We enjoyed our last beach vacation, but I have to admit, it was a little stressful with Papito, our active, daredevil toddler. From sunburns to airport meltdowns to trying to find diapers on an island in the middle of the night, by the end of the week we needed a vacation from our vacation! As I like to say, you don’t really take “vacations” when you have kids; you take “trips.”
So, like us, if you opted out of travel plans for Spring Break this year, staycations are a great way to relax and do a little family bonding while still having fun—not to mention that staycations are also much easier on the pocketbook than family “trips”!
Here are some ideas for planning your family staycation in the Alamo City:
Splurge. By skipping the travel costs you can still splurge on a staycation without breaking the bank. Consider a night or two at the very family-friendly JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. Plenty of family-friendly activities here, including a lagoon-like pool area, water slides, a lazy river, and a kid’s pool. If you want to sneak away for some time at the full-service spa, the hotel provides various recreation and nature programs for all ages and even a “Kids’ Night Out” for kids ages four and up. (For a more in-depth look at one of our contributor’s staycations at the JW Marriott, click here.) Our local theme parks are also always a hit. Six Flags Fiesta Texas will be open 10:30 A.M.–8:00 P.M. Monday–Thursday and 10:30 A.M.–9:00 P.M. on weekends, with daily ticket prices ranging from $47.99–$67.99. SeaWorld San Antonio offers extended hours and nightly fireworks during Spring Break and $37–$67 daily admission; multi-day discounts are available.
Save. For a lower cost, theme-park feel, Morgan’s Wonderland, a 25-acre North Side park, will be open through March 15. It has unlimited rides designed for special-needs children, but they can be enjoyed by anyone and everyone. Papito is crazy about this place, especially the carousel and mini-cars. Morgan’s Wonderland is open from 9:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. on weekdays during Spring Break, 10:00 A.M.–5:00 P.M. on Saturday, and 11:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M. on Sunday, with $11–$17 daily admission.
San Antonio Parks & Recreation offers tons of camps and children’s activities throughout the city for free or low cost—check out the selection here. Papito loves exploring the trails and playing on the playground at O.P. Schnabel Park. Go early to catch locals feeding the deer.
When Papito gets older I can’t wait to spend a day biking the missions with him.
How about using your staycation to explore different museums on their “free” nights? Check out the Witte Museum on Tuesdays from 3:00–8:00 P.M.; the McNay Museum on Thursdays from 4:00–9:00 P.M.; and the San Antonio Museum of Art on Tuesdays from 4:00–9:00 P.M. Admission to the San Antonio Children’s Museum is not free during Spring Break this year, but don’t forget parking is free downtown on Tuesdays.
Plan a day trip. San Antonio has so many spots where families can spend the better part of a day. The San Antonio Zoo is Exhibit A. (Be sure to check out the brand new Kronkosky Tiny Tot Nature Spot!)
But road trips are fun too, especially in small doses. This is a great time of year to check out Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, a 400-acre, safari-style experience with more than 500 exotic animals, because the animals are more active in the cooler weather. In the New Braunfels area, the Animal World and Snake Farm (formerly known as the Snake Farm) has been renovated and expanded over the past five years. Far from the sketchy, dark, dank snake and lizard cave I remember growing up, today it’s a very clean, educational, “up close and personal” zoo-like experience featuring more than 500 animals of all shapes and sizes.
Reconnect with your significant other. Spring Break is a time when everyone deserves a little R & R from the daily grind, including parents. And let’s face it: when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself and your partner some downtime. Turn off the electronics. Consider hiring a housekeeper. Book a babysitter. A friend of mine organizes a “babysitting bank” with her friends and family during Spring Break. Genius.
And if you have a little time left over, consider an extended overnight date. In my opinion, downtown San Antonio is still one of the most romantic places anywhere. I love San Antonio’s intimate boutique hotels like Hotel Havana, an elegant, quiet little spot on the North Riverwalk with 27 unique Spanish colonial-style rooms. Hotel Havana houses Ocho, a sexy, candlelit restaurant lounge with a sumptuous menu, and is right across the street from the Tobin Center if you want to catch a show. Or, if you want to venture out into downtown, try Carmens de la Calle, a newly reopened tapas bar on North Flores that offers nightly live music and flamenco. In the morning the hotel can arrange an in-room massage, and don’t you dare miss the room service banana bread French toast for breakfast!
Here’s to wishing you and your family a wonderful Spring Break this year. Happy San Antonio Staycationing!