San Antonio with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

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San Antonio with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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The city of San Antonio, Texas is one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S. This urbane and vibrant Southwestern city is well known for its must-see attractions that include the Alamo, historic Spanish Missions, the River Walk, SeaWorld and the NBA Spurs. While these are all great places to visit with kids, tweens and teens, San Antonio has much more to offer. Why not take a day to enjoy the itinerary below for an unforgettably fun family vacation in San Antonio with tweens.




Morning

No trip to San Antonio is complete without feasting on authentic Mexican cuisine. Why not try some for breakfast? Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery first opened in 1941 and is still serving the current generation of customers in its original location, Market Square. Browse the extensive breakfast menu and you'll have to decide between the tempting breakfast tacos (the "barbacoa mexicana" is really good), the local favorite of "huevos rancheros," or the "chilaquiles famosos" (eggs scrambled with tortilla strips, topped with cheese and salsa and served with beans and your choice of meat).

If you are in the mood for something lighter, the bakery has an amazing array of "panes dulces" (sweet breads) that are irresistible. It may take forever for your tweens to choose just one, but try it with a cup of tasty Mexican hot chocolate for the perfect chilly day antidote. Your tweens might not be happy about getting there early to avoid the crowd, but the menu and a head start on all the things to do in San Antonio on this list will win them over. The restaurant is open 24 hours and serves breakfast all day.

Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery, 2118 Produce Row, San Antonio, TX 78207-4554, 210-225-1263.

Once breakfast is over it's time to work off those calories. Head to the outskirts of San Antonio to the Natural Bridge Caverns. Take the guided Discovery Tour and learn about the history of these huge underground caves. You'll descend more than 180 feet below the ground as you and your tweens view the spectacular stalagmites, speleothems, flowstones and more. After the guided tour, your kids can pan for treasures at the Mining Company's sluice, and you can browse the gems in the Rock Shop.

But that's not the end of the fun at this San Antonio attraction. One of the coolest family vacation ideas is a trip on the Watchtower Challenge zip lines. Once strapped in, riders glide more than 350 feet at speeds up to 25mph. It's a rush that you and your kids will never forget! Call for seasonal hours of operation.

The caverns open at 9AM and ticket prices for the Discovery Tour are $17.95 for ages 12 and up and $9.95 for ages 3-11. You can purchase tickets from their website and save a few bucks. Bring a camera as you will definitely want to take pictures. The walk on this tour can get steep, so be sure you're wearing comfortable shoes.

Natural Bridge Caverns, 26495 Natural Bridge Caverns Road, San Antonio, TX 78266, 210-651-6101.

Afternoon
After that adventurous morning in San Antonio, your tweens are going to be hungry. What kid doesn't like to lick their fingers with a tasty lunch? Texas barbecue is finger-lickin' good and practically the state's official meal. Gather up your tweens and head to Rudy's Country Store and BBQ for some of the best barbecue around.

The menu includes brisket, chicken and beef, as well as yummy sandwiches. The sausage is always a favorite. There is a nice selection of sides available, but be sure to try the creamed corn, as even picky kids love it. They'll want to save room for dessert, with peach cobbler or buttermilk pie on the menu. Prices are very reasonable with most items under $6.00.

Rudy's Country Store and BBQ, 10623 Westover Hills (Hwy 151), San Antonio, TX 78251, 210-698-2141.

After lunch, the drive back into downtown San Antonio will give you a chance to digest that great BBQ before you have to take a good hard look in the mirror. Where? At the Ultimate Mirror Maze Challenge of course! Let your kids run rampant through a maze made out of thousands of mirrors. Join your tweens and challenge them to see who can navigate the hallways and rooms to reach the end first. Try the laser beam challenge, and let your child get their spy on as they maneuver their bodies through a field of lasers without touching any of them, all while being timed.

Your maze adventure may win cheers as one of your best family vacation ideas in San Antonio. Check their website for seasonal hours and coupons. Tickets are $9.99 per person for an all-day pass.

Ultimate Mirror Maze Challenge, 217 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205-2625, 210-224-2288.

By late afternoon you're likely to be thinking about something a little slower and maybe something that is all about sitting down. The iconic River Walk (http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com) is one of the top things to do in San Antonio and usually mobbed. But the best way for your family to enjoy this unique attraction is to see it from the water, not on foot.

Hop aboard a boat and set sail for a 40-minute, informative and fun cruise offered by Rio San Antonio Cruises. Enjoy knowledgeable guides on the 2.5 mile journey as they regale you with the fascinating history of the river. Don't worry about the kids getting bored during the boat ride as there is plenty to see along the way.

Make your reservations ahead of time and buy the tickets online. You can also purchase tickets at the River Walk, but if it's crowded you may have to wait. Ticket prices are $8.25 for ages 6 and up, $2 for ages 1-5 and $6 for seniors and military. They are open daily from 9AM-9PM.

Rio San Antonio Cruises, 200 South Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78205, 210-222-9929

Evening

During the cruise your eagle-eyed tweens may have spotted places they want to visit. So take a little time to walk along the river and enjoy all that the River Walk has to offer. This is the perfect venue to stroll along as you people-watch, window-shop and just soak up the unique San Antonio culture.

This is also a great place to enjoy a memorable family dinner. There are restaurants located all along the walk, including the Hard Rock Cafe, Joe's Crab Shack, seafood restaurant Pescas On The River or The Rainforest Cafe. No matter which restaurant you choose, everyone member of the family will enjoy dining along the river.

Before you head back to your hotel, it's time for one last bit of fun to round out the day; your family vacation in San Antonio with tweens can't end before you head over to Malibu Castle. Your tweens will love challenging you to a family tournament in miniature golf, revving their engines with a speedy go-kart race, demolishing a sibling or you with the water cannon on their bumper boat, or trying to hit one out of the park in the batting cages. There is also a large state-of-the-art game room that can keep them entertained until well after bedtime.

Games and attractions are priced separately. Malibu Castle opens daily at 11AM (noon on Sunday) and closes at 9PM Sunday to Thursday and 11PM Friday and Saturday.

Malibu Castle, 3330 Cherry Ridge Drive, San Antonio, TX 78230, 210-341-6663

A family vacation in San Antonio with tweens need not be a challenge as the city offers plenty of things to do that appeal to everyone in the family. And with this day in your itinerary, your tweens just might consider San Antonio as the best family vacation ever.


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