ideas on free things to do in  San Antonio TX with kids.

Visiting San Antonio with kids? Lucky you. There are so many fun things to do in San Antonio for kids (and even better there are plenty of great things to do in San Antonio with kids that are free!). There are also a lot of San Antonio kid friendly hotels – some of the San Antonio hotels for families come with their own water parks! Check out our list of family things to do in San Antonio ranging from theme parks to urban parks! You definitely won’t be scrambling for what to do in San Antonio for kids.

San Antonio Kid Friendly Hotels

San Antonio definitely has a plentiful supply of hotels to suit every type of traveller and budget. You can find San Antonio hotels for families in downtown San Antonio, near River Walk, if you really want to be in the heart of things. For example, one of the boutique San Antonio hotels for families, Hotel Havana is full of retro Cuban charm which will enchant the grownups while also providing amenities like cots for kids.

In our opinion though, the best San Antonio hotels for families are located outside of downtown. Although these San Antonio kid friendly hotels are located in Texas Hill Country, these three resorts have plenty to keep families busy and happy.

girl on water slide
the best San Antonio hotels for families even have water parks on site

With a whole host of restaurants on site, as well, you may not even want to leave these San Antonio hotels for kids. You can have a vacation from your vacation if city sightseeing in San Antonio gets to be too much for you!

JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is conveniently located near the airport and has something for everyone, including a golf course, a spa and a a 6 acre water park. It has won numerous awards from prestigious organisations like USA Today and Conde Nast Traveler.

Another resort located in Texas hill country, La Cantera Resort and Spa is another luxury resort with golf courses, a spa and 5 pools. It won the Readers’ Choice Award from Conde Nast Traveler for best resort in Texas and the Southwest.

Similarly, Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa has golf and spa amenities and a 5 acre waterpark on site. Nearby, is the Hyatt Residence Club Wild Oak Ranch with similar facilities. These two hotels are some of the best hotels for kids in San Antonio.

5 Cool Things To Do in San Antonio With Kids

Thanks to a whole host of theme parks and water parks, you may run out of money before you run out of options of San Antonio attractions for kids. Other San Antonio things to do with kids include the San Antonio Zoo, the San Antonio Aquarium and several museums. The one museum that is highly recommended is the San Antonio kids museum, the DoSeum.

San Antonio Attractions for Kids: Theme Parks

The 200 acre Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme park has rides for all the family from little children’s rides to big thrill rides. And, there are 15+ water rides in the water park area. With all that excitement, Six Flags definitely counts among the most fun things to do in San Antonio with kids.

Alternatively, check out Seaworld and its water park, Aquatica. Enjoy the shows and the animal experiences AND get an adrenaline rush participating in the rides. There are 9 thrill rides and roller coasters at Seaworld with a QuickQueue option that lets you bypass any lines.

children on Rio Loco Water Ride
San Antonio kids activities include a Seaworld and its water park, Aquatica (Image credit: Sea World)

San Antonio Attractions for Kids: Water Parks

Want your water park fun pure and unadulterated? These two water parks are all about the wet rides.

Although technically outside of San Antonio, we had to include Schlitterbahn which has been consistently voted the best water park in the world. Schlitterbahn is a 70 acre waterpark with over a 100 rides and a resort complex on site too.

Smaller and better for younger children, Splashtown San Antonio is set on 20 acres and has about 50 rides and attractions.

San Antonio Attractions for Kids: The Zoo

One of the best things to do in San Antonio for kids, the San Antonio Zoo is located in Brackenridge Park, a public park covering 343 riverside acres in San Antonio. The Zoo itself is a very spacious 56 acres with hundreds of animals ranging from Caribbean flamingoes to African hippos. There is also a small aquarium at the San Antonio Zoo for marine life.

San Antonio Attractions For Kids: Aquarium

Another one of the family friendly things to do in San Antonio is the San Antonio Aquarium which holds thousands of species of water-loving animals, fish and birds. For little children, there is a sting ray touch tank and older adventurous spirits can even go snorkelling with sting rays. There are daily scheduled interactions with such animals as sloths, lemurs and kangaroos so that everything you see at the San Antonio Aquarium isn’t behind plate glass.

San Antonio Attractions for Kids: Museums

The San Antonio’s kids museum, The DoSeum, is highly regarded and has free entry in the evenings of the first Tuesday of each month.

Other fun kid friendly things to do in San Antonio include San Antonio’s museum for science and natural history, the Witte Museum which is affiliated with the Smithsonian. If you have a budding firefighter on your hands, do check out the San Antonio Fire Museum.

Locations: 

  • Six Flags Fiesta Park (17000 I-10 West 78257)
  • Seaworld (10500 Sea World Dr 78251)
  • Schlitterbahn ( 400 N Liberty Ave, New Braunfels TX 78130)
  • Splashtown (3600 North IH-35 78219)
  • San Antonio Zoo (3903 N St Marys St 78212)
  • San Antonio Aquarium (6320 Bandera Road 78238)
  • DoSeum (2800 Broadway St 78209)
  • Witte Museum (3801 Broadway 78209)
  • San Antonio Fire Museum (801 East Houston 78205)
The San Antonio Texas skyline
Even if you wind up emptying your wallet at the theme parks, there are still plenty of free things to do in San Antonio you can enjoy

10 Free Things to Do in San Antonio with Kids

Not all San Antonio kids activities need cost you many. You may be looking for more cost-effective San Antonio kids activities after visiting the theme parks which really can turn into a money pit. Here are suggestions for 10 fun free things to do in San Antonio with kids in tow.

