One of the key activities here for both tourists and locals is to get out and explore the San Antonio River Walk. This 15 mile long path system has a lot to offer including a vibrant downtown scene with many shopping, eating and drinking opportunities, access to museums and art, gardens and the zoo, quiet sections of river walking for birding and exercise, plus access to several historical missions. In the four days we've been here every day has been spent exploring a different section of the River Walk.
The San Antonio River has been manipulated and abused for decades. In 1929 developers first began to consider cleaning it up and making it a park-like oasis through the city. The latest beautification efforts commenced in 1998 and continue today. San Antonio can be proud of its river now. Even though it will never flow as nature intended, it now provides a beautiful ribbon of park through the center of town and a man-made nature preserve through the edges of town.
The day we arrived, Sunday of Presidents Weekend, we braved the downtown crowds so we could go to the visitor center...which happened to be across the street from The Alamo and close to the bustling downtown portion of the River Walk.
|It was impossible to get a shot of the Alamo without lots of people in it!
|I didn't even bother to take a photo of the busy part of the River Walk...we hustled right through it because it was so crowded!
As soon as we walked North of the downtown hub, the River Walk turned into a calm oasis in the middle of the city.
|This charming area has seating tiers on one side of the river and a stage on the other side.
What a neat venue for music!
On our second day in San Antonio we walked a portion of the River Walk right from our campground to the Mission Concepcion, about five miles round trip.
|You can see a couple of RV's from our park on the left, backing up to the River Walk.
|We spotted new-to-us birds,including this Egyptian Goose.
It's a non native bird that does not compete with native birds.
|Turtles enjoy random rays of sunlight on a cold day.
|Mission Concepcion was built in the early 1700's and is still used for church services.
|Though the river no longer flows a natural course due to man's decades of intervention, the most recent rejuvenation projects include riffles and weirs and other efforts to bring back a natural environment for wildlife...and it's working!
On another very cold morning we joined Travel Bug Susan and her friend Susan on the River Walk from Mission San Jose to Mission San Juan and back.
|At Mission San Juan there is a section of the San Antonio River that has never been manipulated by man
(it's so small in its natural state!) you can see it behind Susan, Hans and Travel Bug Susan.
|Mission San Juan
|Ibis and Egret along the river.
|Mission San Jose was beautifully preserved.
|The Indian converts were housed in small rooms built in to the Mission compound walls.
|Mission San Jose chapel.
Another day we strolled through Brackenridge Park at the North end of the River Walk and when the connecting trail to the Pearl District turned out to be under construction, we drove to Pearl and resumed our walk along the Museum Reach section of River Walk.
Brackenridge Park is a huge multipurpose park that includes picnic areas, sports fields, the San Antonio Zoo, museums, a Japanese Tea Garden, and an outdoor theater.
|The Japanese Tea Garden was a hidden gem!
In 1917 this former rock quarry was turned into a park and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Here is a close up of the pagoda.
Moving on to the Pearl and Museum Reach portions of the River Walk we enjoyed some art along the trail. The Pearl District is currently in the midst of several massive construction projects. It was easy to see that this neighborhood was well on its way to being the hip, happening spot for urban living. We enjoyed a tasty, healthy lunch at Green Vegetarian Cuisine.
|Love the fish hanging under the bridge! They light up at night!
|You can find tiny art pieces all along the trail...this is only a few inches tall.
We've been fortunate to land in San Antonio at the same time as Eric and Brittany of RV Wanderlust...though for them it's a repair stop for their beloved motorhome, Meriwether. We met up with these two over Maars Pizza, including pizza with brisket (we are in Texas, you know!). It was great fun getting to know them and we just might meet up again as we both head to Austin.