Pearsall Park: The Hardberger Park of the Southside

Pearsall Park, located on the city’s southwest side at 4700 Old Pearsall Road, is now open! It’s what I would call the “Hardberger Park of the Southside.” Hardberger Park is 300 acres as is Brackenridge Park, making Pearsall Park one of the largest public parks in San Antonio with more than 500 acres of park space.

parks pic
From San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department website

It’s not every day that a 500+ acre park opens up on the Southside of San Antonio—and I think that’s exactly the point District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña was trying to make when he began working with his constituents years ago to promote the idea for Pearsall Park to the Southside residents. Take a look at the 2012 Master Plan to get a sense of the scale of the $8.1 million project. The goal was to combine bond resources to make Pearsall Park a destination that would instill pride in the Southside and would attract people from all parts of San Antonio to visit. That’s precisely what my family and many others did on Saturday, June 11, for the Grand Opening and Fit Pass 5K Dash at Pearsall Park. Take a look at this aerial video, which is actually pretty moving, literally and figuratively, to me, taken that morning.

One thing I noticed about the park is it’s nicely spread out. At first it seemed overwhelming in the heat and sun of the grand opening hot summer day. But after climbing to the top of one of the hills and catching plenty of swift, cool breeze while sitting under the public art, making our way down to the fitness challenge zone was easy. Of course, we took the scenic route. You can easily access the same area by simply staying at the base of the hill. Throughout the park landscape architecture firm Bender Wells Clark Design created activity zones allowing enough play spaces for various ages and interests while leaving room to grow. I’d say my three-year-old son’s favorite spots were the splash pad (of course) and the public art because of the views of Lackland AFB and Joint Base San Antonio, where you could even see some of the military planes on the runway. He loved the many climbing areas on the playground, too. I’m sure for bigger kids, the towering, gigantic playground is awesome.

So here they are, my selection of the Top 10 Amenities at Pearsall Park:

1. Splash pad—Largest in the city. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but somehow it’s the only one I took. You can see tons of people were enjoying it on opening day.pearsall- waterpark

2. Zip linepearsall- zipline

3. Skate park—Largest in the citypearsall- skate part

4. Public art—”Wickiup Overlook” and “Wickiup Encampment” by Buster Simpsonpearsall- public artpearsall- public art2

5. Multiple playgrounds—Largest in the citypearsall- playground

6. 360-degree views—At the top of the hill you can see downtown and nearby Air Force basespearsall- boeing

7. Trails & run/walk routes (5K and marathon distances)—As former high school cross country runners ourselves, my husband and I expect to see high school cross country meets on those hills in the coming seasons!

From Councilman Saldaña's Facebook page
From Councilman Saldaña’s Facebook page

8. 40-yard dash timer

From Councilman Saldaña's Facebook page
From Councilman Saldaña’s Facebook page
traveling rings
From San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department website

9. Traveling rings—in case you’re practicing to become the next American Ninja Warrior. San Antonio is one of only four U.S. cities to offer free outdoor use.

10. Pride and joy—My family pictured with District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña, celebrating a great day in San Antonio.pearsall- saldana

According to the Rivard Report, even City Manager Sheryl Sculley was brought to tears seeing such an amazing project come to fruition, the likes of which were overdue for this part of our community.

You can read the full list of amenities and other park details on the Parks & Rec Pearsall Park webpage. Or check out the article and slide show.

Not bad for a former landfill. (Yes, some of this land was used as a landfill in the 1960s and 1970s. It closed in 1982. Since then the Environmental Protection Agency has kept a close eye on the land and ensured the area is safe for the public.)

Like Councilman Saldaña and many others, I’m excited for the Southside and San Antonio. Pearsall Park is a great new space to encourage health and fitness in a fun and beautiful way. Even if you’re not a Southside resident, I’d say it’s worth the trip to check out what everyone’s been talking about.

Want to read more about Pearsall Park?

From Dump to Destination, San Antonio’s Largest Park Now Open

505-acre Pearsall Park Opens this Saturday

Pearsall Park and the Ascent of the Southside

Check out these related sites, too:

San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department websiteFacebook page, and Fit Pass 2016

District 4 City Councilman Rey Saldaña, who has a constituent office at the Pearsall Park site

Ballroom Luminoso public art project at IH-35 and Theo/Malone, just a quick drive from Pearsall Park

Other ACMB articles on San Antonio Parks:

Check out Dawn’s post Hit the Trail!: Parks, Natural Areas, and Green Spaces in San Antonio.

Or read Katy’s post Five Great San Antonio Parks that Don’t Rhyme with “Shmardberger”.

Heather was born and raised in San Antonio and became a mom in 2013 and again in 2018. She never imagined she'd be raising two sons but is grateful for the opportunity! Heather enjoys the outdoors and even mowing her own lawn. She and her husband Santiago look forward to raising two feminist boys who will hopefully be better at Spanish than she is. Her professional experience since graduating from Tufts University with a degree in Art History includes working for a variety of arts and cultural nonprofit organizations, from grassroots to governmental. She spent a few years as a stay at home parent and is easing her way back into the workforce. Her dream job would be to work for Sesame Workshop, or President of the United States. In the meantime, Heather enjoys filling her family's weekends with the diversity San Antonio has to offer. Favorite Restaurant: La Tuna Favorite Landmark: Hemisfair Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Breakfast tacos