Explore History

If you are investigating what to do in San Antonio for kids, the Alamo National Historic Landmark and Museum is a must-do.  The Alamo is a Roman Catholic mission established by the Spanish in 1744 which became a Spanish military fortress in 1793. During the Texas Revolution, the Battle of the Alamo in February-March 1836 lead to the brutal death of hundreds of Texan revolutionaries. Their martyrdom became a rallying cause which ultimately led to Texas securing its independence from Mexico in May of 1836.

The Alamo in San Antonio Texas
One of the must-do things to do in San Antonio Texas with kids is visit the historic Alamo — and bonus — it’s free!

Today, the Alamo is the most visited historical site in Texas with hundreds of thousands visitors a year.

The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is another of the free things to do in San Antonio Texas. This park runs for a 15 mile riverside trail and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Although the Alamo is the most famous of the San Antonio Missions, the four others are less crowded and also worth a visit.

NB! There is 2-3 miles separating each of the missions so that could be a long walk depending on the ages of the children in your family.
San Antonio Spanish mission
There’s history in the parks when you explore San Antonio for kids, such as this historic San Antonio Spanish mission

Locations:

      • The Alamo (300 Alamo Plaza 78205)
      • Mission Concepción (807 Mission Rd 78210)
      • Mission San José (6701 San Jose Dr 78124)
      • Mission San Juan (9101 Graf Rd 78214)
      • Mission Espada (10040 Espada Rd  78214)

 

Get Outside

With over 185 parks and green spaces, the provides plenty of free fun things to do in San Antonio that involve exploring outside.

Explore the 2.5 mile long River Walk which is full of stores, restaurants and artwork lining the San Antonio River.

NB: The beginning of the River Walk at Brackenridge Park is in the Pearl District which has a great farmer’s market and another one of the free things to do in San Antonio for kids – a splash pad area for children.
River walk in San Antonio Texas
Things to do in San Antonio TX include strolling the famous River Walk in San Antonio Texas

The Japanese Tea Garden is also located in Brackenridge Park on the site of a former mining quarry. The Japanese Tea Garden is a member of the US National Register of Historic Places. Similar to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, this garden is a beautiful place to explore with ponds, torii gates and a cafe.

The Phil Hardberger Park is a 311 acre park with walking and cycling trails, a nature center playgrounds and picnic areas.

The Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair has public art, playground, splash pad and food trucks.

Locations: 

  • River Walk (849 E. Commerce Street 78205)
  • Japanese Tea Garden (514 W. Commerce 78207)
  • Phil Hardberger Park (13203 Blanco Rd 78216)
  • Yanaguana Garden (434 S Alamo St 78205)

Enjoy Public Art

Free things to do in San Antonio TX include sever opportunities to enjoy public art.

San Pedro Creek Culture Park is a work in progress. When finished the San Pedro Creek Culture park will be an 11 acre public park that has public art and four miles of walking trails. Some of the park is already complete and ready for visitors to enjoy with a plaza and benches to enjoy the public art.

San Antonio has organised it’s public art, both from well-known traditional artists as well as contemporary street artists. The City of Antonio Department of Arts & Culture has a map of all the free public art in the city including paintings, mosaics and sculptures.

The Torch of Friendship statue in San Antonio Texas
Free things to do in San Antonio include checking out the city’s public art

In terms of street art, the San Antonio Street Art Initiative wants to create the “largest outdoor gallery in Texas”. Of course, they do. No one in Texas wants to create anything small.

Anyway, the project has started with blocks of great murals under the I-35 at St. Mary’s Street created by a whole collection of diverse artists.

The 3 block plaza that makes up the Market Square is a Mexican-style market. In addition to the specialty shops, there is also a farmer’s market.

Mexican Market Square in San Antonio TX
Pretend you are south of the border at Mexican Market Square, one of the cool free things to do in San Antonio

San Antonio: The Saga is a video art, light and music show about the city’s history that is projected onto the San Fernando Cathedral in the city’s Main Plaza. The multimedia show runs for free on Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. With open space for fidgety kids, this light show is one of the best kid friendly things to do in San Antonio

San Fernando Cathedral San Antonio Texas
Checking out the free light show projected onto the San Fernando Cathedral on the main plaza is a great way to enjoy San Antonio with kids

Locations:  

  • San Pedro Creek Culture Park (715 Camaron Street 78204)
  • Market Square (514 W. Commerce 78207)
  • San Antonio: The Saga (115 N. Main Avenue 78205)

Map of Recommended San Antonio Kids Activities

 

 

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San Antonio TX attractions for kids water slide
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San Antonio Attractions include the San Antonio River Walk
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