Just 50 miles from San Antonio , the small town of Fredericksburg was once another world. Unlike San Antonio's Spanish beginnings, Fredericksburg was founded by Germans in 1846. Mostly liberal, educated Prussians, the settlers were granted land for a farm and a small holding in the town.
In the beginning a single church, known as the Vereins's Kirche - the Society Church - served all the different groups of the community - even the Catholics- each taking their turn for their services. As the settlement prospered, the different denomination built their own church and the Verein's Kirche eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished in the 1930s. Now rebuilt, the church is both a distinctive landmark in the town and an interesting little museum.
Vereins Kirche Museum
Centre of Marktplatz in the 100 block of W. Main
Open: Monday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm, Sunday 1 - 4 pm
The Pioneer Museum, just a couple of blocks further down Main Street, tells of the lives of those pioneers. Housed in a lovingly restored collection of original buildings from the town and the surrounding district - farmhouses, a Sunday house, a schoolhouse, a barn, a store, etc, all set in several acres of gardens planted with native and historically accurate plants and trees- it is a delight, full of domestic detail and charm. A short explanation of the museum is given as you enter, after that you are free to wander as you like.
309 W. Main St.
Open Monday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday 1 - 5 pm
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is home to over 500 animals from around the world.
As you enter the ranch you will see the giraffees on one side and a petting zoo on the other. Park your car and walk up to the cages where you will see lemurs, macaws, goats, and other animals. You can even go in the cage with the baby goats and pet them.
For obvious reasons, the Alamo is usually the first tourist spot that many tourist want to visit and second would be the River Walk. Well, for myself I wanted to see the Spanish Governors Palace. This was contrusted before the Alamo, before Texas declared their independance and was the Capital building for the region Tejas, better know as Texas. Built to be a Presidio in 1722 for the military and Capitian who usually functioned as the Governor, it's duty was to protect Mission de Valero (Alamo) and the community of Villa de Bejar and Villa de San Fernando (San Antonio). It was ordered by the King of Spain in 1772 to become the new Capital of Texas and serve as a government building until 1821 when the Spanish government ended. It was very intereting to visit the facility and to be able to actual walk through it by myself. Some very old furnishings and exhibits and I found being at such peach inside the chapel. I think it is well worth seeking it out!
Located 105 Plaza de Armas.
Brackenridge Park was first established in 1899 and sits alongside the scenic San Antonio River. Not only are there picnic areas, but the San Antonio Zoo, Japanese Tea Gardens and a beloved children's train are contained within its 343 acres. The Witte Museum sits on a portion of it, as well.
The San Antonio Zoo is said to be one of the best zoos in the United States. It comprises 56 acres and is home to endangered whooping cranes.
The Japanese Tea gardens offer koi, quiet walkways and lovely bridges. The gardens were created by prisoners and townspeople donated plants for this purpose. Archeologists have suggested that this site has been occupied by people for over 11,000 years.
The miniature train travels over 3 miles of track throughout the park and is a popular ride for children visiting Brackenridge Park.
George W. Brackenridge of Austin donated land for the park. He had moved to San Antonio in 1866 and along with his mother, purchased property along the river. Mr. Brackenridge developed a system of waterworks which supplied San Antonio.
The Witte museum (1926) is located at one end of the park.
All in all, it seems that the residents of San Antonio have been given a wonderful treasure!
Natural Bridge Caverns is located just a few miles from San Antonio and is worth the drive.
A 75-minute tour takes you through a half-mile of the largest and most spectacular show cavern in Texas.
The temperature is 70+ and humidity 90+ percent so it is not cool in these caverns.
It is steep and wet in places so wear your sneakers.
Fredericksburg, in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, is hardly the place you would expect to find a museum dedicated to a story of American Navy in perhaps its finest hour - the huge theatre of the Pacific in WWII.
The town was the birthplace of Fleet Admiral Chester W.Nimitz, and the museum is partially housed in a hotel that was purchased by Admiral Nimitz's grandfather in 1855, itself an important Texas landmark that could tell many tales of the historical figures who stayed there. The museum has long since outgrown the distinctive building though, and now occupies a 9 acre site, designated a State Historic Site.
The only museum in the United States that is dedicated exclusively to this story, the museum really brings the war in the Pacific to life, with excellent exhibits, incredibly realistic dioramas, film and sound.
The museum's extraordinary steamboat superstructure makes it impossible to miss as you come into town.
The National Museum of the Pacific War
328 E. Main St.
Fredericksburg TX 78624
I do not know if you are familiar with the tradition of the Tussaud's, but many of their museums are located across the country and across world in fact. This museum boast 225 life like figures that represent many popular individuals of past or present day by giving each figure complete attention to detail of all there character features. Its unbelievable how life like they are. So check it out!
