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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.
One of the city's largest parks, Brackenridge offers more family fun than one day can accommodate. Start with the musical carousel featuring 60 antique horses. Then try the Skyride, which consists of Swiss manufactured cable cars that lift visitors to enjoy the view of the park as well as the city skyline. If ground transportation is more your speed, opt for a ride on the miniature train that runs through a 3.5-mile (5.6-kilometer) stretch of the park. For water travel, cruise around the upper part of the San Antonio River in paddle boats. Other facilities include a municipal golf course, a driving range, bike trails and picnic areas.
In 1915, the city requested a Japanese immigrant and his wife to transform an old rock quarry into a Japanese-styled garden, and a man named Mr. Kimi Eizo Jingu agreed to the task. He started with a rock house, which still stands today and is surrounded by winding pebble walkways, stone bridges, a waterfall and tranquil pools. His work transformed the old rock quarry into a garden filled with lily ponds and lush green vegetation. With the onset of World War II and the growing anti-Japanese sentiment that surrounded it, the city council changed the garden's name to "Chinese Sunken Garden." In 1983, the original name was finally restored.
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.
The Woodlawn Lake Park is a scenic park that has great recreational facilities as well. Established in 1918, it features a huge man-made lake, gym, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pool, lighthouse, sport fields, picnic tables, playground and restrooms. This 62 acres (25.09 hectares) greenery also has a 1.3 mile (2.09 kilometers) walking trail and is a popular fishing and canoeing spot. It is indeed one of the oldest and best of its kind in the neighborhood.