Eight Family-Friendly Things to Do in San Antonio This Fall

Ahhh, fall has arrived. Who am I kidding? I’ll be in shorts till November. But alas, there are pumpkin patches to visit, hayrides to enjoy, and pumpkin spice/maple bacon everything to savor. Here are eight family-friendly fall happenings in San Antonio to help you make the most out of this autumn:

Fall is a great time to visit the San Antonio Botanical Garden with (hopefully) slightly cooler temperatures and fall blooms. Instead of the annual “Bootanica” event, this year the Garden is focusing on Nature Connects: Art with LEGO® Bricks, which started September 1 and runs through December 31. This exhibit features nearly half a million LEGO® bricks showcasing 13 nature-inspired pieces, including a larger-than-life Monarch butterfly and a six-foot hummingbird on a trumpet flower. Stop by the gift shop on the way in for water and paletas.

Taking place September 30th, Síclovía is fun to say and a free way to get the crazies out of your kid. Basically, YMCA of Greater San Antonio barricades streets in the Pearl area and lets you “play in the street” (safely, of course). You’ll see every kind of bike, skateboarders, runners, exercise classes to take part in, treats for pets, and food trucks to replenish. It is not a race, so you can join in the fun wherever and however long you like. Plus, restrooms and rest stops are strategically placed along the path.

Kicking off weekends after September 22, San Antonio Zoo’s Zoo Boo is a fun way to experience the animals of the zoo while enjoying a hay maze, pumpkin painting, dance parties, and more. My favorite part is that the zoo encourages kids to dress up so I can get more bang for my buck on our pricey costumes. And if you have small kids, don’t worry about it being too scary. The spook factor is low, and the zoo requests that guests refrain from wearing scary costumes.

Going to SeaWorld is a pricey event for a family. Even with season passes, you end up paying for add-ons and food. I like to go around Halloween because SeaWorld does a fantastic job of dressing up the park for the season. They have nautical costumed characters ranging from mermaids to pirates, loads of photo opps, trick-or-treating stations, and their Pet’s Ahoy show gets a Halloween makeover. However, SeaWorld does caution that starting at 7:00 P.M., the action gets a little scary, so it may not be suitable for kids under 13. During the day, the park does leave out some spooky props (zombies, for example, last year), but you can pretty easily avoid them if desired. SeaWorld San Antonio’s Howl-O-Scream & Spooktacular takes place September 28–October 28.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Fright Fest is another fun option—and well, the name says it all. Obviously geared toward older kids and teens, Fright Fest warns “there is no place to hide.” (Kinda like my house when I’m trying to finish the last five minutes of the series finale of my favorite show. My kids always find me.) What’s fun about Six Flags in the fall is that they really take Halloween seriously. They have Hollywood-level set designs, costumes, and props. Fright Fest runs September 14–October 28, but definitely save visits for older kids, especially in the evening.

Taking place on October 13, Chalk It Up is a fabulous, kid-friendly event set in the middle of Houston Street—literally. ArtPace invites artists to create mind-boggling, compelling murals on the street solely out of—you guessed it!—chalk. The nice thing about this is that have “freestyle zones” so that when your kids get inspired, they can actually create their own murals. Let them get their creativity out on the pavement instead of at home on your wall! To read more about this annual event, check out Amy’s post from the archives.

La Villita presents Día de Los Muertos is an interactive way to expose children to this Hispanic tradition that has been embraced by popular culture. (Disney’s Coco would be fun to watch before attending!) Over two days (October 27–28), you can be part of dance and music processions, help build altars, listen to live music, and shop.

Looking for lights, color, music, and fireworks? You don’t have to wait until New Year’s Eve! Check out the 10th Annual Diwali Festival of Lights on November 3rd in Hemisfair Park. Diwali showcases Indian culture and traditions with performances, a River parade, arts and crafts vendors, and a release of floating candles. You can also get crazy and try out Bollywood Zumba, get a henna tattoo, and dance the night away. Diwali rages on from 5:00 P.M. until midnight, so prepare the kiddos for a long outing to see the fireworks. As with any outing in Hemisfair, you will have to pay to park and have a short walk ahead of you.

These are my favorite ways to welcome fall with my family in the Alamo City.
What are yours? Please share in the comments!

Before she had kids, Stacey would have described herself as an alternative rock lover, bibliophile, foodie and adventure seeker. She started her career working as a DJ at radio stations, then as a news reporter and somehow ended up in advertising and marketing. But now, she identifies as all of those things but in addition, she is a mom. Stacey has two boys (4 and 7) and her eldest is high-functioning Autistic. She is sensitive and aware of the challenges and opportunities moms with special needs kids have. Plus, she has two nieces (when she needs girl time) and a big old Golden Retriever named Bolt. Stacey's currently working part-time at an ad agency.