Just a few minutes northeast of San Antonio lies a geological wonder that attracts tourists from around the globe. Natural Bridge Caverns, designated both a U.S. Natural Landmark as well as a Texas Historic Site, contains some of the most phenomenal cave formations in the country. Giant stalactites resembling enormous chandeliers and stalagmites that look like fried eggs are just a few of the more than 10,000 formations contained within this living cave. Special rates are available for groups of 25 or more.
Originally the Mission San Antonio de Valero, the Alamo is by far the most famous historical site in Texas, playing a significant role in Texas' quest for independence from Mexico. Under the command of Col. William Travis, 189 Texan soldiers bravely defended this fort for 13 days before finally succumbing to Santa Anna's massive Mexican army in early 1836. The chapel and the Long Barrack are all that remains of the fort. Saved from civilian apathy by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, the mission is now a museum containing relics from the era. Narrated tours are available.
Situated along the San Antonio River and next to Brackenridge Park, this zoo is considered one of the finest in America, housing more than 3500 animals representing more than 700 species. The recently renovated big cat exhibit draws big crowds, as does the bird collection, which is one of the largest in the United States. Allow time for wandering around and exploring everything this zoo has to offer. San Antonio Zoo offers weekly educational programs and is also available for private events.
For lovers of history, architecture and antiques, this home is a must-see. Built in 1876, this three-story, French Second Empire-style home belonged to prominent citizen Edward Steves. The interior is decorated with original pieces from the era. Incidentally, the one-story River House behind the home housed the first indoor swimming pool in the city. Since 1954, the San Antonio Conservation Society has maintained the homestead as a historic house museum.
This former home of Jose Antonio Navarro is now one of the best gems of the city's history. Navarro was a prominent rancher and statesman and was one of only two native Texans of Mexican nationality to sign Texas' declaration of independence from Mexico. Built in 1848, the home was preserved by the San Antonio Conservation Society and now operates as a small museum conducting informative, interactive tours. Special activities are available for children as well.
The Spanish Governor's Palace is the "most beautiful building" in the city according to the National Geographic Society. This national historic landmark was originally the official residence of the Governor of the Spanish Province of Texas in the late 18th Century. Visiting the building is like taking a step back in time; it is replete with period furnishings, small rooms with low ceilings, and thick stucco walls. The cobblestone patio features beautiful foliage and a fountain. Most noteworthy is the original keystone over the entrance, which bears the carved, double-headed eagle from the Hapsburg coat of arms along with an inscription, in Spanish, reading "finished in 1749."
The Southtown Art District is a unique cultural neighborhood in downtown San Antonio which has helped keep the performing and visual arts alive in the form of concerts, exhibitions and other events that are arranged all year around. A melting pot of races, nationalities, cuisines and more, this area is one that can't afford to be missed. Live music, food festivals and walks are a regular occurrence so check out the website for more on what this cultural precinct has to offer visitors.
Open 365-days a year, Confluence Park is the place to be if you want to breathe in some fresh air while in San Antonio. Take a self-guided tour which lasts up to an hour if you want to experience the best of everything that this park has to offer. Situated on the banks of San Antonio River, Confluence Park also plays host to weddings and a wide range of other events throughout the year. A visit to this park is a must if you want to learn about the environment and ecology of the region. With environmental education being prime ambition, this park offers various educational programs to students and various NGOs regarding how can they together preserve natural resources and the ecology of the region.