While there's plenty of grown-up entertainment along the River Walk, figuring out what to do in San Antonio with kids can be challenging. Here's a list of tried-and-true kids' attractions, plus a few offbeat options.
SeaWorld San Antonio
Kids will love the "One Ocean" show, in which killer whales leap and spin amid fountains as symphonic music plays in the background. The "Azul" show brings together dancing dolphins, chirping beluga whales and costumed humans. And there's plenty of other entertainment in addition to the marine life. At the lorikeet feeding station, kids can hand-feed colorful parrots -- and sometimes the birds will even land on the kids' heads. For non-animal-related fun, try the Steel Eel, a roller coaster that starts with a 15-story drop.
Morgan's Wonderland is a family fun park that's designed for kids with special needs, but just about any kid would enjoy this 25-acre complex. Many of the rides, including the Off-Road Adventure ride and the Wonderland Express train, can accommodate wheelchairs. The events center and gym can be used for volleyball, basketball, and even tennis. The Sensory Village is a safe indoor environment that provides stimulation through lights, color, and sound. It includes a pretend television station, where kids can see themselves on TV.
Many adults are actually surprised by how small the Alamo is, but for kids, the stories make it larger than life. Knowledgeable guides give brief presentations about the building and the battle that made it famous every 30 minutes. The historic building practically comes to life as you hear the tale of how a few brave Texans, including David Crockett and James Bowie, tried to defend the Alamo from the Mexican army.
Natural Bridge Caverns
It's always a little cooler underground, making Natural Bridge Caverns an excellent destination for a hot summer day. Located 30 miles northwest of downtown San Antonio, the caves are full of sparkling walls, bizarre rock formations and massive chambers with ceilings covered in still-growing stalactites. Older kids may want to try the Adventure Tour, which winds through an undeveloped part of the cave.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Combining a traditional amusement park with a water park, Six Flags Fiesta Texas promises a full day of nonstop fun for the kiddos. The Gully Washer is the best of both worlds, providing a thrilling whitewater ride while cooling off the whole family. For pure thrills, it's hard to beat The Rattler, a classic wooden roller coaster with high-speed drops, dips, and turns. The wee ones will enjoy the "Bugs Bunny and Friends" show, where they can get a hug from one of their favorite characters.
San Antonio Zoo
Get the kids' attention immediately by taking them to see the okapi, a freaky animal that looks like a cross between a zebra and a giraffe. At the Lory Landing, you can feed these colorful, mid-size parrots by hand. Buy a cup of nectar, and the bird will sit on your hand as it sips the tasty beverage. In the Africa Live exhibit, kids can come face to face with a hippo through a thick glass window. For more unusual animals, head to the Amazonia exhibit, which features pointy-nosed giant anteaters. Spider monkeys swing through the trees overhead in the Amazonia area and entertain the crowd with their antics.
At San Antonio's Magik Theater, they turn popular kids' books into professionally produced stage plays. Parents will appreciate the fact that each show comes with a study guide. Kids will like it just because it's fun to see the characters from their favorite books come to life. Regularly performed plays include "Disney's Aladdin" and "Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly."
Every kid loves bubbles, but how about a bubble that's big enough to stand in? At the museum's Hill Country Bubble Ranch, your child can be completely enveloped in a head-to-toe bubble. It's a fun way to learn about the science behind bubbles. In PowerBall Hall, kids can become part of a life-sized pinball machine, using air jets, flippers and pulleys to move balls through a maze.
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
Explore oddities from around the world and then head to the wax museum next door to be creeped out by lifelike recreations of historical figures and celebrities. Some kids may find portions of the Odditorium and the wax museum a little scary, but it's mostly good bizarre fun.
Malibu Grand Prix San Antonio
From go-karts to batting cages to video games, Malibu Grand Prix is great preventive medicine for the dreaded boredom disease. Aspiring golfers can try their hands at putt-putt, while more adventurous types can slam into each other in bumper boats.