adventures,  Travel

Visiting San Antonio: The Rainy Day Tourist Edition

When we woke up on our first  morning of our spring break visit to San Antonio, it was to a steady rain – not the best for sightseeing, to be honest. Looking over the checklist of things everyone wanted to see and do, we quickly decided that it would be a good day for silliness and exploration, indoors.

After a workout in the hotel gym by the menfolk, and a lazy breakfast we headed out to the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum and the Texas Ranger museum. I honestly didn’t know what to expect, and if you told me “tons of taxidermy” I might have rolled my eyes, but it turned out to be a great place to start the day. (It is probably also the only museum that you can pick up a margarita or a huge glass of beer on your way in. A bit too early for us to partake, but the option was popular for those we encountered closer to lunchtime.)

Miss M encounters a wild boar.


The Buckhorn Saloon actually has a lot of history connected to it. It is where Teddy Roosevelt himself recruited Rough Riders, and where Pancho Villa was rumored to have planned the Mexican Revolution. It is a treasure trove of over 500 species of animals from around the world, with a fun shooting gallery (my 9-year-old proved himself the sharpest shot) and a collection of oddities and curiosities and fun. (My kids thoroughly enjoyed the optical illusion room that made one tall and one small).

We were impressed with the size of the rack on this Irish Elk.
We were impressed with the size of the rack on this Irish Elk.

Connected to the Buckhorn is the Texas Ranger Museum. The Texas Rangers have a long and proud history here in Texas, and a story that admittedly I don’t have much knowledge of outside of the film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, but my curiosity is piqued now and I’ll be looking for some books to expand my limited knowledge.

The Saloon is a working one, and we stopped to have lunch before continuing on. I opted to sample the Firehouse #4 ale to go with my chili and grilled cheese. It was tasty but a 22 oz glass was a struggle at midday. Thankfully the Hubs was there to help me finish it.


The next stop on our itinerary was the Guinness World Records. Along with displays both static and interactive was the chance to test your stuff at breaking a record. (The World Record for drum beats in a minute was over 1000; Boo won our attempt at 533 while I turned in a pitiful 503.)


Along with cup stacking, playing-card house building and the like, Miss M took a shot at loudest scream. A nifty 73 decibels confirmed what we knew: she is loud.

See, it’s official!

With the rain drawing to an end, the next stop was the Louis Tussaud Wax Museum, 4D Movie and Ripley’s Believe it or Not Auditorium. The 4D movie was a quick but fun 12 minutes of a wild mouse grand prix (complete with water in the face from an upset homeowner’s water bottle) and a crazy downhill race with two snowmen (and a surprised abominable snowman) and there may or may not have been snowflakes in the theater! Big fun, and perfect for those who like amusement rides (even though we never left the room.)

The wax museum was small but covered characters from movies and television, sports, military, storybook characters…even the Passion of the Christ.

I sat and had a chat with Oprah. This was in her thinner period, obviously

Miss M posed with Michael Jackson, knowing he was a personal favorite of her good friend Alfie, and discovered that both she and the King of Pop share an affinity for sequins and glitter.
Boo, on the other hand, stopped to have a chat with Barack Obama, who seemed to not have a lot to say.

We rounded out the afternoon with Ripley’s Believe it or Not Auditorium, which had three floors of odd and weird exhibits (like shrunken heads, a model of the world’s tallest man,and even the world’s largest Tire).


Boo and the Hubs bailed, claiming fatigue (alleviated by gelato found down the street) while Miss M and I continued to explore the museum. We particularly enjoyed all the optical illusions and brain twisters, stumbled our way through the spinning vortex tunnel (very cool) and with that, joined the boys for our own scoop of gelato before heading back to the hotel for a rest before dinner.

While San Antonio has a fabulous selection of restaurants, particularly Tex-Mex, in celebration of Miss M’s birthday she chose the restaurant: Rainforest Cafe – always a treat for the kids.

As we walked back to the hotel, we stopped to pet a few of the horses that were drawing carriages around the city, and a light mist began to fall. I promised Miss M that if we didn’t squeeze in a horse-drawn carriage ride on this trip, we would on the next, because we were learning that there was far too much to see and do on one visit.

All in all, it was a pretty nice day in the rain.

*Visit San Antonio thoughtfully provided me  VIP passes for the venues we visited today, but all thoughts and comments are my own.



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