Indoor Adventures, Outdoor Adventures

Tower of the Americas Tall Enough?

The Tower of the Americas, San Antonio

Overall Rating: 7     Good for: All Ages     Time Spent: 1 hour

9218995349_ccd2e63a68_bYes. The Tower of the Americas is most definitely tall enough to get the job done. In fact, it’s probably tall enough to get pretty much any job done. Not the prettiest building ever, The Tower was completed in the 1960’s and hasn’t really changed much since. (Aside from elevator upgrades, I’m sure.)

I visited The Tower with my “Little Sister,” who is not-afraid-of-heights way more than I’m not-afraid-of-heights. Even then, the tallness of the whole thing didn’t really bother me. The way the observation deck is set up, it’s way harder than you might think to look directly down, which makes your trip up there feel more airplane and less Scream from Six Flags. (That’s the Tower of Terror at most amusement parks for you non-locals out there)

There’s a very nice restaurant at the top of The Tower as well which spins (slowly) on a platform so you can get a full 360 view of San Antonio while you dine on pretty pricey food. I can only imagine the first day of any server’s job up there.

Tower of the Americas, Me

Tickets to go up top are barely more than a matinee movie at $12 a pop and $9 for kids 12 and under. I understand this to be not free, which is very unfortunate. They do however have an extensive wine list so this might make up for the ticket prices.

Overall, The Tower of the Americas was definitely a neat experience. It’s one of the many trademarks of San Antonio, and it was for sure something I would do again. If you’re taking the trip all the way up the tower, I would recommend staying for a meal to complete your mile high adventure. The waitstaff is beyond friendly and the views are unbeatable. Be sure not to wear shorter dresses and skirts because the top is very very windy and at the very least, buy a cup of Starbucks coffee just outside the building doors to sip on in place of wine.

Yours,

Jenna

Outdoor Adventures

Sunburnt but Happy at the Japanese Tea Gardens

The Japanese Tea Gardens

Overall Rating: 10!     Good for: All Ages     Time Spent: 1.5 hours

IMG_9196These gardens are so beautiful. It was like taking a breath of fresh air in an otherwise very industrialized, crowded city. The Japanese Tea Gardens are between 5 and 10 minutes from downtown San Antonio, depending, of course, on traffic and your willingness to speed. It’s publically and privately funded, which is to say that its free to get into and free to stay for as long as you’d like. The pathways are largely wheelchair accessible, and you should absolutely save this trip for a day with a little less sunshine and a temperature a few degrees lower than I did on my most recent trip. It’s a great place for short walks, sunshine, and individuals of any age. At the top of the garden stairs, and closest to the entrance there is a tiny shop that sells teas and trinkets, and attached is a lovely cafe with a variety of very tasty menu options.

The ponds that lay in the center of the gardens are home to beautifully colored Koi fish, which was a fun surprise for me. Surrounding these ponds are 360° views of exotic flowers, bushes, and trees. My visiting family was amazed that such a place could exist in a city as large as this, and you will be too. The outside noise in non-existent, and it feels like you’re in an oasis 100 miles away from everything else, a truly beautiful concept. You won’t find anything this green anywhere else in San Antonio.

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The aspect of the gardens that most interests me is the “secret” path behind the waterfall. It’s a bit muddy and a bit narrow, but it is so worth it (in the right shoes). If you follow this trail all the way up it will take you to the most magnificent view of the San Antonio skyline, and it’s definitely a view you won’t forget anytime soon.

I could not recommend the Japanese Tea Gardens any more highly. It is a tradition that has been kept alive for almost a hundred years, and I hope it is one that is kept alive for 100 more.

“Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.” -Gary Snyder 

Bye for now,

Jenna

Indoor Adventures

Free is Better at The San Antonio Museum of Art

The San Antonio Museum of Art

Overall Rating: 9     Good for: ages 12+     Time Spent: 3.5 hours

3603956933_cd97d39b97_bHey, Buds!

Last week I had the pleasure of visiting an art museum in SA with my ‘Little.’ We had a blast! Specifically, we visited the San Antonio Museum of Art, which is located downtown San Antonio in this absolutely stunning historic building. I’m talkin’ super old. The best part of this building though? It’s totally free to get into on Tuesday’s and Fridays. Yeah, even parking.

The museum itself is four floors connected on the ground and second floor, and on the fourth by the sky bridge (which is under renovation until January of next year). It is filled with beautiful works of art from Japanese sculpting, Oceanic pieces, Meditterian works, 1800’s paintings from the U.S., Texas made art, and my personal favorite, modern art. It was bustling, but with a quietness that often accompanies museums, and the greatest pieces were nothing short of surrounded.  There was just enough to each collection and just enough variety to keep you captivated.

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The piece that struck me the most was on titled How do you Spell America? by Willie Cole, finished in 1991. This work lives in the contemporary section of the museum, above American art, and on the second floor. It’s not a happy piece, to say the least. What it is, however, is a striking capture of modern day America, of the challenges its peoples face. With every word I read, my stomach sank further and further toward the ground as a began to grasp the reality of this artwork, and both the fear and despair present in its lines. It is daunting and infuriating and amazing. It’s the kind of work you long to see in a museum. It’s not a 1600’s portrait of some white guy in a wig, but it is something that draws you in and forces you to think about its context, and how this context challenges the world around you. After all, if art doesn’t exist to challenge the status quo, then what’s the point of creating it in the first place? This museum delivers art that does just that and more. It contains pieces that challenge us to think, and it contains pieces that map out the history of land across the world. It is a must see in San Antonio, and, even better, it’s free (sometimes).

This museum delivers art that does just that and more. It contains pieces that challenge us to think, and it contains pieces that map out the history of land across the world. It is a must see in San Antonio, and, even better, it’s free (sometimes).

I’ll leave you with the wise words of Jawaharlal Nehru. Have a wonderful, adventurous day. “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm, and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

-Jen