Social distancing. It’s a term I’d never even heard of until last week. Now it’s the phrase that’s supposed to dictate how we live our lives, at least for right now. I’ve read the articles and watched the visual representations of how the virus spreads. I understand the importance of social distancing. But when you have active children at home, the house starts to feel a little bit smaller every day. Not to mention the fact that I am now their math, reading, history, art, and PE teacher. Sometimes you just have to get out of the house.
Please use your best judgment when deciding to take your family to a public location and always follow the current city, state, and federal restrictions pertaining to leaving your home. If anyone in your family is exhibiting symptoms of sickness, or if you have been exposed to anyone who has, please stay home.
I’ve put together a list of ideas for getting out of the house with your family, while still practicing social distancing. You know your children best. If a park has a playground, and your children will throw an all-out, on the floor tantrum when they have to pass by it to get to the walking trails, choose another park! Talk with them about the importance of keeping our hands to ourselves right now and discuss what types of surfaces might have germs on them before you get there. Set some expectations and then let them explore! Fresh air and sunshine are good for the soul.
San Antonio boasts many beautiful parks, but parks with hiking, walking, and biking trails are especially attractive right now. Why not visit a new park (or parks) and see what you can find? The San Antonio Parks and Recreation web page has a full list of San Antonio parks and the length of the trails at each park. Take note of the following parks with large trail systems:
- Apache Creek Park
- Bamberger Nature Park
- Comanche Lookout Park
- Eisenhower Park
- Friedrich Wilderness Park (Note: no pets allowed)
- The Greenline
- McAllister Park
- Medina River Natural Area
- Mission Parkway Park
- OP Schnabel Park
- Panther Springs Park
- Phil Hardberger Park
- Stone Oak Park
- Walker Ranch Historic Landmark Park
Nature Centers: These locations have lots of room to roam.
- Mitchell Lake Audubon Center ––All indoor areas are currently closed. Entry is free during this time; there will be signage asking you to check-in via your smart phone and maps and a donation box available on the front porch.
- Cibolo Nature Center
State Parks Near San Antonio
- Government Canyon State Natural Area (closed Tuesday-Thursday)*
- Guadalupe River State Park*
- Palmetto State Park*
- Lockhart State Park*
- Blanco State Park*
- Lost Maples State Natural Area*
- Pedernales Falls State Park*
(This may sound strange, but cemeteries can be a wonderful lesson in history! Research where famous Texans in history are buried and go find their graves. A great lesson for older students learning about Texas history!)
- Texas State Cemetery in Austin (Graves include Stephen F. Austin, Barbara Jordan, Chris Kyle, John B. Connally, Susanna Dickinson, Jose Antonio Navarro, among others.) This cemetery has a beautiful, park-like setting with a peaceful pond flowing through the center and a Texas-flag-lined path. You will also find a September 11 monument with pieces from the World Trade Center, monuments dedicated to Texas veterans, and over 2,000 confederate graves.
- Pick up a few plants or seeds the next time you go to a grocery store, and start a garden together.
- Write positive notes on the sidewalk using chalk for neighbors to see on their daily walks.
As we all know, circumstances are changing quickly, and some or all of these locations may be closed at some point in the future. Check web sites for information before visiting. You can also print out park maps and tickets at home to eliminate time spent in the park office. Please use your best judgment when deciding to take your family to a public location. We can not stress it enough: If anyone in your family is exhibiting symptoms of sickness, or if you have been exposed to anyone who has, please stay home.
*Entrance fees apply.