10 Things to Do with Kids in San Antonio

by Paul Joseph  |  Published April 14, 2024

Best known for its rich Mexican colonial heritage, the Texan city of San Antonio is also a great destination for families, with tons to see and do for kids of all ages and tastes.

Vintage trains on display at the Texas Transportation Museum (Photo: Texas Transportation Museum)

The most visited city in Texas – and one of the largest in America – San Antonio’s Native American heritage extends all the way through to the Texas Revolution, making it a mecca for history buffs. But while children aren’t always necessarily enthralled by stories of centuries ago, the city still has plenty to offer little ones by way of adventure and entertainment. We’ve picked out 10 of the most unique ways to enjoy San Antonio with kids in tow.

Visit a family-friendly museum

It is the case that the almost universal fascination among children with trains does tend to wear off as they creep towards double figures, but if yours are still in that sweet spot of loving all things rail-related then the Texas Transportation Museum won’t disappoint. Located 10 miles north of downtown San Antonio, the museum has been attracting visitors in their droves since opening its doors back in 1964 with its vast collection of artefacts that provide insights into the evolution of transport in San Antonio. Among the exhibits are a still-operational, diesel-powered heritage train that invites people on board for an evocative ride down the track, plus several model train layouts and a collection of antique automobiles.

11731 Wetmore Road / Sat-Sun 9am-4pm Closed Mon-Fri

A museum created entirely for the entertainment of kids? Yours won’t stop thank you for introducing them to The DoSeum, an immersive museum designed to inspire and engage children through hands-on learning and play. Situated on the fringes of Mahncke Park, a couple of miles from downtown, the museum is packed full of exhibits and activity zones that will keep kids absorbed for hours. Learn how masters of espionage communicate information across digital platforms at the Spy Academy,  create and build products gleaned straight from your imagination at the Innovation Station, and learn important principles of physics at the Force Course. There’s also an on-site café for refreshments.

2800 Broadway / Mon & Weds-Fri 10am-5pm Sat 9am-5pm Sun 12pm-5pm Closed Tues

Explore a historic national park

If you’re visiting San Antonio with older children, it would be somewhat remiss to not encourage them to dip a toe into the city’s fascinating history. One of the best ways to do so is at the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the site of five frontier mission complexes situated along a stretch of the San Antonio River basin.  An officially designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the complexes – among which is the infamous Alamo, the site of the 1836 Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal event of the Texas Revolution – include architectural and archaeological structures, farmlands, residencies, churches, granaries and water distribution systems. The Missions can be visited independently, or as part of organised sightseeing tours of the city.

Mon-Sun 9am-5pm

You can book a guided tour of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park at Viator

Mission San José, part of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park (Photo: Arthur T. LaBar via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Ascend the city’s tallest building

If your kids aren’t sufficiently inspired by the panoramic views offered from the observation deck at the Tower of the Americas, then why not tempt them with the challenge of climbing its 952 steps to the top? Situated in the heart of downtown, the 750-foot tower became the city’s tallest building when it was constructed for the 1968 World’s Fair – and has remained so ever since. As well as the 360-degree vistas afforded at the summit, there’s also a bar and restaurant, plus a 4D theatre ride on ground level. And fear not, for those who’d prefer a less arduous journey to the top, there’s also the blessed sanctuary of an elevator to do all the leg-work for you.

739 East César E. Chávez Boulevard / Sun-Thurs 10am-10pm Fri-Sat 10am-11pm

A view from the bottom of the Tower of the Americas (Photo: Tadson Bussey via Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0 DEED)

Discover a vibrant arts centre

A great way to introduce your kids to art, Ruby City is a contemporary art centre dedicated to providing a space for San Antonio’s thriving creative community to experience works by both local and internationally acclaimed artists. Envisioned in 2007 by the late collector, philanthropist and artist Linda Pace, Ruby City presents works from the Linda Pace Foundation Collection of more than 1,400 paintings, sculptures, installations and video works. The new building, designed by renowned architect Sir David Adjaye OBE is part of a campus, which also includes Chris Park, a one-acre public green space named in memory of Pace’s son, and Studio, an auxiliary exhibition space which presents curated shows and programming throughout the year.

