San Antonio Museums & Historic Sites
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San Antonio Museums & Historic Sites
San Antonio is a city rich in history and culture, and there are many museums and historic sites which illustrate the events and people of the past. This city is home to the world-famous Alamo, a mission where 186 Texans gave their lives during the fight for Texas independence from Mexico.
The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum is another favorite place to visit. It showcases 125 years of Texas history and includes cowboy memorabilia, an authentic shooting gallery, an arcade, the world's only Wax Museum of Texas History, and a curio store. The Smithsonian Institute has a local affiliate here, Museo Alameda, a multicultural center detailing the experiece of Latinos in America.
Also located in San Antonio are two art museums, a botanical garden, the Spanish Governor's Palace, several Spanish missions, the Texas Ranger Museum, and much more. See the list for more information about these and other exciting museums in the San Antonio.
San Antonio museums listed by distance from the The Fairmount:
Texas Highway Patrol Museum 0.3 mi
812 S. Alamo, San Antonio, TX (210) 231-6030
The Museum chronicles the lives and times of DPS officers past and present. The Hall of Honor exhibit honors the 74 troopers who lost their lives in the line of duty. The exhibit displays portraits of the fallen officers and provides a brief description of how these brave individuals gave their lives while in service to their state. Other attaractions include the Medal of Valor exhibit, a collection of officer memorabilia, and the History Hall.
Ripley's Believe It or Not & Louis Tussaud's Wax Works 0.5 mi
301 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX (210) 224-9299
Ripley's Believe It or Not! & Louis Tussaud's Wax Works are located in the heart of downtown near the Alamo, RiverCenter Mall, and the famous River Walk. Ripley's Believe It or Not! features over 500 exhibits of one-of-a-kind oddities, curiosities and illusions gathered from all over the world by the famed cartoonist Robert Ripley. Louis Tussaud's Wax Works features a collection of wax figures displayed within themed sections of Hollywood, Children's Land of Make Believe, Freedom's Journey, Horror, History, Religion and more.
San Antonio Children's Museum 0.7 mi
305 E. Houston, San Antonio, TX (210) 212-4453 x1306
A multi-story building with a vibrant cityscape inside. It also contains more than 80 interactive multi-sensory exhibits designed to foster a greater understanding of the working society and the physical world.
The Texas Ranger Museum 0.8 mi
318 E. Houston St, San Antonio, TX (210) 247-4000
The Texas Ranger Museum portrays and honors the vast history of the world's most famous law enforcement agency. View exhibits and learn the story of notable rangers such as Ray Martinez and Joaquin Jackson. View authentic Ranger artifacts and explore Ranger Town, a recreation of old San Antonio. Located inside the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, a short two blocks from the Alamo and 50 feet from the River Walk.
Buckhorn Saloon & Museum 0.8 mi
318 E Houston St, San Antonio, TX (210) 247-4000
The Buckhorn Saloon & Museum features two stories of exotic collections covering more than 125 years of Texas history. Collections include a unique horn collection, cowboy memorabilia, fish from the Seven Seas, and even a two-headed calf and a lamb with eight legs. Many enjoy the authentic shooting gallery and arcade, as well as the world's only Wax Museum of Texas History. At the Buckhorn Curio Store, you'll find extraordinary Texas collectibles and authentic Buckhorn souvenirs for the entire family. Located a short two blocks from the Alamo and 50 feet from the River Walk. Be sure to visit the new Texas Ranger Museum adjacent to the Buckhorn!
San Antonio Cavalry Museum 0.9 mi
717 East Houston St, San Antonio, TX (210) 224-1865
The San Antonio Cavalry Museum features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.
Steves Homestead Museum 0.9 mi
509 King William, San Antonio, TX (210) 227-9160
This Victorian French Second Empire design, three-story home was built for Edward Steves in 1876 and furnished in a late 19th-century style. The River House, a one-story brick structure, housed the first natatorium, or inside swimming pool, in San Antonio. The Carriage House was built in 1875. This two-story frame and stone building was used for storage. The servants quarters were built around 1877. The Steves Homestead has been maintained since 1954 as a historic house museum.
Alamo 1.0 mi
300 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX (210) 225-1391, ext. 34
The most famous spot in Texas, and a San Antonio icon, the Alamo is known world wide as a mission where 189 defenders fell on March 6, 1836, after repeated attacks by Mexican General Santa Anna's army. Mission San Antonio de Valero (The Alamo) was established in 1718 as the city's first mission. The chapel, one of the most photographed facades in the nation, and the Long Barracks are all that remain of the original fort. Long Barracks Museum and Library are near the chapel. The museum contains relics and mementos from the Republic of Texas and offers narration on the fall of the Alamo. The mission is located on the east side of Alamo Plaza, in the heart of the city, on beautifully landscaped grounds. Admission is free.
UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures 1.1 mi
801 S. Bowie, San Antonio, TX (210) 458-2330
UTSA's Institute of Texan Cultures features interactive exhibits, multicultural family programs, fun activities for children, and colorful special events. The 360° Dome Theater boasts 22 screens and 38 projectors and features Faces and Places of Texas, a multimedia experience showcasing Texans and special events from around the state. The outdoor exploration area, the Back 40, allows guests to step into the lives of early Texans and see how they lived. Learn the stories of multinational Texans firsthand from character performers. The museum's retail store offers a broad selection of unique Texas gifts, publications, and international gift items. The museum is a short walk from the Alamo and the River Walk through HemisFair Park.
Museo Alameda 1.2 mi
101 South Santa Rosa, San Antonio, TX (210) 299-4300
The new, hot pink Museo Alameda is located in the historic Market Square. Combining art, history, cultural education and live performance, the Museo Alameda tells the unique story of the Latino experience in America - past, present and future. The first organization in the nation to sign an affiliation agreement with the Smithsonian Institution - Museo Alameda will take full advantage of access to the collections, exhibitions, and educational programming of the Smithsonian Institution. Its galleries focus on art and objects that tell the story of Latinos in the Americas. At the museum's center is the Smithsonian Gallery, which will remain filled with exhibits and treasures from the Smithsonian Institution's many museums.
Spanish Governor's Palace 1.3 mi
105 Plaza de Armas, San Antonio, TX (210) 224-0601
A national historic landmark, labeled "the most beautiful building in San Antonio" by the National Geographic Society, it once housed the officials of the Spanish Province of Texas. Over the entrance is the original keystone which contains the carved, double-headed eagle of the Hapsburg coat-of-arms and the inscription, in Spanish, "finished in 1749." Distinguishing features include period furnishings and a cobblestone patio with fountain and foliage.
San Antonio Museum of Art 1.8 mi
200 W. Jones Avenue, San Antonio, TX (210) 978-8100
A castle-like building housing a collection ranging from ancient art to Mexican folk art. Original home of Lone Star Brewing Company.
Mission Concepción 2.5 mi
807 Mission Rd., San Antonio, TX (210) 534-1540
This handsome church looks essentially as it did 200 years ago. From 1731, religious festivals were held as friars strove to replace traditional Native American ritual by the demonstration of Christian ideals. Remnants of wall and ceiling paintings in the surviving rooms of the mission's convento have been conserved. Wayside exhibits lead visitors around the grounds and through the various rooms. The site also features a visitor contact station and a sales area.
San Antonio Missions National Historical Park 3.2 mi
2202 Roosevelt Ave, San Antonio, TX (210) 534-8833
When the Spanish flag flew over Texas in the 18th century, many missions were established along the San Antonio River in an effort to convert natives to Catholocism and to turn them into productive members of Spanish society. More than just churches, the missions also served as vocational and educational centers, economic enterprises involved in agricultural and ranching endeavors and regional trade. They were the greatest concentration of Catholic missions in North America and formed the foundation for what is today the thriving city of San Antonio.
The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park features four of these missions, known as the missions Concepción, San José, San Juan and Espada. Also included as part of the park are the historic Espada Dam and Aqueduct, acequia (irrigation) systems and the Rancho de las Cabras. Admission is free. The visitors center is located next to Mission San Jose and contains a theater showing a 20-minute depiction of early life at the mission, a museum and book shop.
Mission Concepción, 807 Mission Rd. at Felisa St., Tel. 210/534-1540
Mission San Francisco de la Espada, 10040 Espada Rd., Tel. 210/627-2021
Mission San José, 6701 San Jose Dr., Tel. 210/932-1001
Mission San Juan Capistrano, 9101 Graf Rd., Tel. 210/534-0749
Fort Sam Houston Museum 4.3 mi
1210 Stanley Rd.; Bldg 123, Fort Sam Houston, TX (210) 221-1886
The Fort Sam Houston Museum focuses on the history of Fort Sam Houston, an active military base and a National Historic Landmark. Founded in the late 1870s, the base is the birthplace of military aviation. On display at the museum are uniforms, firearms, artillery, photographs and other items. Also of interest to visitors is The Quadrangle, the original fort at Fort Sam Houston. The Quadrangle is especially appealing to children because of the peacocks, deer and rabbits permitted to roam freely.
San Antonio Botanical Garden 5.2 mi
555 Funston, San Antonio, TX (210) 207-3250
The San Antonio Botanical Garden is a 33-acre living museum, with colorful seasonal floral displays, a serene native forest walk, exotic plant specimens from around the world, modernistic glass pyramids, and even an authentic log cabin. Highlights include the Old Fashioned Perennial Garden, Rose Garden, Sacred Garden, Garden for the Blind, Kuamoto En (an authentic Japanese Garden), and extensive native collections representing the hill Country, East Texas and Southwest Texas. The futuristic Lucile Halsell Conservatory features plants from around the world displayed in the Exhibit Room, Desert Pavilion, Tropical Forest Room, Palm House and Fern Grotto. The Aquatic Garden Pool is the central feature of the Conservatory Courtyard. The historic Carriage House, the entry point to the Garden, also includes the gift shop and restaurant.