301 Alamo Plaza, San Antonio, TX 78205
Across From The Alamo
The first stone was laid in 1738 making this the first parish in Texas and additions continued until 1974 being named the diocese by Pope Pius IX. Fifteen families of fifty five pioneers arrived in "La Villa de San Fernando" making Texas their new home. Thus from its simple beginnings it has become the center piece of the down town area of San Antonio and a steadfast reminder of where they come from. It’s been visited by Pope John Paul II, President Lyndon Johnson, and several other important figures. Today it manages 4,000 participants who attend masses, 900 baptism, 100 weddings, 70 funerals, and many other types of events or celebrations. I know for myself, I made a point to walk down to this area to catch a look at this wonderful gem that has held steadfast over time.
Visit www.sanfernando275.org for Anniversary Information!
115 Main Plaza
San Antonio, Texas 78205 U.S.A.
As you wonder either to and from the downtown area, enjoy many of the historic buildings that surround a square or plaza topped off with a beautiful fountain. The Bexar County Courthouse 1731-1978 is just on of many structures that are truely buildings of art. As quoted from a web page listed below: "The Wharton Independent, in 1888 observed: "It has been truly said that the glory of a people is inspired by the genius of their institutions, by the monuments they build and the edifices they erect . . . How well it is then, in this era of progress, that we people of Wharton should set up in our gateway a structure that shall proclaim to the world our advanced ideas, our high conception of patriotism, and our love for the beautiful in art . . . Build, build high this temple of justice, that the virtues of our people may endure forever." I think this illustrates the pride of past, present, and future citizens of San Anotonio have for their city.
Located Main Plaza, San Antonio TX 78205
The Wildlife Ranch and the Natural Cavern are almost side by side, a short drive from San Antonio.
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is home to over 500 animals from around the world. See, feed, and photograph to your heart's content while you drive through this picturesque, Texas Hill Country ranch.
You are given one sack of food per carload and extra sacks are available for purchase.
As you drive around on the gravel road the animals come to the car to be fed. Watch your sack though because they will try to grab it.
The young kids love this place.
From San Antonio, it is only a couple of hours drive southward, to Corpus Christi, on the Gulf Coast, or to Laredo, on the Mexican border... Or you can head northward through the German community of New Braunfels, into the hill country, and on to the old German community of Fredricksburg. You can also visit Luckenbach, Texas, that tiny town made famous by country music stars Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
Facing the back of City Hall, this was the original seat of government in the early 1700s. Commandants of Presidio de Bexar and many Spanish governors lived and ruled in the 10-room abode-walled structure. The building with hand carved doors, low-beam ceilings, a grape arbor and a mosaic-tiled patio is typical of colonial Spain. The entryway displays a keystone carved with the Hapsburg coat-of-arms. Several rooms are furnished in period.
The Spanish Governor's Palace is maintained by the city of San Antonio as a museum and is open to the public. It is located at 105 Military Plaza.
The Ursuline Sisters who founde San Antonio's first school for girls in 1851 would surely be pleased to see their beautiful old convent alive once more with learning. The sisters may have moved on but the historic campus has become the Southwest School of Art and Craft. Visitors are welcome whether their interest is in the work that is being done there now or in the graceful architecture of the limestone buildings, the beautiful chapel with some of the original stained glass windows, and the tranquil gardens and courtyards. As well as a changing programme of exhibitions there's a cafe, a Gallery Shop and a small museum. Guided tours of the complex are on offer too. This is a lovely, peaceful place, well worth seeking out when you are in San Antonio.
Address: 300 Augusta, San Antonio TX 78205
Guided tours (Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. by appointment)
Exhibitions open: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday- Saturday; 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday.
Visitors Center Museum open 10 a.m.- 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday; 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Sunday. Shop open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday.
This is a very beautifully scupltor and is located in Alamo Plaza on South Alamo and East Crockett Streets, designed by Carlton Adams before Coppini was chosen as sculptor the Cenotaph reads:
"Erected in Memory of the Heroes who sacrificed their lives at the Alamo, March 6, 1836 in the defense of Texas, "They chose never to surrender nor retreat, these brave hearts with flag still proudly waving perished in the flames of immortality that their high sacrifice might lead to the founding on this Texas." There was debate on why a Cenotaph was choosen as memorial since it is not totally clear why there were no survivors and it has been believed that if any of the men did survive they were put to death right after battle (although is has been documented that some family members did survive the battle) or believe their bodies where piled high and burned and buried tragically. (The Greek words kenos, (empty) and taphos, (tomb) - cenotaphs are tombs or monuments erected to honor a person or persons whose remains are elsewhere or their whereabouts unknown.)
So interesting to learn so much from readings and my travels of what I find and photograph!
As we finished up our tour of the King William District, we noticed a walkway meandering along the narrow San Antonio River. Since it was a pleasant day and we had a few minutes to spare, we made the decision to explore the area a bit.
There were more than a few ducks, geese and cormorants lazily paddling in the water. Soon we were greeted by a jogger and then a fellow walker, as we followed the paved path along the river.
A woman tossing bread to the ducks came into view, then this pretty view of the bridge reflected in the water.
FYI: This walkway was situated along Guenther Street near the Water Authority and the Guenther House.