5 Things to Do in San Antonio that Aren’t Fiesta

Fiesta fills San Antonio with fun – but not everyone is into San Antonio’s biggest party of the year. If you’re looking to avoid San Antonio’s Fiesta frenzy, there are many alternatives to get out and enjoy. Consider these 5 things to do that aren’t Fiesta – you can still enjoy the season, even if you’re not sporting medals, showing anyone your shoes, or hunting for chicken on a stick.

Keep in mind that the Fiesta frenzy can change traffic patterns (parade routes) and that some events may alter museum or attraction schedules and parking. For example, much of the city is closed on April 26 for the Battle of Flowers Parade, and parking around Hemisfair can be difficult during A Night in Old San Antonio.

Even if you are into celebrating San Antonio’s party with a purpose, add these things to do that aren’t Fiesta to your to-do list – and be sure to check out ¿Que Pasa San Antonio? for more scoop on things to do in the Alamo City.

1. Step into the Ice Age at the Zoo

Experience a journey through time at San Antonio Zoo’s newest attraction, Giants of the Ice Age! This immersive experience brings 10 larger-than-life Ice Age creatures that once roamed the earth to life, from towering woolly mammoths to the mighty saber-toothed tiger. Explore their fascinating adaptations of these ancient animals. There are also specialty food options and photo ops for everyone to enjoy – including a ride down the giant Ice Age slide, and an adventurous obstacle course. The exhibition is tucked behind the zoo parking garage at the San Antonio Safari and Adventure Park through May 5. And the great news? The adventure is included with standard zoo admission and is FREE for members.

2. Get Medieval at SAMA

a shiney metal suit of armor featured inside a museum display… in a suit of armor, that is! Step back into the age of knights and see the amazing metal work and artistry in more than 80 works that feature an array of armor and weapons from late medieval and early modern Europe on display at the San Antonio Museum of Art’s fantastic spring exhibition, “The Age of Armor:  Treasures from the Higgins Armory Collection at the Worcester Art Museum.”

Full suits of armor – and other artefacts – help trace the evolution of armor in the 1300s and 1400s, in tandem with developments in metalworking technology and advances in weaponry. The exhibition includes fun, hands-on lessons to engage visitors (yes, you can play with chainmail) and includes how some modern heroes like the Mandalorian and Iron Man use armor, too. The exhibition is on view through May 12.

3. Make a Splash at SeaWorld and Aquatica

an overhead view of a water coaster at Seaworld
Catapult Falls, image courtesy of SeaWorld

Come out of your shell at SeaWorld’s new Aldabra Island, a new habitat where you can see Aldabra tortoises. The Seven Seas Food Festival also runs through May 27, with more than 100 tasty delights to enjoy throughout the park. What’s more, Catapult Falls – the world’s first launched flume coaster – is also now open!

For more fun, check out Aquatica, SeaWorld’s sister park, where you can enjoy the new Tikitapu Splash, a multi-level interactive water play structure that has dumping buckets, slides and over 100 new water-play elements. It’s 15,000 square feet of fun sure to make everyone smile.

4. Explore the West at the Briscoe

A rider and horse bronze statue at the Briscoe Western Art MuseumSaddle up and head west at the Briscoe Western Art Museum to see the art and artefacts that bring the west to life. Western art is far more than boots, cattle and cowboys. It’s scenic landscapes, stunning sculpture and amazing animals, all brought to life through art. Through May 5, the Briscoe’s annual Night of Artists Exhibition and Sale features more than 280 works by today’s top Western artists. One of the premier Western Art exhibitions in the world, Night of Artists features new works of painting, sculpture and mixed media by 86 leading contemporary Western artists. Once the exhibition concludes, the works join private collections, making Night of Artists the only opportunity to view the collection.

If you haven’t been to the Briscoe, check out their monthly programming, which includes free admission for San Antonio residents on the first Sunday of every month. There’s also hands-on programming and fun during Full STEAM Ahead (also the same day) or the Storytime Stampede on the third Saturday of the month. Children 12 and under and active duty military members always receive free admission to the Briscoe, making it a great family destination.

5. Survive Space at the Witte

children playing in a space capsule with dad looking on
Courtesy of Scitech

A new, out-of-this-world exhibition brings a whole space lab full of scientific discovery and fun to the Witte Museum. Experience life as an astronaut, see real NASA artifacts—including the flight suit worn by Dr. Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman to go to space—and learn how scientists are defending Earth from future asteroid impacts. Surviving Space: Astronauts & Asteroids is on display now through September 2.

The exhibition explores what happens when mysterious objects from space collide with Earth. Travel back 66 million years to the time when Cretaceous Texas had a front-row seat to the arrival of the massive meteorite that wiped out 75% of all life on Earth, ending the reign of the dinosaurs. Go on to explore the physical and mental challenges involved in space exploration! That includes experiencing g-force, conducting maintenance on a space station and the realities of showering, sleeping and using the bathroom in space.

Want more ideas to pack some non-Fiesta fun into your schedule? Check out these state parks, enjoy the outdoors, or do some family hiking. No matter what you do, enjoy the season in San Antonio and don’t miss these San Antonio “Musts”.

An Army brat who came to Texas for college and ultimately managed to make the Lone Star State her permanent home, Dawn became a mom “AMA” (advanced maternal age), giving her the opportunity to use a stroller vs. a walker as she navigates the world of motherhood. Her growing up way too fast native Texan loves all things Star Wars, Legos, dinosaurs and keeping his parents on their toes. When she’s not busy parenting the original strong-willed child, Dawn runs Tale to Tell Communications, a San Antonio-based PR and marketing agency. An award-winning writer, Dawn also contributes to San Antonio Woman, Rio Magazine and Texas Lifestyle Magazine. She and her family enjoy exploring all that San Antonio has to offer, going on adventures and playing tourist together as much as possible. Favorite Restaurant: Clementine Favorite Landmark: The beauty of the River Walk, especially La Villita Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Celebrating anything and everything with color, music and food