Toddler Fun

Fun Places to Go in San Antonio with Young Toddlers (1st Edition)

Things to Do in San Antonio with Young Toddlers (Part I)

In our house we celebrate “Fun Mondays.” In general, unless there is a funeral, hospital visit, or other emergency, I don’t work at all on Mondays. We try to make sure the day off doesn’t get sucked up with house cleaning, errands or other jobs that can easily consume a day off. We make it a point to do something fun every Monday. Sometimes fun Monday is just an hour or two, sometimes it takes up the entire day. Here are some of the things we have done in the past few months with our almost 1 and almost 2 year olds.

I’ll give you a brief description, our pros and cons, a link to their site, and two ratings based on my “5 Star” scale: First is the “Fun Factor” (This is the Fun Factor from the toddler’s point of view… ) Second is the “Value.” This can be arbitrary, but it’s our opinion based on our frugal spending habits. We’re not opposed to splurging once in awhile, but when we splurge, we like it to be great fun!

PEE WEE BEES

Looking for the next toy at Pee Wee Bees

Looking for the next toy at Pee Wee Bees

Pee Wee Bees is an indoor play land for babies and small children. There’s a bounce-house for older ones and snacks for sale for adults and children.

Pros: Lots and lots of toys for babies as well as toddlers, very clean, friendly staff, comfy couches for grownups.

Cons: On the smaller side

Fun Factor – Five Stars

Value – Three Stars

Notes: Sign up to get e-mails and/or follow the Facebook page for special discounts, character appearances, etc. Monthly passes are available which would help the value factor and planned to go several times, especially if you lived closer.

Recommended? YES!

Visit Pee Wee Bees HERE

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MACARTHUR PARK

Fantastic park for toddlers!

Fantastic park for toddlers!

A public San Antonio park with three separate playgrounds (divided by age) pavilions for picnics, grills, shaded open areas

Pros: Specific playground for little ones including short slides and mini “rock” wall, well kept and clean, shaded

Cons: Can get crowded, especially weekends

Fun Factor – Five Stars

Value – Five Stars (free!)

Recommended? YES!

San Antonio Park System: HERE

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MORGAN’S WONDERLAND

So many amazing options at Morgan's Wonderland: water play, sensory village, playgrounds, carousel and more.

So many amazing options at Morgan’s Wonderland: water play, sensory village, playgrounds, carousel and more.

An inclusive amusement park designed to accommodate all children with all levels of ability including (but not limited to) those in wheelchairs

Pros: Wide variety of activities for toddlers including train, car ride, several playgrounds, water table, and sensory village

Cons: We couldn’t move in and live there. (We really have no cons to Morgan’s Wonderland. We LOVED it.)

Fun Factor: Five Stars!

Value: Five Stars! (Kids 3 and under are free, parents are $15 each. More than we normally spend but a “worthy splurge” in our book.)

Recommended? YES!

Notes: Plan to spend most or all day here! So much to do. Plenty of picnic areas and they allow food to be brought in. Check website for schedule.

 

Visit Morgan’s Wonderland: HERE

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SAN ANTONIO ZOO

at the farm area of the zoo where children can brush the animals.

at the farm area of the zoo where children can brush the animals.

Our San Antonio Zoo has 35 acres of all kinds of stuff, and more than enough to keep everyone occupied

Pros: Tiny Tots area has activities indoors, outdoors, and it even includes an area for splashing and playing in the sand. The farm area petting zoo is also enjoyed by our almost 2 year old

Cons: Can get crowded

Fun Factor: Five Stars

Value: With Membership and frequent attendance – Five Stars, as a “one time attender” – Three Stars

Recommended? YES!

Notes: We have a membership here and spend many “Fun Mondays” at the zoo. This allows us to spend a lot of time in one area. Some days “Lory Landing” is open, which is an opportunity to feed birds for the price of nectar ($1.25). NOTE: Parents should hold the bird nectar and let little ones watch, it’s too overwhelming for very young ones if they hold the nectar. (We’ve seen this happen). Don’t forget swim clothes, towels and swim diapers if you are planning to do the river splash in the Tot Spot. Tot Spot also has structured activities each day posted on a chalkboard at the entrance. Zoo Train isn’t really part of the zoo. (Train Depot is just off Zoo parking lot, but admission to the zoo is not required to ride the train.)

San Antonio Zoo: HERE

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SAN ANTONIO MUSEUM OF ART

At the book launch for the Arte Kids books. Photo © Tracy Germer

At the book launch for the Arte Kids books.
Photo © Tracy Germer

I’m an art lover so I think art museums are great for all ages, including toddlers. San Antonio Museum of Art has some specific draws for toddlers, however. (See notes below).

