Summer Fun Out & About
Summer is now in full swing, mamas! We spend more time in our house (and backyard) during the summer, but we also love to get out and explore the city and surrounding areas. Yes, it’s definitely more crowded, but sometimes you have to get out and go on an adventure.
As I mentioned in my previous Summer Activities post, this is not a checklist for us, rather an idea bank to draw from when we hit a rut in the summer months. Some of these things are tried and true for us, and others, will be a brand new experience. Let’ dive in to the fun we can have outside the walls of our casa this summer.
Local Summer Activities
San Antonio Botanical Gardens
The San Antonio Botanical Garden is one of our very favorite places to go. It is beautifully designed and such a peaceful environment. Our favorite area is the Family Adventure Garden. The kids love to splash around in No Name Creek and put on pretend shows on the outdoor stage.
There are elements of sand to play with along with a walking trail to a view point. There’s so much to see and explore outside here.
Tips: Bring a wagon or stroller - there’s a lot of walking. We usually pack snacks or a picnic to eat while there. There’s a gift shop with snacks and drinks as well as Rosella At the Garden - a cafe that serves brunch, lunch and coffee. Bring sunscreen and wear a hat, too!
We love the DoSeum, which is our San Antonio children’s museum. As the girls get older, we find new things to explore while we’re there. We love to play in the creek, the sand and on all of the water tables outside. We have a newfound love of the playscape slide outside for my 5 year old.
We pack snacks and get by without a stroller these days. If you arrive early enough, parking is not a problem. There’s a cafe catered by Bakery Lorraine for yummy snack and lunch options, but sometimes we bring our own food. We’re a fan of the macaroons and usually share some before leaving.
The girls love the musical treehouse and the newly reopened ball room upstairs! It’s an adventure for kids (and adults) of all ages.
We ended up with free passes for the kiddos this summer thanks to a Sea World promotion online. We’ve never been before, and I’m gearing up to go! I’ve heard it’s quite the adventure, and we need to plan to be there for most of the day there.
I’m looking forward to exploring the park, catching a show and letting the kids cool off in the water area. Check their website for all the details, including: park hours, maps, events, and show times.
Morgan’s Wonderland is a little piece of heaven on earth. It’s called “The World’s First Ultra-Accessible Theme Park” - and how amazing that it’s in our city of San Antonio? This is a fun place for the whole family as it has been planned to accomodate people of all abilities.
We spent an entire day here last year, bouncing from the amusement park to the water park. The girls loved all of the rides and definitely had fun in all of the water features. There has been so much attention to detail put into this beautiful place!
TIps: Check the calendar for hours - they vary depending on which park you choose to go to. We paid for tickets for dual entry to both parks, which was pricey but worth an entire day of fun.
Molokai’z Adventure Island
We haven’t been here yet, but I’ve seen photos floating around social media, and it looks fun! This is brand new indoor playground in San Antonio where kids (and adults) of all ages can play. There are two separate play areas for the “small and tall” in a clean, indoor playground environment. Hello, air conditioning in a South Texas summer - yes, please!
Admission prices vary based on age, but adults get in for only $2 with child admission. We’re going to give it a go sometime later this summer and see how it goes! Don’t forget your socks - adults, too!
This is one of my favorite places in San Antonio! The Flower Vault features beautiful flower themed rooms where you take photos! I gave myself the gift of professional photos for Mother’s Day over a year ago at their very first San Antonio location. Since then, they’ve hosted a Christmas pop up and are just about to open the doors on new rooms in San Antonio.
The tickets are $15, but kids 10 and under get in free. Grab your camera, your kids and a free spirit for this fun experience. I promise the kids some sort of reward (bribery?) afterwards if we get some good smiles.
This is one of our favorite things to do in the summer! Our family loves a good movie theater experience, and several of the theaters in San Antonio (and across the U.S.) offer free or $1 movies! They’re usually new-ish movies - not too old - but also not the most recent box office releases.
The theaters list all the details: time, cost, movie title on their websites. We try to go early as seats are first come, first serve (except at Alamo Drafthouse). It’s definitely the place to be with small children, so no one cares too much about chatty and wandering toddlers.
Santikos Theaters: June 11-July 31 // 10 AM // Tuesdays & Wednesdays // FREE
Regal Summer Movie Express: June 11-July 24 // 10 AM //Tuesdays & Wedesdays // $1
Alamo Drafthouse Kids Camp: Dates & Times vary on website // Choose ticket price $1/$3/$5 and reserve a seat beforehand // 100% of sales donated to local non-profits
This seems simple enough, right? Most of the time our picnic are fly-by-the-seat of our pants and in a hurry. I mean most of our “picnics” consist of Chick-Fil-A at the park. I would love to plan a real deal picnic this summer for the family - you know, like picnic basket and all.
