Deciding where to go on vacation is a major decision especially when there are 3 generations to make happy. So over the next several posts you will see what we did, how we did it and how it turned out.
In the past my daughters have gone to Florida’s Gulf Coast, but after talking with their kids, they decided San Antonio was the place they wanted to visit, so they called The Texas Travelin’ Man (they don’t call me that) and asked my opinion. The only drawback was that one of them had to drive 11 hours (from Gulfport, MS) and the other 10 hours (from Slidell). When they said that was no problem, I said it was the perfect place for all of us. (I do have to say, they made this decision prior to the Oil Gusher in the Gulf.)
So after my kids and their kids went online to look at the major attractions in San Antonio, I was asked to put the trip together.
We had 4 full days to enjoy San Antonio and I’m telling you right up front, that’s not enough time. Here was our itinerary:
Day 1: SeaWorld
Day 2: Six Flags
Day 3: San Antonio Zoo and friend’s pool (their pool is not listed in any of the brochures)
Day 4: Natural Bridge Caverns, Splashtown & farewell dinner at The Tower of the Americas
The word for the week was "Awesome." After the rides and during the shows, the only word that expressed their feelings was Awesome!
So the journey begins.
I scoured the internet to try to find the best deal on a hotel. My criteria was a hotel that was convenient to everything, family friendly and cost effective. I am somewhat familiar with the San Antonio hotels as my good friends have been in the hotel industry in San Antonio forever.
- My first choice was a Hilton brand hotel, but their rates were not what I wanted.
- My second choice was a Marriott brand hotel and I found one that fit the bill. The Springhill Suites by Marriott, Medical Center, Six Flags. The rate was $89/night for a suite with complimentary hot continental breakfast (make your own waffles), indoor (small) pool, free local calls and free internet. It’s located on I-10 just 10 minutes from Six Flags, 25 minutes from SeaWorld, 20 minutes from downtown and 35 minutes from Natural Bridge Caverns. This is a limited service hotel, and there were some challenges with housekeeping (but now-a-days with limited staffing, many hotels have the same problems). That being said, the hotel is one of the newer ones, the suites were very spacious, clean and I would return.
Also, if you know someone in San Antonio, have them visit one of the hotels closest to them. In the lobby they will find a rack of brochures with discount coupons. Have them mail you these brochures. There are several sites that you can find online to get these discount coupons as well. Always go to the website of the attraction you plan to visit where you will find all the latest information and possibly discount coupons.
Back to the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. They have a program called S.A.V.E., which stands for San Antonio Vacation Experience. This is one of the most comprehensive places to find discounts to hotels and attractions.
Day 1 – SeaWorld
Please see the blog I posted on July 8, 2010 as it will give you plenty of information to help you experience SeaWorld to its fullest.
We arrived at SeaWorld as the gates opened and left after the final show which was Azul. This was on a Friday and the lines were not as bad as I expected. We decided not to do the Quick Queue Pass and the longest wait we had was about 1 hour for the Rio Loco Raft Ride. If you read my previous post about Azul, I raved about how great it was. I was told the last show which began at 8:45 pm was even better. It was. The colors, the energy of the performers and the crowd, were the best I’ve seen.
The favorite ride at SeaWorld was Journey to Atlantis. They rode it 3 times. It was the first ride when we arrived at the park (we had to wait about 15 minutes until the ride opened), but we went right on (and it was the last ride of the day before Azul.)
Believe it or not, we ran out of time and didn’t see everything we wanted to see at SeaWorld. If you want to do it right, without rushing, take 2 days to see and do everything SeaWorld has to offer.
Check back next week as I’ll be sharing days 2 (Six Flags) and 3 (San Antonio Zoo).
Who is that mapped man? It’s the Texas Travelin’ Man.