Witte Museum 5.5 mi
3801 Broadway, San Antonio, TX (210) 357-1900
Located on the banks of the beautiful San Antonio River in Brackenridge Park, the Witte Museum is San Antonio's premier museum focusing on South Texas history, science and water resources. Founded in 1926, the Witte is home to an extensive permanent collection featuring historic artifacts and photographs, Texas art, textiles, the world-renowned Hertzberg Circus Collection, dinosaur bones, cave drawings, Texas wildlife dioramas and the four-story H-E-B Science Treehouse; in addition to nationally acclaimed traveling exhibits.
Mission San José 6.0 mi
6701 San Jose Dr., San Antonio, TX (210) 932-1001
Founded in 1720 by Fray Antonio Margil de Jesús, San José became the largest and best known of the Texas Missions and was viewed as the model among Texas missions. After early setbacks, 300 inhabitants were sustained by the vast fields and herds of livestock. A visitor in 1777 referred to the structure as the "Queen of the Missions." The carvings on the church are notable features. The famous "Rose Window" is considered one of the finest pieces of Spanish Colonial ornamentation in the country. Other features are the convento area and the stairway to the belfry and choir loft - each of the 25 risers was hand-hewn from a single live-oak log and constructed without nails or pegs. Also featured is a granary with flying buttresses, a gristmill, restored defensive walls, and quarters.
McNay Art Museum 6.6 mi
6000 N New Braunfels, San Antonio, TX (210) 824-5368
The McNay Art Museum is scheduled to reopen in June, 2008 after being closed for expansion. Built by artist and educator Marion Koogler McNay in the 1920s, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style home opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954. Exhibits include magnificent works of art by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. A vital partner in arts education, the McNay annually serves over 45,000 adults, teachers, students and families with a variety of art education programs and educational resources, including a fine arts reference library and interpretive information about art in the museum's collection and exhibitions.
US Army Medical Dept. Museum 6.7 mi
2310 Stanley Rd., Bldg 1046, Fort Sam Houston, TX (210) 221-6358
The U.S. Army Medical Department Museum is located at Fort Sam Houston, an active military base and a National Historic Landmark. One of the most outstanding facilities of its kind in the world, the museum is known for the restoration, preservation and exhibition of significant historic medical items, such as army medical equipment and memorabilia from American prisoners-of-war. Military medical artifacts and memorabilia are proudly displayed in an environment that blends visualization of history with the appropriate presentation of the Army's contributions to medicine during times of both war and peace. The U.S. Army Medical Department Museum also serves as a living reference library and research facility for students of all ages who have an interest in military medicine.
Texas Air Museum - Stinson Chapter 7.4 mi
8406 Cadmus, San Antonio, TX (210) 977-9885
Since 1999, the Texas Air Museum at Stinson Field has been dedicated to telling the story of Texas and San Antonio's vital role in the developement of military air power. It also pays tribute to aviation pioneers, technical acheivements in the realm of aviation, and above all, pays respect and honor to those who gave their lives to defend freedom. The museum is committed to the preservation and restoration of aircraft and artifacts representing historic events that have shaped this nation and the world.
Exhibits include rare aircraft including the extremely rare German WWII Focke-Wulf FW-190. In fact, much attention is given to World War II, and the Pacific and European theaters of that conflict. The Texas Air Museum not only represents that era, but is unique in also covering in detail the early period and "golden-age" of aviation. Here you can also learn about the famous "Flying Stinson Family", and why San Antonio is considered to be the birthplace of American military aviation.
Mission San Juan Capistrano 9.7 mi
9101 Graf Rd., San Antonio, TX (210) 534-0749
Established along the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731 after relocation from East Texas. With a rich farm and pasture lands it became a regional supplier of agricultural produce, which helped support the missions, local settlements and presidio garrisons. The chapel, with its open bell tower is still in use. A more elaborate church was never completed. The site includes a self-guided nature trail.
Mission San Francisco de la Espada 11.5 mi
10040 Espada Rd., San Antonio, TX (210) 627-2021
In 1731, after their retreat from East Texas, the founders of San Francisco de los Tejas moved the mission to the San Antonio River and renamed it San Francisco de la Espada. Espada appears as remote today as it did in the mid 1700s. It boasts the best preserved segments of the historic acequias (the irrigation system designed to provide water for crops) part of which includes the still working Espada dam and aqueduct. The Espada Aqueduct, which carries water from the San Antonio River across Piedras Creek, continues to feed the original mission irrigation system. Espada Dam, built between 1731 and 1740, is the best existing example of the four Franciscan-designed dams placed on the San Antonio River. The dam is still in use today. Combined, these structures represent perhaps the best surviving physical assembly of an 18th century Spanish irrigation network in the United States. In 1995, the ranch that once supported Mission Espada, Rancho de las Cabras near Floresville, became part of the National Historical Park and is currently open on a limited basis.
Texas Transportation Museum 15.7 mi
11731 Wetmore Road, San Antonio, TX (210) 490-3554
Texas Transportation Museum offers train rides on their full size train on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and by demand on Thursdays. The museum consists of a full size, operational railroad, a garden railroad, an interior HO scale layout and a large vehicle collection. Admissions are all inclusive, and include parking and train rides. They also frequently offer fire truck rides when conditions permit.