150 Camp Street / Thurs-Sun 10am-6pm Closed Mon-Weds

A view towards Ruby City over the river (Photo: Dror Baldinger)

If  you prefer to take in your art with a more piecemeal approach, La Villita Historic Arts Village invites you to dip in and out of galleries and craft stores at your leisure. A bustling arts community on the south bank of the San Antonio River, the area is positively humming with creative vibes, with endless opportunities to pick up gifts, souvenirs or mementos from your trip that reflect the rich and diverse culture that makes up the city. There are also plenty of restaurants and cafes to duck into for some restorative food and drink and provide the kids with some well-deserved artsy respite.

Location 418 Villita Street / Mon-Sat 10am-6pm Sun 11am-4pm

Spend a day at the zoo

The suggestion of a trip to the zoo is a sure-fire winner with kids – and in San Antonio visitors have one the finest anywhere in Texas at their disposal. Home to over 8,500 animals spanning 750 species, including several endangered and extinct, San Antonio Zoo is a great way for children to engage with the natural world at close quarters. Among the notable residents are monkeys, lions, flamingos, rhinos, jaguars, Amazonian birds, zebras and kangaroos, and there’s also a Reptile House featuring everything from snakes to turtles to lizards.

Brackenbridge Park, 3903 North St Mary’s Street / Mon-Sun 9am-5pm

You can book tickets for San Antonio Zoo at GetYourGuide

A resident rhinoceros at San Antonio Zoo (Photo: Marco Metzler via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Enter a cavernous natural wonder 

When three local students were looking around the vast, barren expanses of Texas Hill Country in 1960, little did they know they were about to unearth a truly unique natural marvel. The inquisitive trio had inadvertently stumbled upon what would become known as the Natural Bridge Caverns, named after the 60-foot natural limestone slab bridge that spans the entrance. Thought to be the largest known caverns anywhere in Texas, the site and its immediate surroundings quickly grew to become a popular attraction, with visitors today able to enjoy a variety of adventures ranging from underground cave tours to an enormous outdoor maze.

26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road / Mon-Fri 9am-4pm Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

You can book a tour of the Natural Bridge Caverns at GetYourGuide

Inside the Natural Bridge Caverns (Photo: Josh Grenier via Flickr / CC BY 2.0 DEED)

Let the kids loose at an adrenaline-fuelled theme park

There’s nothing quite like a day at an adventure park and San Antonio is home to one of the biggest and best in the region, the 200-acre Six Flags Fiesta. Packed full of rides, games, activities, performances and fireworks shows, the park has something for every age, taste and fear levels, from adrenaline-fuelled roller-coasters to more sedate rides for younger kids, as well as time-honoured favourites such as water rapids and a wave pool. Real thrill-seekers won’t want to miss the Krypton Coaste, a floorless coaster that makes you feel like Superman as you soar along the largest steel ride of its kind in the Southwest.

Sat 10.30am-8pm Sun 10.30am-6pm Closed Mon-Fri

Marvel at an array of exotic marine life

Another animal-themed attraction, the San Antonio outpost of the internationally acclaimed SeaWorld theme parks draws huge numbers of families every year. Located about a 20-minute drive west of downtown San Antonio, the park invites visitors young and old to immerse themselves in the wonders of the ocean. Highlights include up-close animal interactions, thrilling marine-themed rides and a busy programme of daily live shows. Next door to the park is also the hugely popular Aquatica San Antonio waterpark, with combo tickets available for both.

10500 SeaWorld Drive / Thurs-Fri & Sun 10.30am-6pm Sat 10.30am-7pm Closed Mon-Weds