Looking for a great way to spend the day with your kids that’s as educational as it is enjoyable? The New Braunfels area is close to many local attractions, and the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Aquarium are two of the best places to visit. Your kids will love seeing wildlife and sea creatures and interacting with countless exhibits that engage their senses and spark their curiosity. If you’re looking for things to do in New Braunfels, make sure the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Aquarium make your list of places to visit.
The San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo isn’t just a place to look at captive animals in specialized enclosures and cages. The San Antonio Zoological Society, a local nonprofit organization, operates the Zoo with the commitment of securing a future for wildlife, increasing awareness of conservation efforts in the San Antonio area and throughout Texas, and providing educational resources to visitors of all ages. The Zoo’s mission is to connect with the local community and inspire visitors to appreciate wildlife and the places where they live. More than one million visitors explore the San Antonio Zoo each year.
The San Antonio Zoo has a long history in the area stretching back to the 1800s, when it was nothing but a small wildlife display in the San Pedro Park. In 1914, Colonel George W. Brackenridge, the founder of the San Antonio Express-News and a respected community leader of San Antonio, turned the area into the San Antonio Zoo with displays of buffalo, bears, lions, elk, deer, and monkeys. In 1929, the Zoo added the Primate Paradise and Barless Bear Terraces, two of the first cage-less exhibits in North America.
Today, the San Antonio Zoo encompasses 56 acres and is home to more than 750 species of wildlife from all over the world. You and your family can also visit the Kiddie Park, America’s oldest children’s amusement park. The nearby Brackenridge Park Golf Course and recreational center are also great places for adults to enjoy themselves, and history buffs will enjoy the archaeological sites predating the Civil War and Spanish Colonial period. Your patronage to the San Antonio Zoo not only helps maintain the facilities, but also major conservation efforts in North America. The San Antonio Zoo was the first place on the continent to successfully reproduce endangered white rhinos, Caribbean flamingos, and whooping cranes, and more than 50 snow leopards have taken their first steps in the San Antonio Zoo since the 1970s.
The San Antonio Aquarium
If you’re interested in a look at the world’s oceans and sea creatures from almost every part of the Earth, the San Antonio Aquarium has some of the most amazing aquatic displays in North America. Since its opening in 2014, the San Antonio Aquarium has been a local favorite for family-friendly fun and educational experiences. Today, the Aquarium is home to more than 8,000 creatures, including cold water fish, tropical fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, sharks, and stingrays representing habitats from all over the world.
One of the best aspects of visiting the San Antonio Aquarium: the interactive experiences available. The Aquarium encourages visitors to hand-feed many of the animals on display, including birds, stingrays, and even sharks! Kids can get up close and personal with lemurs, caiman lizards, and even sharks and stingrays in a touch-friendly display pool. One of the newest additions, Kiwi the sloth, is a huge hit with kids.
The owners of the San Antonio Aquarium have a long history of involvement with the foster care system and have hosted 31 foster kids of their own. Foster children receive free admissions, and employees of the Austin Children’s Shelter and Children at Heart Ministries also enjoy free admission. With thousands of animals to see, interactive exhibits, and unforgettable educational experiences, the San Antonio Aquarium is one of the must-see places in the Leon Valley.
Experience Wildlife Responsibly
One of the best parts about visiting the San Antonio Zoo and the San Antonio Aquarium is that you can be sure your admission fee is going toward invaluable ecological research and conservation efforts that span the entire world. These establishments offer enriching and entertaining experiences, but they also have important places in the wildlife conservation and preservation world. During your next trip to San Antonio, be sure to visit the Zoo and the Aquarium and know that you’re also helping great causes.
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