Sunday, November 25, 2012

San Antonio Trip--Part 1

Last Tuesday morning, we told the kids they would get to open one Christmas present early. Really early, since we were still more than a month before Christmas!

Inside the box, inside an envelope, was this collage I made for them (free, with a coupon code from Walgreens) that told them we are going to SeaWorld!

They were excited, but a bit confused. They had never heard of SeaWorld.  "Is that part of Disney World?"  They got a little more excited when we told them to get dressed because we were leaving NOW!!!

Earlier we had told them we were leaving to go to family's house on Thursday.  Which was true.  They just didn't know about this small detour we were making to San Antonio before we met up with family on Thursday.

We got on the road around 9:15 in the morning.  Before we left, we packed a lunch in a cooler and researched highway rest stops along our route.  We stopped at this rest stop just outside of Salado, Texas.

It had nice picnic areas and a playground for the kids to run off steam.

There was even a "Motorist Workout" section for exercise.

We spent about 45 minutes at this rest stop eating lunch and playing on the playground.

A few miles south of this rest stop, we got on the new "super-highway" between Georgetown and San Antonio. This new tollway, also known as the Pickle Highway or State Highway 130, just had the last stretch completed on October 24th of this year.  It has the highest posted speed limit of any highway in the U.S. at 85 m.p.h.  It cost us $6.17 in tolls, but skipping the Austin traffic on I-35 and having the faster speed limit was totally worth it!

We made it to our hotel about 3 p.m.  Since the hotel was so close to SeaWorld, the lobby and elevators had SeaWorld advertisements.

We stayed at a Springhill Suites using Brian's Marriott Rewards points.  We picked this hotel because:

*  It is just a few miles from SeaWorld
*  It has a free breakfast
*  It has an indoor pool
*  It has rooms that sleep up to 6 people

The lobby/breakfast area:

Our room.  It had 2 queen beds and a sofa bed.

The desk area/sofa bed area.

We got settled in our room and watched TV for a bit and then we headed down to the River Walk.  It was about a 20 minute drive from our hotel. 

We parked at the River Center mall and decided to take a river boat cruise.  The first thing I noticed was how empty the entire River Walk was!  I had been there twice before, both times during the summer, and it was just packed.  And hot.  But on this Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, there were no crowds and the weather was cool.

The cruise lasted about 40 minutes and our guide described the history of the River Walk and pointed out some interesting things on buildings as we passed by.  All 3 of my kids were way more interested in this than I thought they would be.  At the end, my 8-year-old said, "That was fun!  Let's go on that again!"

After the cruise, we decided to splurge and eat dinner on the River Walk.  We had researched restaurants online earlier and read good reviews about a new Mexican restaurant near the River Center mall called Maria Mia.  We had the entire patio to ourselves and a great view of the river.
Dinner was good.  The restaurant made its own tortillas, which to my husband is the sign of a good Mexican restaurant.

Before we left the restaurant, we had our picture taken inside by the Christmas tree:

And on our way back to our car, we stopped to take some pictures in front of the official River Walk Christmas tree:

Up next:  San Antonio Trip Part 2, Hotel Pool and SeaWorld

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