I’m thinking we’d try a new location rather than our normal park spots. I’d love to pack and plan a meal that everyone would enjoy eating together outside. We need to make sure we have some shade, or maybe at least just eat an early lunch before it gets too hot.
Fiesta Texas Fireworks
I have to credit my husband for this one! Fiesta Texas hosts a firework show every night in the summer. We’ve figured out a couple of different spots to watch the show without actually being inside Fiesta Texas! (My daughter is begging to visit Fiesta Texas, and we haven’t committed to that quite yet.)
We’ve watched from the parking lot of the La Cantera mall, and it’s so much fun! The only downside is how late the show starts - we’ve called in advance to ask for an estimated start time. We pulled up in the truck, sat on the back and enjoyed the show!
I haven’t always been a huge library fan - I mean, I LOVED it as a child, but taking my small children who want to pull every book off the shelf has proven stressful in the past. We recently ventured back into our local public library the other day and had a great time! The girls finally understand the concept and really enjoyed taking the time to pick out books.
San Antonio Public Libraries also offer free classes and events for kiddos throughout the year, including summer. Check their event calendar here - it’s easy to filter by library location - to see what’s available around you this summer. Now the trick is to remember to return our books on time!
Alamo City Moms Blog
The crew over at Alamo City Moms Blog has some great ideas for summer fun around San Antonio on the cheap. They also have a list of some favorite splash pads and water activities around town to help keep the whole family cool when temps skyrocket.
Day Trip Activities
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch
We call this experience the “drive through zoo” -which means perfect for summer heat! The Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch Safari experience is unique and fun. We try to go at least once a year - the admission prices are bit steeper than some other activities, but we end up spending a good amount of our day here. Check their website for FAQs, dates/times and pricing - weekday admission is a bit cheaper than the weekend.
Tips: Go early! We try to show up at the gate 10-15 minutes before opening to avoid long lines. The drive take about an hour and a half, then we usually grab a snack (or bring our own!) and hit up the petting zoo area and giraffes. There’s also a fun gift shop to explore, too. You can bring in your own food, just not to feed the animals.
Garner State Park
This is a place we went when I was younger, and I loved it! We haven’t made the almost two-hour trek to Garner State Park yet, but it’s on my to-do list at some point in the next few summers. Apparently, it’s a popular destination choice for lots of people in the summer. You can even reserve passes online days before, so you don’t end up getting shut out if the park reaches capacity.
This would be for sure be an all day excursion - you can even stay and camp if you like! From what I’ve read and heard, you need some sort of shade, tubes for floating and water shoes to fully enjoy hanging out in the Frio river all day. Not to mention, it’d be a great picnic destination!
Guadalupe State Park
This is another spot I’ve heard lots of buzz about. It’s a bit closer to San Antonio - maybe 30-40 minutes away and great little getaway spot for the day to splash in the river and explore nature. Guadalupe State Park offers hiking, camping, river fun and more. They have an air conditioned Discovery Center to learn more about the park as well as Junior Ranger programs starting at ages 6 and up - this leads kids on activities throughout the park to earn a Ranger badge.
This is another opportunity to grab some shade, tubes and water shoes and spend the day exploring outside. This may be our choice this year, since it’s a bit closer to home.
The beach is our happy place for sure, and thankfully, we’re not too far from the Texas coast and Port Aransas. Ideally, this would be longer than a day trip, but it’s also possible to head south to the sandy shore as a one-day trip from San Antonio.
If a day trip is in the books, pack your own food, start early and get ready to live out of your car for the day! It’s a fun adventure and a different kind of beach experience - you can actually drive your car on the beach. I’d recommend some sort of umbrella, tent or shade covering if you want to be there all day. You’ll need a beach parking permit, which you can find more info about here.
We love to venture into the town of Port Aransas, too. You’ll find your typical beach souvenir shops - you can even take a picture in the mouth of a giant shark in front of one of the stores. There’s Winton’s Island Candy, our favorite snow cone stand, Bron’s, our favorite lunch spot at Irie’s Island Food and finally, my favorite coffee stop, Coffee Waves. Coffee Waves also offers gelato and smoothies.
We definitely won’t be checking all of these off our summer list, but at least we’ve got somewhere to start! We’re planning for sure to hit up the movies, the DoSeum, the Botanical Garden and hopefully the beach at least one more time before August rolls around.
Happy summering, mamas! The days may be long and hot, but making memories with these kiddos can be so much fun.