There’s no question San Antonio boasts some of the country’s biggest and best amusement, entertainment and water parks. With Austin just over an hour away from the Alamo City, most of us are familiar with tourist attractions like Six Flags Fiesta Texas, SeaWorld San Antonio, Splashtown and Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort.
But for a slice of true Americana, think smaller and step back in time at Kiddie Park, the nation’s oldest children’s amusement park. Generations of visitors alike have taken their kids to the vintage park since it first opened in 1925, and the shaded grounds are still a popular place for children’s birthday parties.
The rides are sized just right for a little kid (especially those 2 to 6 years old). In fact, adults won’t fit in most rides, so children get to claim Kiddie Park as their very own little paradise.The colorful Ferris wheel, miniature boat ride and little plane and flying saucer rides are charmingly old-fashioned.
Kiddie Park’s gem is the 1918 antique merry-go-round, an original Herschell Spillman carousel, featuring dozens of hand-carved jumping horses and calliope music that still cast an enchanting spell. Some of the horses are missing tails and legs from their years of use, but that just enhances the park’s vintage ambiance and character.
So does the old-fashioned snack bar that offers spun cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones, hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos and drinks. A game room features video games, Skee-Ball and pinball machines. Even the park’s trash cans are designed with kids (and kids at heart) in mind, with a clown head on top and a gaping mouth that “gobbles” trash.
The park was moderninzed in 2009, and a new train stop added in January 2013. Now your can ride the train from the San Antonio Zoo, stop at Kiddie Park, and then continue back to the zoo.
Until March 1, the park is open Fri-Sun from 10-7. After March 1, the park will be open Wed-Sun from 10-7 and every day during Spring Break. www.kiddiepark.com
Information provided by San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau and Kiddie Park. Check www.visitsanantonio.com for discounts and deals on attractions from the S.A.V.E. (San Antonio Vacation Experience) program.