Plan a Fun-Filled Getaway to San Antonio, Texas
Runice, Jacky, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Jacky Runice Daily Herald Correspondent
What do more than 600,000 annual convention delegates know about San Antonio, Texas, that you don't? For starters, they recognize that it's one of the most enchanting, delicious, historical, inclusive and cultural cities on the planet. I now know that San Antonio is one outstanding town for a family vacation.
If New Orleans is wrought iron and cool jazz, San Antonio is branding irons, hot salsa and a playful naughtiness that kids will love. The eighth largest city in the United States, San Antonio is about halfway between the East and West coasts (do I hear "family reunion site"?). It offers the museums, culture, sports and theme parks of big-city life as well as the deep history, architecture, festivals, cuisine and characteristic pride of Texas.
Most kids think they hate history until they're standing in the middle of it. Oh, they'll remember the Alamo all right, if you preface your visit with some reading about those 13 fateful days in 1836 when 189 defenders held the old mission against 4,000 Mexican troops. It's surprising to realize that this shrine to heroism is smack dab in the middle of downtown San Antonio.
Consider taking younger kids to "Texas Adventure," a multimedia story with holographic visions of Daniel Boone explaining Texas independence. It's right across the street from the Alamo. "Alamo ... the Price of Freedom," shown on six-story screens at the IMAX theater, is better for older kids and adults who might even shed a tear about the mission. History buffs might want to visit any of the four other Spanish missions that form the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, a short drive from downtown.
Don't assume ducking into one of San Antonio's museums is merely a respite from the summer heat. If you say, "Kids, we're going to the Institute of Texas Cultures," expect blank stares. Instead, tell them they're going to explore how their particular ancestors settled and embellished Texas, and ultimately, American culture. What a revelation to realize that Texans are Africans, Chinese, Norwegian, Polish, Greek and 22 other ethnic and cultural groups who are depicted through innovative displays and interpretive areas. The annual Texas Folklife Festival, Aug. 5-8, features food, entertainment, crafts, dance and stories of more than 40 different ethnic and cultural groups, ((210) 458-2300). …