Dec 29 2009
As the weatherman predicted, it rained all day today, so we visited some of San Antonio’s museums.
First stop, the San Antonio Children’s Museum. With three floors in an old storefront downtown, there’s a lot to do here. I followed my youngest as she explored everything in the museum; the older kids discovered the ball-suction-tube area and would have stayed there all day if allowed. We got there right as the museum opened at 10 and it steadily filled up after that. In a couple of hours, we had done everything we wanted to do there. I was impressed by the number of staff and volunteers at the museum, especially in the store area. Children’s museums often have pretend stores, but this one was impressive in size, had a real scanning checkout, and had staff on hand to help put items back on the shelves. We spent a lot of time in that area.
It was still raining at lunchtime, so we headed across the street to the Buckhorn Saloon. Here we had decent burgers and chicken fingers, although the “affordable” prices that were advertised were not bargains. Kids’ meals were $5.99 and included a burger/chicken strips/grilled cheese, fries, and drink. Hubby and I split a 1/2 lb burger with fries for $8.49. It wasn’t outrageous, but cost more than we’d expected.
Son #2 really wanted to go to the combination Buckhorn/Texas Rangers Museum, but at $20 for adults and $14 for kids 3+, it would have been spendy even with the $1/ticket discount for eating in the cafe. (It would have cost even more than Ripley’s, believe it or not!)
Instead, we went to the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures in Hemisfair Park. We had a coupon, so it cost us about $32 to get in, and it was very interesting. Although there weren’t a lot of hands-on activities for the kids, there were lots of pictures as well as various homes set up throughout the museum. The kids liked the film that is shown hourly in the central rotunda; we were there long enough to see it twice. Most interesting about this museum was the number of cultures that are represented in Texas today. I learned a lot by reading the exhibit boards and could have spent a lot more time there.
Last stop was the Witte Museum. We have a reciprocal membership that we had planned to use, and I had read that the museum was open late on Tuesdays. I had neglected, however, to notice that it’s free from 3-8 on Tuesdays, so when we arrived at 2:50 people were lining up for free admission. Free admission=crowds, so we made a beeline for the H-E-B (is that pronounced H. E. B. or “heb”?) Treehouse area. This is a four-story interactive science area for kids. After spending some time there, we walked back through the regular part of the museum, but in one gallery the combination of dim lighting, keeping track of the kids, and the crowds had me near panic stage so we headed for fresh air. (Strangely, Hubby had been feeling the same kind of light-headedness in that area.)
We hit the road back to the hotel at 4:00 and were surprised at the lack of traffic congestion on the San Antonio highways. Are they better designed than Minnesota’s, or is it because of the holiday week? We haven’t had any real traffic or navigation problems in San Antonio.
We’re eating leftover pizza tonight in the room. (I sent my brother pics of last night’s pizza and it wasn’t my imagination. He called it “one of the ugliest pizzas I’ve ever seen” and “embarrassing.” So if you’re going to eat Pizza Hut pizza, I might shy away from San Antonio and try one in North Dakota instead. At least it wasn’t my imagination that it wasn’t the quality we’re accustomed to.
Kids are watching PBS and we’ll try for early bedtime again tonight. After four nights in the same hotel, we have to pack up everything and move on tomorrow. The rain is supposed to move through and tomorrow should be warmer again.
We’re on the home stretch now–a few more days of fun and then we start heading north again. I hope you’re enjoying following our journey.