Do the words “supply chain issues” have you quaking in worry about Christmas shopping? Does the thought of more stuff/clutter and too many toys that don’t get played with cause you to twitch? Worry no more and use San Antonio experiences to fill your gift lists! More than a gift card, experiences give everyone the opportunity to do something they love with the people they love: a win-win for everyone. Even better: they’re local, easily available, and include year-round adventures.
The San Antonio experience ideas below include something for everyone and are sure to bring smiles to everyone on your list. And if you’re worried about how to wrap the experience, don’t be: pair it with something small that helps bring the experience to life. If you’re giving a zoo membership, pair it with a stuffed animal; annual passes/tickets to Schlitterbahn can be paired with a beach towel; a state park annual pass can be paired with a book about hiking; and an art class can be paired with art supplies to keep the art lover busy.
For Animal Lovers
Whether it’s tickets for a day or an annual pass, give a wild gift that includes lions, tigers, and bears. You can get a family pack of tickets for a favorite family, upgrade to combo tickets to include Kiddie Park fun, or give someone a wild year through an annual pass. Or let them go behind the scenes to meet animals at the zoo.
Home to more than 500 animals, Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is a great destination for animal lovers. Gift cards are available and a visit to Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is definitely a terrific adventure.
Have a bat lover in your family? Help them witness the largest known concentration of mammals on earth take flight to grab their dinner on a summer night. That’s 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats, just north of San Antonio, and you can see them. Members get priority access to viewing the bats at Bracken Cave, an experience that sells out each summer.
If you have a sea lover, SeaWorld is a good destination to enjoy sharks, dolphins, penguins, and more. Annual passes are available with a variety of options. Good to know: in recent years, the park has offered Texas residents ages three to five free preschool passes to SeaWorld. They’ve also offered special educator tickets/passes. However, there is no way to know if that offer will be extended again or what the details of the offer may be.
For Adventure Lovers
From indoor go-karting to a two-level laser tag arena and a ropes course, there’s something for everyone at Andretti. And gift cards are available, making it easy to gift a day of fun.
Another option for go-karting adventures, with gift cards available to make speed lovers happy.
Blow every other gift away with indoor skydiving fun, with multiple gift packages available.
From Holiday in the Park to summer fun in the waterpark, along with thrill rides, family rides, and kid rides, gift doses of adrenaline and fun with single-day tickets or annual passes.
Another option for roller coasters is SeaWorld. Annual passes are available that include both SeaWorld and Aquatica, adding water fun to your gift. Passes for Aquatica are available, too, so if water thrills are on your gift list, Aquatica is a great option.
“The hottest, coolest time in Texas,” Schlitterbahn is the perfect summer diversion for anyone who enjoys a wide range of water fun. With everything from the littlest kiddie pools to surfing and serious waterpark fun, Schlitterbahn is routinely voted America’s number one waterpark for a reason. Season passes are available and discounted before the season begins, so holiday deals are available. Schlitterbahn opens for spring break, so don’t worry about a delay to your gift—water fun will be here before you know it.
Let the kiddos on your list climb to new heights with indoor bouldering at Armadillo Boulders. Their youth program is a terrific way to get kids into a new sport. Gift cards are available for their San Antonio location and both a youth program and gift cards are coming to the San Marcos location.
Designed for those with special needs but fun for everyone, Morgan’s Wonderland includes Morgan’s Inspiration Waterpark, with membership that includes both parks. The rides and the water fun are safe and accessible for all, making this one-of-a-kind park a great gift.
America’s oldest children’s amusement park started right here in San Antonio in 1925 and is still going strong in a new location next to the San Antonio Zoo. Many moms remember going there as kids and now enjoy taking their children to ride the rides and have some old-fashioned fun. Unlimited ride bands, and a full package that includes zoo admission, are available.
From deep below ground to 60 feet in the air, Natural Bridge has cavern tours, ziplining, an adventure course, climbing, mazes, and more. There are no gift cards available, but you can buy tickets online (and save!) in advance for a fun surprise.
For Gamers (and Full Family Fun)
Andretti (above) is an option, but you can also make a gamer smile with gift cards to play at Main Event, where you can find games, bowling, and laser tag, as well as Santikos Cibolo (games, bowling, laser tag, and movies!), or EVO (games, bowling, and movies, too). The whole family can have fun bowling and playing laser tag, then enjoy a movie together.
For Hands-on Fun
A membership to the DoSeum (various levels available) gives you year-round fun, with education cleverly disguised as a good time. Members receive discounts on birthday parties, camps, and more, as well as special members-only hours and activities.
For the brick lover in your life, gift a year of LEGO adventure right on the River Walk. Annual passes are available and you can upgrade the pass to include SEA LIFE San Antonio (read more on SEA LIFE here). Gift tickets are also available. (And there’s no doubt about the best way to wrap them: with a LEGO set of course!)
