Lesser-Known San Antonio Attractions Worth Seeing

(July 08, 2014) / by Jean Jones

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We’ve all heard of and undoubtedly visited some of San Antonio’s most well-known attractions, like River Walk, SeaWorld, and the Alamo, “must-see” sites that that never disappoint. But today we’d like to introduce you to two of our favorites that might be firsts for many of you. While they’re not as widely recognized as some others, they’re definitely worth visiting!

San Antonio Western Shooting

Have you always wanted to be a cowboy? If so, or if you just want to get a sense of what a Western town was like in the late 1800s, make an appointment to visit San Antonio Western Shooting.

Cowboys and cowgirls at San Antonio Western Shooting teach you the basics of gun safety and use, then let you shoot the antique single-action-style firearm of your choice (revolver, rifle or shotgun) at a number of period silhouettes and reactive targets throughout the venue – all within boundaries that ensure everyone’s safety. The best way to experience your Western Shooting Experience is with four or five others, a group size that allows the cowboy or cowgirls guides to give you lots of instruction, and a little history lesson about Western life and weapons, too.

The attraction is owned and operated by experienced competitive shooters, each of whom is a current member of organizations like the South Texas Pistolaros Cowboy Action Shooting Club and the Single Action Shooting Society. Your safety is their utmost concern (right next to having a great time, that is).

Of the 124 ratings/reviews of San Antonio Western Shooting has had by tripadvisor.com users, all but 3 rated it as “excellent.” One reviewer wrote, “Some experiences can’t be duplicated – this is one of them.”

A couple rules that should make you feel even safer while you are there: alcohol is not permitted, there are no reenactments of fast draws or face-offs, no firing of client-provided ammunition, and no walking around with firearms – clients must stay behind designated firing lines at all times.

For an overview of the rules and safety features and to make an appointment to visit San Antonio Western Shooting, go to the website.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

For an activity that’s a little less action-packed, try the San Antonio Botanical Garden (SABG), where you can stroll at your leisure while taking in the vibrant colors and lovely aromas of thousands of flowers and plants.

The SABG features both formal and display gardens within its 33 acres. The formal gardens change seasonally to showcase different varieties, and the display gardens include an Old Fashioned Garden where you’ll see some older flower varieties not common in gardens today, a Rose Garden, a Sensory Garden, and the Kumamoto En Garden that gives visitors a glimpse of a typical Japanese garden.

You’ll also get a chance to walk through the Sacred Garden, the Shade Garden, and a section devoted to plants and flowers of Texas, featuring those of the hill country, high plains, and the desert. All the gardens are along winding paths that lead you from one to the next.

But plants aren’t the only things you’ll see at SABG; there’s also a log cabin and an adobe house, fountains, and art exhibits that, like the plantings, change regularly so that each time you go you’ll likely see something new.

Those who enjoy birding will have a field day at SABG: the botanical garden birding checklist includes more than 200 species commonly sighted at the garden.

The SABG also is home to Sullivan Carriage House (now used as the entrance to the garden), a building originally constructed in 1896 and moved, brick by brick, to the site in 1988, then fully restored in 1995. Its former stables and carriage house contain the garden’s restaurant, Anne Marie’s Carriage House Bistro, and a gift shop.

These are just two of our favorite places to visit, and to take out-of-town guests… what are yours? We’d love to hear from residents about attractions they’ve been impressed with, whether they’re popular tourist sites or more “off the beaten path” experiences.

Stay tuned to our blog for more posts about activities and attractions we think you’ll find entertaining, educational, interesting – or just plain fun!  

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Topics: Moving to San Antonio, City Culture


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