Pros: Friendly staff who want to see children grow in love of art, Arte-Kids books, children’s programs, open spaces, easy parking

Cons: For us, the fact that they’re closed Mondays is a huge con.

Fun Factor: Four Stars

Value: Four Stars

Recommended? YES!

Notes: The Arte-Kids board books are a brilliant way for children to get to know the art in the museum at home and then make connections once they’re there. We’ve never attended the children’s programs, but we’ve heard great things, check the schedule on the website for details.

Disclosure: I received the Arte Kids Books as a part of a blogger/publicity event at SAMA. SAMA did not ask or require me to write about the books or offer my opinion. 

 San Antonio Museum of Art: HERE

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SEMMES LIBRARY

Library books and so much more!

Library books and so much more!

Has toddler story time, nature trails behind the library and a playground across the street

Pros: Story/Song time with Ms. Randi is wonderful, friendly staff, great selection of board books your little monster won’t destroy

Cons: Sometimes library guests are not pleased with squealing toddlers and babies (understandable), park is not shaded and so equipment gets very hot

Fun Factor: Four Stars

Value: Five Stars (Free!)

Recommended? YES!

Notes: The fact that there is a playground on site as well as nature trails makes this library more of an “outing” than a quick trip to pick out books or go to storytime. We spend many a fun Monday at Semmes Library! Be sure to check the calendar to note when story time is on a break or changed.

Semmes Library: HERE

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MINI TOWN 

Imaginary town for little ones including mini grocery store, hair salon, disco, etc. Also has a room for babies and playground

Pros: Playground outside, brilliant concept (we so wanted to love this place)

Cons: Dirty (We’re not fussy, neat freaks or germophobes, but we felt uncomfortable with the level of dirt and grime on everything) Lots of broken toys in the rooms.

Fun Factor: Three Stars

Value: Two stars (because we left so quickly — see above)

Recommended? No

Notes: Such a sweet idea. We would be willing to give this place a try if we hear rumors of it getting cleaned up or have an indication that our experience was unique. Couldn’t find any photos from this one. Probably because we were busy chasing the children around with hand sanitizer!

Mini Town website HERE

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INGRAM PARK MALL INDOOR PLAY AREA

Constantly in motion at Ingram Park Mall!

Constantly in motion at Ingram Park Mall!

A decent sized indoor play area inside Ingram Park Mall.

Pros: Plenty of space to run around, cushy toys to run and play on, toddler sized

Cons: Can get a little noisy or crowded, but not worth complaining about in our book. 🙂

Fun Factor: Five Stars

Value: Five Stars (Free!)

Notes: Park at JCPenny. Also fun, the glass elevator in the middle of the mall.

Ingram Park Mall Website  HERE

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INCREDIBLE PIZZA

Love this little carousel babies can get strapped into at Incredible Pizza.

Love this little carousel babies can get strapped into at Incredible Pizza.

A pizza place with a play area for toddlers as well as games for bigger kids.

Pros: Very toddler friendly games, even babies can ride the carousel. Inexpensive and uncrowded during the daytime. Kid friendly food. Games for little ones don’t break the bank (a $5 game card is plenty for us).

Cons: Can be overstimulating. Extremely crowded on weekends. Food is ok, but not great (both taste-wise and nutrition-wise)

Fun Factor: Five Stars

Value: Four stars

Notes: Extremely important to our family: they serve Gluten-Free pizza here, made to order. My husband (who can’t have gluten) raves about the pizza. We’ve been known to go to Incredible Pizza just so papa can have his pizza fix.

See Incredible Pizza HERE

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SPLASHTOWN SAN ANTONIO

Happy and soaking wet! Look at that face!

Happy and soaking wet! Look at that face!

Splashtown is a huge water/theme park. While it is definitely geared toward older kids, there is a small section in Kids Cove that is great for toddlers.

Pros: Kids cove with toddler sized slides, shallow water areas, river with tubes to float down, rental cabanas with food service, attentive lifeguards and staff

Cons: Can be overstimulating for toddlers, can’t bring food in to the park

Fun Factor: Four Stars

Value: Two and a Half Stars

Disclosure: I attended Splashtown with my family as a part of a bloggers event that included free admission and shared use of the cabanas. Splashtown did not ask me to write about the experience. Admittedly the value for us on that day was “Five Stars” but I looked around at prices and evaluated it as if we were paying for it. Not a cheap outing for toddlers. 

Visit Splashtown:  HERE

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Interested in creating meaningful moments with your toddlers or older kids? Check out my book Seamless Faith: Simple Practices for Daily Family Life  — it’s ful of lo

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