For three days in November, the Weihnachtsmarkt Christmas Market brings Olde World Christmas spirit to New Braunfels. Vendors set up cheery red and green booths in the German-style holiday market, where they sell homemade wares such as aromatic roasted nuts, unique toys, vintage cameos, and homemade toffee. Nearby, authors sit ready to discuss their novels or sing their favorite Christmas carols at the on-site book fair and a jolly Santa eats breakfast with kids of all ages. To keep guests warm during the event, Sophie's Cafe serves up warm mugs of soup paired with sandwiches or tempting desserts.
Proceeds from the event benefit The Sophienburg Museum and Archives, which serves as the hub for immigration ship logs, photos, and documents of the first German Americans who found their way to Texas.
Back for its second year, the Halloween Spook-trac-ula scares souls and decorates the confines of the Texas Transportation Museum, which chronicles the history of San Antonio's transportation with a 1913 depot, model train layouts, and full-size engines, cars, and cabeese. An eerie Ghost Train will transport passengers to the depths of fear and back, and a haunted hayride totes fright-seekers around the grounds to witness the horrific, tremble-inducing decorations as they sit among possessed hay borrowed from zombie scarecrows. Visit the storyteller in the outdoor garden area to hear ghost stories, or catch a ride on the Train-sylvania Express to seek out the ghost of Dracula during his teenage phase as a train conductor. Although this event is sure to thrill and spook attendees of all ages, it is geared toward younger family members, shying away from typical blood, guts, and property tax displays.
The Witte Museum was born from many minds seeking a singular goal: to create a public forum that promoted lifelong learning. From a $65,000 gift bequeathed to the city of San Antonio after Alfred Witte's death in 1921, this museum of science, natural history, and South Texas heritage was built along the San Antonio River and named after the late Witte's parents.
Today, the Witte Museum still pursues this wide range of knowledge with hands-on scientific and historical exhibits. The museum's long-term features portray the natural wonders of southern Texas, including ancient rock art from the lower Pecos, examples of local ecology, and dinosaur fossils found locally while trying to uncover lost time capsules. Outside the museum, the H-E-B Science Treehouse collects four floors of interactive exhibits that explain sound waves, simple machines, and other scientific concepts to malleable young minds.
Named San Antonio's Best Museum in the 2010 Nickelodeon Parents' Choice Awards, San Antonio Children's Museum has ushered more than two million guests through its educational wonderland since opening in 1995. Tykes can explore permanent exhibits such as Science City, with hands-on exhibits covering physics, engineering, and how to extract highlighter ink from lightning bugs. In PowerBall Hall, children man simple machines to send orbs up to a lofty cage until the chamber fills and unleashes a spherical torrent down upon the delighted little ones. Other exhibits impart lessons of financial responsibility and proper nutrition in a make-believe bank and market. Membership is calibrated for any permutation of the family unit, and grants amenities including unlimited visits for a year, a subscription to the museum newsletter “Spark!,” and access to more than 40 classes where kids can submit theses on baking-soda volcanoes for peer review.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium boasts three floors of interactive exhibits featuring rare and bizarre artifacts inspired by the oddball collection of worldwide explorer Robert Ripley. Get a glimpse into the world of weird with astonishing and outlandish displays including a piece of the Berlin Wall, the world's largest tire, replicas of prehistoric beasts, Lee Harvey Oswald's car, and iconic items of American and world history. The museum is open seven American standard days a week.