Kiddie Park: The History of the Oldest Children’s Amusement Park in the U.S.

Among San Antonio’s many landmarks is a true gem for children and adults alike: The Kiddie Park. Generations of San Antonians have visited this place since it opened in 1925, and it is still bringing fun to its youngest visitors.

With almost 100 operating years, a lot can be said about it, and some even believe that Walt Disney visited this San Antonio treasure as an inspiration for Walt Disney World. Kiddie Park is a fun ride, so let’s review its history and what you need to know before visiting this place with your kiddos.

The History of Kiddie Park

Kiddie Park first opened its doors in 1925 and claims to be the oldest children’s amusement park in the country, as stated on its website.

While some renovations have been made, children can enjoy its original rides, including an old-fashioned Ferris wheel and famous hand-carved Herschell Spillman carousel, as well as other rides like the floating boats and miniature school bus.

As adults, it’s impossible not to feel nostalgic when walking through the park that has preserved its 1920s style. When I first visited it, and even though I didn’t grow up in the Alamo City, it took me on a trip down memory lane imagining all the fun things that have happened there.

The park was originally located at Broadway and East Mulberry Avenue, but in the summer of 2019 the San Antonio Zoo took over operations after more than 90 years at the same location.

Picture of the Kiddie Park at its original location, at Broadway and East Mulberry Avenue, in 2016.

Many famous people have visited the Kiddie Park, including Jenna Bush Hager, daughter of former President George W. Bush, who signed her children’s book Our Great Big Backyard at the park. But it has also been said that the park was once visited by Walt Disney.

“We had always been told that Walt Disney actually visited Kiddie Park when touring the United States to try and figure out how he was going to put together Disney World,” Brent Conger told KSAT in 2019.

Interesting Facts about Kiddie Park

  • The carousel horses are even older than the park itself and were hand-painted and hard-carved before the 1920s.
  • Kiddie Park once had live animal rides. When I first visited in 2016, pony rides were offered at times. In its early days, besides offering pony rides, there were also goat-pulled carts.
  • Former owner Bob Aston was forced by the circumstances to close the park in early 2009, but later that year Ashley and Rad Weaver bought and restored the park and opened it to the public on Labor Day weekend.
  • Ten years later, in 2019, the park was closed during the 4th of July weekend and was moved next to the San Antonio Zoo, to open once again on Labor Day of 2019.

What to Know Before Visiting Kiddie Park

Since the park is next to the San Antonio Zoo, you can plan to park at the new Zoo Parking Garage or the parking lot near the Zoo Train.

Kiddie Park Rides are $3 each, but you can also purchase Unlimited Ride Bands for $14 or get the Unlimited Rides Meal Deal for $16, which includes your choice of one hot dog or one popcorn and one 16 oz beverage.

Most of the rides are primarily designed for children ages 1–12 years old (with no weight or height restrictions), but adults can join in the fun and ride with their child on the carousel and the flying saucers.

Born and raised in the north part of Mexico, Aidée is a mom of two boys who considers San Antonio a great place to raise kids, even though all her family lives on the other side of the border. She speaks only Español at home and tries to teach her boys about their heritage, learning as well about American traditions and having fun adapting to both cultures. Favorite Restaurant: Palenque Grill Favorite Landmark: Mission San Jose Favorite San Antonio Tradition: Rodeo