LittleBear and I (Bethany) had a great opportunity to go to San Antonio Texas for a few days while Daddy attended a conference. We had a few hours here and there with Daddy, but for the most part it was just LittleBear and I on the town.
Sunday the three of us drove to San Antonio and went straight to the Texas Transportation Museum. We knew they had a full size train ride every hour on the half hour and we knew LittleBear would love that. This all-volunteer run museum also has a bunch of other really neat things to see! They have a large model train set that appears to always be a work in progress, but it was really fun to see the trains go all around in and out of mountains, tunnels and in the city. They also had quite a few carriages and early-20th century cars that were neat to see. Probably my favorite thing was the train you could walk through that was appointed as it would have been in the early 1920s when passengers could ride from New York City to San Antonio. Very neat! Then of course there was the train ride, which LittleBear was very excited about :)
The conference didn't start until after lunch on Monday, so Monday morning the three of us drove to the Natural Bridge Wildlife Safari. It was so fun! It's a drive thru safari where they give you a bag of food pellets that you drop out of your window and the animals come up to the car. It was great! Obviously they can't have animals like lions, tigers or other carnivores, but they had lots of plant-eating animals that we saw up close and personal, including ostriches, donkeys, zebras, etc. At the end, there was also a petting zoo with baby goats. LittleBear and I loved it!
We also had a great time enjoying some of the city while Daddy was working. The first day on our own, LittleBear and I walked a few blocks from our hotel to the San Antonio Children's Museum. LittleBear loved the tot area (ages 0-3) complete with slide, toddler LiteBrite (see video below) and a padded area that I think was meant for crawlers (but LittleBear loved to bounce around in it). He also really enjoyed the water/bubbles room and the replica airplane. We thankfully finished our time there about the same time Daddy was done conferencing. (See an extra video here of Little Bear at the water table.)
Tuesday, LittleBear and I set out for the San Antonio Zoo. We arrived at the parking lot about 10 minutes before the zoo opened (along with about 35 other people). It didn't matter though because as I was getting the diaper bag ready and the stroller unpacked, the Brackenridge Eagle train came down the track about 15 feet away directly in front of us warming up for the morning. The conductor saw us and sounded the horn. "CHOO CHOO!!!!!!!!!!" shouted LittleBear as he pointed with wild excitement. With him riding free and me for only $3.25, I knew what we were doing on our way out of the zoo. To recount all the blessings of this day would be a post that only grandparents would read, so I'll try to sum up. The top thrills included:
1. Going through the butterfly exhibit and wishing Grandma was there to enjoy it with us (I did take a video; see below.)
2. Being at the hippopotamus tank at the same time the hippos were let out for the morning & getting to watch them play with all the kids at the tank window.
3. Watching an elephant swim and play in its enclosure pool. Even the zookeeper came out with a video camera!
4. A tired LittleBear mustering up every ounce of excitement left in his little body for the 20-minute train ride at the end. (See video here.)
After nap we spent about 30 minutes in the hotel pool, then LittleBear was done and we met up with Daddy to go find dinner. After dinner, we of course had to take LittleBear on his first visit to the Alamo! (No tour -- just the obligatory photo out front.)
Wednesday morning LittleBear and I had until noon, so we set out on foot (minus stroller) for the Riverwalk. For the last three days he loudly called out "boat!" and pointed every time he saw a boat on the river, so I knew that the river tour boats had to be on our list. He very much enjoyed not only the boat ride but also waving to all of the tour boat operators. We then left to go back to our room and pack up to go home.
It was a really fun vacation, and LittleBear did great! I think we all had a really good time despite the really hot temperatures!
Feel free to peruse a full photo gallery of our fun times here.