The San Antonio Botanical Garden, which rests on 38 acres, not only dazzles visitors with bright sunflowers and roses, aquatic plants, and a glass display case filled with orchids, but it also teaches them about the local and world flora with informative exhibits. Four large, formal beds showcase seasonally rotating displays, and the Texas Native Trail features representative species from Hill Country, East Texas Piney Woods, and South Texas. Encompassing a wider array of biomes, the Lucile Halsell Conservatory boasts collections of tropical fruits and desert cacti housed within glass buildings that surround the sunken tropical lagoon.
Aside from these exhibits, the botanical garden also hosts summer-camp sessions, school-group programs, and classes for adults as well as children. These programs include lectures and hands-on lessons that discuss local plants and which garden insects are helpful and which are harmful.
More than 45 water rides and attractions swerve and spray across the 20 landscaped acres of Splashtown San Antonio. A five-story slide sends guests speeding through a series of corkscrew turns and sudden drops, the park's wave pool sends huge swells toward body-surfers, and a pair of enclosed water slides generate part of their thrill from the pitch darkness. But it's also easy to just relax in the sun: the park also boasts a tree-lined lazy river, and basketball and sand volleyball encourage fun competitions on dry land. Splashtown San Antonio even rents out shady cabanas for groups with as many as 12 people, giving visitors a private retreat where they can dry off, catch their breath, and finally try to find chlorine on the periodic table of elements.
At The Royal Canvas Painting Parlor, owner Cassie Black and her staff of art instructors teach painters of all skill levels to create canvas-bound masterpieces. Each class blurs the line between artistry and social interaction, like when Leonardo da Vinci would bring the Mona Lisa to parties as his date. The focus falls on a predetermined painting composition, ranging from a quirky, cartoonish sheep for children's classes to re-creations of iconic works such as van Gogh's The Starry Night to challenge more adept artists. While students follow step-by-step instructions, they sip wine, nibble snacks, and rediscover their creative side.
The interiors of The Lion & Rose pubs emulate the convivial atmosphere of British and Irish settings, with each corner of the restaurant ornamented with vintage wall sconces and handmade wood decor. The draught list overflows with imported pints such as Boddingtons and Smithwick's, while the menu includes unusual specialties such as chips and curry alongside shepherd's pie and bangers, mash, and beans. As befits a sports bar, locations boast plasma TVs tuned to the biggest games as well as dartboards where friends can challenge one another.
A direct descendant of the 1891 flower-chucking commemoration of the Battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto, Fiesta San Antonio illuminates the cultural depth and noble past of the city. Fiesta commission membership benefits include an exclusive membership pin or ladder bar for each year of membership, a copy of the Fiesta magazine, participation in the commission's annual membership meeting on May 24, a 15% discount on official merchandise at the Fiesta Store, and a limited-edition medal.