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10 Family-Friendly Attractions To Explore in San Antonio

January 27, 2024
Doseum in San Antonio

San Antonio is an ideal destination for families, offering a mix of history, outdoor activities, and plenty of kid-approved attractions. The city is home to an award-winning zoo, the River Walk, which you can explore on foot or by boat, and tons of outdoor activities. And you can always visit the iconic Alamo to step back in time and learn about Texas history.

The city also has several parks and gardens for your family to explore wide open spaces. There’s even an inclusive theme park, Morgan’s Wonderland, featuring attractions that kids of every ability can enjoy. When it gets too hot, just head to the splash pads or indoor experiences like the Witte Museum. 

As you can tell, there’s a lot to do in San Antonio for families. As a Texan, I’ve scouted out the best family-friendly places to visit when you go — here are the ones you can’t miss.

1. The San Antonio Zoo

San Antonio Zoo Feeding

One of the most popular family attractions in San Antonio is the San Antonio Zoo. Not only does it have thousands of animals across 56 acres, but it also has one of the oldest children’s amusement parks in the nation.

The Kiddie Park has a variety of rides for children ages 1-12. Plus, there are no weight or height restrictions, so adults can also ride along, like the old-fashioned hard-caved Herschell Spillman carousel. 

The zoo, renowned for its conservation efforts, has tons of attractions and exhibits. It also offers close-up animal encounters, like feeding flamingos or the giraffes named Cosmo, Alan, and Brayden.

2. The Alamo

The Alamo, one of San Antonio’s most famous missions, might be the state’s most famous attraction. 

This World Heritage Site offers hands-on demonstrations of daily life at the time of the Texas Revolution, like artillery talks and live musket firings. Kids will also love to see the replica of the Alamo built entirely out of Lego bricks. If you want to learn more about the Alamo’s fascinating history, join the Historic Downtown San Antonio Food and Culture Tour. Not only will you learn about its role in the state’s revolution, but you’ll also sample the Tex-Mex food, traditions, and culture of today.

3. The River Walk

Spanning about 15 miles through the city, San Antonio’s River Walk is one of the most visited attractions in the city. The main drag features kid-friendly restaurants, like the jungle-theme Rainforest Cafe.

Located just a short distance from the River Walk, Hemisfair Park is a great place for kids to release pent-up energy. The park offers a range of amenities including a splash pad, a sandpit, a toddler play area, and a larger playground to explore.

4. San Antonio food tour

There’s so much to see and do at the River Walk that you risk missing something. Thankfully, we have local guides who can show you all the must-see locations and top restaurants frequented by the locals. Our Historic Downtown San Antonio Food and Culture Tour is a fantastic opportunity for families to see and taste the best of what this area has to offer.

Savor sweets at La Panadería, Texas brisket fries at The Esquire Tavern, and, of course, we’ll have tacos! The food is kid-friendly but packs big Texas flavor, and we think you’ll enjoy the guided visit to the San Antonio River Walk too.

5. The San Antonio Botanical Garden

If you’re the outdoorsy type or just like flowers, the San Antonio Botanical Garden is a perfect place to soak up the sun. Spread over 38 acres, this green space offers lots of learning and outdoor activities. During the morning and evening, you can book a family hike with a trained guide who will explain all the plants and creatures. 

Start at the welcome center to pick up a map and plan your next few hours. A family favorite is the Family Adventure Garden with 15 areas for kids to play. Let their imaginations run wild, and burn off some energy. 

Throughout the year, the garden also offers a variety of family activities, from storytelling in the garden and family photography workshops to exploratory hikes especially for those 5 and under to a children’s vegetable garden where your little ones get their hands dirty. 

6. Brackenridge Park

Credit: H. Michael Karshis / CC BY 2.0 DEED

Created in the late 1800s, Brackenridge Park has since grown to over 350 acres and is home to many of San Antonio’s top attractions. It’s easy to spend the entire afternoon exploring the zoo, the gardens, and the museums on site. 

A favorite stop is the Japanese Tea Garden. Blooming with flowers year-round, the ornamental garden is fun for the whole family. It features a 60-foot waterfall, a pond filled with koi fish, stone-covered bridges, and walking trails. 

7. The DoSeum children’s museum

Credit: The DoSeum

Considered one of San Antonio’s best children’s museums, The DoSeum offers great hands-on play exhibits, but all of these activities are designed with all learning in mind. 

