Teaching Our Children To Love And Appreciate San Antonio

Tricentennial celebrations are in full swing with an array of events spanning history and education, arts and culture, community service and finally, a look into our city’s future.
It’s an exciting time in San Antonio, but this rare, 300-year event is about more than just celebrations.

It’s about embracing everything San Antonio has to offer, and there has never been a better time to instill a sense of appreciation for community and city history in our children.

There is so much more to our beloved city than can be taught in a classroom, and the best way
to harness a love for our home is to get our children out there and experiencing it for themselves. From historical points of interest to modern art exhibitions and festivals, San Antonio is presenting to the world the culturally rich and expansive layers on which it is built. The only challenge that exists is deciding where to start.

So where do you start?
Three important aspects of the Tricentennial celebration are our city’s past, present and  future. There are a number of events covering each area that are family-friendly, and all are great ways to rediscover our city. If you’re ready to give your children more reasons to love San Antonio, here are some age-appropriate ideas to get you started:

Ages 0-5

Past: Get right to the heart of it! With so much to see and do, your little ones will love a walk through downtown, and it’s a great way to expose children to the history and culture of San Antonio. Whether you’re stopping to read inscriptions at the River Walk, giving a short explanation on the significance of the Alamo, touring the Missions, shopping around El Mercado or catching a performance at Arneson River Theatre, you are exposing them to everything that is significant and unique about San Antonio. Getting them familiar with these places, images and culture is a great way to begin instilling an appreciation for their city. They’ll start to recognize it as home.

Present: Pack up your little ones and head over to Port San Antonio on April 21 to celebrate Fiesta de los Niños. Your little ones will love to experience a day created especially for them by their city. This family-friendly cultural celebration is part of San Antonio’s Fiesta and is a great way for little ones to partake in the festivities.

Future: The DoSeum focuses on helping to develop what’s most important to our future — our children. It’s a great place for kids in San Antonio to learn while having fun, and their Maker Programs and STEM-centered exhibits are setting up San Antonio’s youngest for success in the future.

Ages 6-8

Past: Take a tour of the San Antonio Missions National Park and embark on a scavenger hunt with your little San Antonian. This self-guided historical journey will help children to understand the history of our city. A scavenger hunt activity book can be picked up at the Visitor Center or found online at https://www.nps.gov/saan/learn/kidsyouth/index.htm. Upon completion, children earn a Junior Ranger badge and gain a wealth of knowledge of the history of San Antonio!

Present: Stop by the San Antonio Museum of Art and check out the Spring Break Family Day: City Colorific on March 13. This event includes free admission to the museum, Tricentennial-themed family activities and an exhibition of unique visual art pieces that tell a story of San Antonio’s past, present or future created by students in grades K-12.

Future: Support the Junior League of San Antonio and take part in the ¡VIVA! San Antonio Race, a competitive 5k/10k walking event for adults and 1k for kids at Hemisfair Park. Following the race is a family-friendly celebration complete with entertainment, food and drink. This event is registered with the Mayor’s Fitness Council and is part of an initiative to transform San Antonio into a healthier and more active community.

Ages 9-12

Past: Chances are that your child has already been to the Alamo, but have they experienced the battle? Have you? For a chance to experience the battle and view 250-plus artifacts recovered from it, head over to Rivercenter Mall and check out Battle for Texas: The Experience. This interactive adventure takes you back in time to “experience” the historic battle. For more information, go to http://battlefortexas.com.

Present: On April 29, stop by Alamo Stadium to see 300 Years of San Antonio — 5ft At A Time, an exhibition of 1,500 feet of artwork created by 300 San Antonio schools, each commemorating one year in San Antonio’s 300-year history within 5 feet of space.

Future: Building a strong community means helping each other out. Check out the San Antonio Food Bank for volunteer opportunities, and have your child give back to the community. They’ll come to appreciate all of the hard work and kindness they see from fellow citizens, and they’ll be happy to know they’re making a difference in their community, too.

Ages 13+

Past: Stop by the Witte Museum and check out Confluence and Culture: 300 Years of San Antonio History. This experience includes a look at artifacts, a gallery theater and interactive experiences that display how early Spanish settlement influenced San Antonio to become what it is today.
Present: Common Currents is an exhibition of 300 works of art by 300 artists, each commemorating one of the 300 years of San Antonio’s existence. This is a wonderful exhibition to help your older ones appreciate San Antonio’s modern-day artists.

Future: The San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT) is a great destination for families to see the progress that has been made in science and technology and get a glimpse of where San Antonio is headed in the future. The aim of SAMSAT is to put San Antonio on the map when it comes to science and technology, and their programs are designed to help inform and educate. Find out what the future in STEM looks like and what it means for San Antonio.

Finally, one of the best events in San Antonio that is rich in culture, history and fun for all ages is Fiesta. Browse all the Fiesta events at https://www.fiesta-sa.org/official-fiesta-event-calendar/ and show your kiddos how the community comes together to celebrate in San Antonio.

Showing appreciation for the city’s history, culture and community doesn’t need to stop here. Keep the enthusiasm going! It doesn’t need to be Fiesta or Tricentennial to learn more about our city. Whether it be cuisine, an art exhibition or festival that you’ve never been to before, try something new and embrace the diversity and culture in our community. The more you explore, the more they’ll learn and come to love San Antonio and all it has to offer.

Looking for educational ways to celebrate San Antonio at home? A collection of
educational resources, to include lesson plans and field trip ideas, can be found on the
Tricentennial website: https://www.sanantonio300.org/educator-resources.

We already know San Antonio is one of the best places to live, and after exploring it for themselves, our children will, too.

By Pamela V. Miller

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