Planning Your Next Family Vacation: Best Amusement Parks in San Antonio

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Amusement parks, also known as theme parks, are one of the best ways to enjoy family fun while you’re on vacation with your loved ones. Not only is there always plenty to do and see, but there’s plenty to do and see for every age group. Some tourists aren’t very fond of theme parks and complain that they might be overcrowded or maybe even overpriced; however, upon seeing the joy on your little one’s face when they see their favorite character or experience their first roller coaster ride, all the potential downfalls of amusement parks soon seem irrelevant.

For those of you thinking about planning your upcoming family getaway, consider San Antonio, Texas for your next destination. From the River Walk, countless bars and restaurants, and a lively downtown scene, there’s plenty for activities for adults to enjoy—but, with three great amusement parks, including Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, there’s also a lot of family fun to be had. Read on to find out more about each of these popular San Antonio attractions.

Photo credit: RedTail_Panther via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Journey to Atlantis at Sea World San Antonio. Photo credit: RedTail_Panther via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

Sea World San Antonio

From sharks, dolphins, eels, penguins, flamingos, and fish galore, to roller coasters, splash down rides, and hilarious shows, this and more is what awaits you at Sea World San Antonio. Your family will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with creatures of the sea, learning about their natural habitats and daily lives of these animals. Visiting Sea World is not just a fun experience, but it’s also an educational experience.

Thrill-seekers can look forward to riding two of the park’s roller coasters: Steel Eel and the Great White. Sea World will add its third roller coaster in Summer 2017 with the additional of the much anticipated, the Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster. Other population park attractions include the One Ocean and Azul dolphin show, as well as the Journey to Atlantis and Rio Loco water rides. Kids will also love the Shamu Express coaster, the Pets Ahoy show, and the Sesame Street Bay of Play area. If you happen to be visiting the park during November or December, you may be able to experience Sea World’s Christmas Celebration, with 5 million lights and appearance by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Be sure to visit Sea World to find out about exclusive deals on tickets, passes, and fun cards, in addition to discounts on parking, Discovery Point Signature Swims, and dining. Sea World also offers hotel vacation packages that include discounts on dining, Quick Queue passes, reserved seating, and much more. You can build your own vacation package, or choose between “Kids Stay & Play Free” or the “Eat Free” packages.

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The Boardwalk at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. Photo credit: BrianMoranHDR via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Extreme thrill-seekers and adventure lovers will find everything they’re looking for at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. There are 10 roller coasters along with plenty of other extreme actions rides including go-karts, the upside down “DerTwister,” the new Hurricane Force 5 and Spinsancity rides at the Boardwalk, the Texas Gunslinger, the SkyScreamer, and of course, the Scream drop zone tower. If you’re in search for something that’s a little less extreme, there are plenty of other family rides, water rides, and kids rides for all levels of riders. The water park is also made up of large pools, a lazy river, and speed slides for the entire family.

Any visit to Six Flags Fiesta isn’t complete without a photo shoot with the Looney Toons bunch: Bugs Bunny, the Tasmanian Devil, Duffy Duck, Sylvester the Cat, Tweety Bird, and all the rest of their friends. Similar to Sea World, Six Flags Fiesta also transforms their park into a winter wonderland during November and December to celebrate Holiday in the Park, along with the addition of the Holiday Express ride and the Majesty of Christmas show. The little ones will be extra excited to visit Santa’s Castle, where they can watch as Santa’s helpers build the toys for all the children across the world.

Six Flags Fiesta also offers special deals on tickets and a variety of different passes. You’ll be able to find dining deals, discounts on photo packages, free parking opportunities and much more. Visit Six Flags Fiesta to find out more information and plan your next visit to the park.

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Blastenhoff Beach at Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort. Photo credit: snippet78 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort (New Braunfels, TX)

Last but not least, the Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort is located just a short drive away from San Antonio. For families looking to get a little wet and wild on their next vacation, Schlitterbahn is the place to go. With over 70 acres, Schlitterbahn is a combination resort and waterpark that includes playgrounds, picnic areas, cabins, suites, studio lofts, vacation homes, and of course, plenty of water rides. As expected, the park is not open year round so it’s important to double check the dates before planning a trip; however, other parts of the resort, particularly the lodging area, are open during the winter, spring, summer and fall.

The Park is split up into a East and West side with over 50 attractions spread out between the two. Unlike many waterparks, Schlitterbahn actually offers Learn to Swim and Challenge Programs. To participant, visitors must purchase a session and then fill out a registration form online. The SchlitterSwim Lessons are offered to ages 3-5 or 6-8, and they’re meant to “help children feel safe and have fun in water.” The SchlitterSwim Challenge, on the other hand, is offered to participants ages 9-14, and is “designed for children who have basic swimming knowledge but want to improve their skills.”

Visit Schlitterbahn Waterpark and Resort to find out more details about each aspect and area of the park. Reservations for lodging can be made up to a year in advance. Guests are also able to reserve poolside cabanas and BBQ palapas that are located in different areas of the property. Like the other amusement parks we’ve discussed, Schlitterbahn offers season passes that provide special discounts and benefits through both the waterpark and resort.

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