With 68,000 square feet of exhibit space, the museum has plenty to explore. Favorites include child-sized grocery stores and cars. Older kids will love the Sensations Studio, where they can play DJ and mix their own audio tracks. 

The check-in desk also offers sensory-friendly backpack kits. In the backpack, you’ll find things like noise-canceling headphones, sunglasses, fidget toys, and a map of the sensory-friendly programming they offer. 

Local tip: The museum tends to get busy during school holidays and Free Family Nights on the first Friday of every month. School groups also usually visit The DoSeum during the week until 2:30 p.m. If your child needs a quieter environment, call ahead and see if any school groups are scheduled to visit.

8. Natural Bridge Caverns

Natural Bridge Caverns San Antonio
Credit: Lance L Lowry / CC BY 3.0 DEED

Discovered in 1960 by a group of college students, the Natural Bridge Caverns offers outdoor activities both underground and above the cave. Take the Discovery Tour to visit the largest cave in Texas. At 180 feet underground, you’ll see the beauty of the natural formations like stalagmites and stalactites illuminated by lights.

Or hop on the newly-opened Hidden Wonders Tour, which takes you deeper into the caves to see new chambers with a light and sound show. After the tour, you’ll ride on the belt-assisted transport, which takes you back up to the surface.

Above ground, they also have the only permanent outdoor maze in Texas. Visit the Mining Company, where you and your little one can pan for gems, fossils, and other treasures. Kids will also enjoy the ropes course. There’s even a toddler version called Tykes Zip Rail & Ropes Course where children under four feet can safely climb and zipline. 

Tip: Purchase your tickets in advance. Same-day tickets typically have a higher price. The earlier you buy, the more you save. 

9. Pearsall Park

Pearsall Park San Antonio

Save some time in your itinerary to explore the city’s largest park, Pearsall Park. Once a former landfill, the city transferred it into a 505-acre park, a great spot that has pretty much everything you’d want for a fun family outing. 

There’s a skatepark, basketball courts, and fitness equipment if you want to get a workout in. The park even sports a splash pad that’s split into two to avoid overcrowding

Pearsall Park’s biggest claim to fame is i’s playground, the largest in the city with features for all ages. From tall slides to jungle gyms and a ninja-style obstacle course.

There are also 20 picnic tables, so prepare a lunch beforehand to save some money to explore the rest that San Antonio has to offer.

10. The Witte Museum

Credit: Witte Museum / CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED

Located in Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum offers exhibits for all ages spreading over 174,000 square feet. You’ll learn all about the history, science, and culture of Texas. 

Family favorites include the H-E-B Body Adventure, an exhibit that focuses on the wellness and health of children. The newly-opened Explore Your World exhibit is an interactive hands-on experience for kids to explore quests across land, sea, and space. 

Do you have a dinosaur lover in your family? Visit the Naylor Family Dinosaur Gallery for its large collection of fossils and kid-friendly displays that transport to prehistoric times, all way back 110 million years.

11. Morgan’s Wonderland

Morgan's Wonderland
Credit: Nan Palmero / CC BY 2.0 DEED

No family visit to San Antonio is complete without a visit to Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first ultra-accessible family fun park. While the park was created with individuals with special needs in mind, it’s a blast for everyone. 

The 25-acre theme park offers an array of attractions such as a wheelchair-accessible carousel, a ferris wheel, a Wonderland Express train, and live entertainment. 

To cool off, head to Morgan’s Inspiration Island to enjoy five splash pads, a sensory-friendly River Boat Adventure ride, and waterproof wheelchairs. Hop aboard Pirate Ship Island, which includes a giant dumping water bucket on top, water cannons, and a double slide.

Thanks to the park’s non-profit, people with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities are allowed free admission to the park. Just mention it at the welcome center.

Lunch tip: Have a picnic! Outside food, beverages, and coolers are allowed inside Morgan’s Inspiration Island or you can also purchase food and drinks at the Rusty Anchor Gallery Grub on-site. 

Plan your San Antonio family trip

We hope our family-friendly guide to San Antonio gives you some of the top attractions and details you need to know to plan your trip to San Antonio. 

If you’re looking for something extra during your visit, be sure to check out one of our local San Antonio tours. We’d love to show you and your family around the city. Some of our favorites include the Pearl District and San Antonio Market Square.

Look forward to seeing you soon!