Also the perfect gift for any dino lover, the Witte offers a range of history, science, dinosaurs, and fun. Memberships are great for families and make the perfect educational and fun gift for kids.
Truly littles (eight and under) will have fun on a short trip north to New Braunfels. McKenna offers wonderful activities to keep kids busy (and learning!) in an environment that’s easy for moms. In other words, you can sit in one area and keep an eye on multiple kids without a problem—a gift for Mom and the littles. Memberships are available.
For Theater Lovers
Know a theater fan or music lover? Want to get fantastic theater tickets without dealing with online purchasing or crazy phone waits? The best benefit of Las Casas membership is its ticket-buying service for members. Tickets to any show at the beautiful Majestic Theatre or its gorgeous sister, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, can be purchased through Las Casas Foundation and, rather than paying Ticketmaster fees, your purchase benefits its annual scholarship fund. We’ve also enjoyed Broadway shows and concerts and the membership, as well as a portion of ticket purchases made through Las Casas, is tax-deductible.
For Art Lovers (or Future Art Lovers)
A fantastic way to get littles interested in art, the San Antonio Art Museum features family programming and terrific special exhibits for the whole family to enjoy. Memberships are tax-deductible and give unlimited admission to the museum and all special exhibits, discounts in the gift shop, and more.
Perfect for those who enjoy cowboy life, art, and more, the Briscoe includes a variety of Western art and artifacts, ranching history, and more for junior cowboys and cowgirls to explore. We’ve celebrated the National Day of the Cowboy there, roamed through the sculpture garden, and learned all about spurs (those on your boots, not on the basketball court). Check out this post to learn more about how the Briscoe is fun for kids. Memberships here could be a good gift for some of the big folks on your gift list, too.
A true treasure, the McNay Art Museum was the first museum of modern art in Texas, and its 20,000+ piece collection is fantastic. The grounds are beautiful—and a great destination for a picnic before or after you explore the museum. Memberships make it easy to enjoy the museum year-round.
With multiple San Antonio locations (The Forum, Northwest, Alamo Heights, Artisan’s Alley), it’s easy to do a family paint night. Each location offers its own schedule and gift cards, so check out the one closest to the art lover on your list.
For High Energy Fun
Keeping kids moving is always a good thing, so high-energy fun like a trip to a trampoline park is a great gift year-round. You can do monthly memberships, frequent jumper cards, gift cards, or passes to pre-pay for jumping time at any of the great spots in San Antonio: Airtopia Adventure Park, Altitude Trampoline Park, Urban Air (multiple locations: Northeast SA, New Braunfels, Park North, South), and Rush Fun Park (San Antonio, Universal City). Added bonus: many of these spots offer indoor ziplining, ropes courses, and rock climbing walls, upping the adventure.
For Dino Lovers
The Witte is always a hit with fans of all things dinosaur, but you can also get dinosaur thrills at the Dinosaur Park, a fun day trip that offers “dino dollars” as gift cards that are good for admission or for any of the great dinosaur merchandise they carry. And for dino fun your future paleontologist can enjoy at home, Dinosaur George is the perfect gift. The Dinosaur George Club has multiple membership options starting at $1 a month. Monthly live lessons come straight to your favorite dinosaur lover and thanks to George’s humor and ability to connect with dino fans of all ages, they’ll never get bored.
For Outdoor Fun
There’s always something growing at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. (See what I did there?) But truly, the garden is a great place to explore and learn (I’m always sneaking that in, aren’t I??) while enjoying nature. Memberships include unlimited admission to the garden, free admission to many special events, and special members-only activities, as well as discounts to classes and camps.
There’s always an adventure waiting outdoors and Texas State Parks never disappoint. San Antonio is close to a number of parks, and you don’t have to be a big outdoors person to enjoy them. Whether it’s a short hike or a dip in the river, it’s easy to explore and enjoy all that our state parks have to offer. For budding hikers and outdoors enthusiasts, a state park pass makes a great gift, or buy a gift card that can be used to cover park entry fees for that next great adventure.
For Digital Lovers
Get kids coding with Code Ninjas (multiple locations: Alamo Ranch, Stone Oak, Cibolo). From day camps to monthly coding classes where kids work to build their skills and earn belts (like martial arts, but with computers), Code Ninjas is a great option to gift.
For Sports Fans
Fun no matter how well you hit, Top Golf is a great family outing or a fun bonding time. The food is good and no one laughs if you don’t hit well. Gift cards are an easy way to give an afternoon of fun year-round.
This one really needs no explanation. Gift tickets to any home game and know that you’re creating memories that will last a lifetime. (Go Spurs Go!) Add in some Spurs merch and you’ll really score.
Cooking classes are a great way to encourage kids to feed an interest in culinary arts. Young Chefs Academy has a range of classes (with gift cards available). Central Market offers some parent and child classes, as does The Culinary Cottage. Pair a gift card with an apron and get future chefs ready for time in the kitchen.