{Travel}: Japanese Tea Gardens

We went to the Japanese Tea Gardens in San Antonio, knowing that they wouldn’t be in full bloom.  Mid-February isn’t usually the best time of year to visit a garden.

Still, we were looking for free (or at least inexpensive) things to do in the area.  The zoo was right around the corner, but would have cost our family almost $70 to get in and we didn’t have enough free time to make it worth the money. Both are  located in Brackenridge Park, a huge green park in the middle of San Antonio.

The very first thing I noticed about the garden, was this sign.

Notice it says “Chinese Tea Garden” instead of Japanese.  I wondered why it was called one thing, but the wooden sign said another.

Then I read the plaque that was next to this sign.  Apparently, during WWII they decided to rename the garden to “Chinese” since we were at war with the Japanese.  They changed the name back in the 80′s, but this sign over the entry way still stands.

2014-02-15_040Even though the garden wasn’t very colorful (gardeners were putting in flowers and trimming things while we were there), it was still a pleasant walk around the grounds.

I could imagine how pretty it must be in the spring/early summer.

I think that we’ll have to stop by the gardens again on our next trip to see what they look like in the spring time.  (And maybe we’ll make a trip to the zoo also!)

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{Free Printables}: Gods of Ancient…


Earlier, I made a notebooking page for a single god or goddess, but I decided to make another with 4 to a page since there are so many from Ancient Greece and Rome and it made for too many pages for the kids to do.:)

Here is the new page, which can be downloaded as a PDF or Word document:

gods of ancient

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{Travel}: McDonald Observatory, Part 1

The McDonald Observatory was (kind of) on the way back from San Antonio.

I called ahead and made reservations for the Twilight Show and Star Party.  They highly recommend that you make reservations since it’s a really long drive and it would be awful if they were sold out and you had driven that far just to see the show.

I was excited for days about going to the observatory.  I wanted to look through their telescopes and be shown the wonders of the stars.

We went to the Twilight Show – which was inside.  It was very informative and ours was all about the moon (since it was a full moon that night).

Then the time came for the Star Party, and the clouds just wouldn’t let up.  The cloud cover was actually even thicker than it had been earlier in the day.  It was pretty, but definitely not good for viewing the stars.

2014-02-15_001At this point, they offered rain checks to those that wished to return on a clear night.  Those who couldn’t got an alternative show. I believe they tried the telescopes and then were going to head inside if it didn’t clear up.  We took the rain check and have plans to go back before our time in El Paso is up.  :)

To be continued on a clear night…..:)

  • Joel W. Barna - February 27, 2014 - 12:20 am

    Hello from Joel Barna at the McDonald Observatory office in Austin. That’s a great photo of the Hobby-Eberly Telescope with the rising moon!

  • Abigail Austin - February 23, 2014 - 7:17 am

    This is the way of Borderland, 300 days of clear skies…until you wanted to see the sky! Nice shot of the observatory :)

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{Travel}: San Antonio Missions Trail

I am ashamed to say this, but we actually lived in San Antonio for a few years ( a number of years ago) and I never went to any of the missions besides the Alamo.

We did do a quick walk-through of the Alamo again on this trip (because we were downtown and the Alamo is right across the street from the Riverwalk and a huge mall),


but we also visited the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.

I had never realized that the Alamo was NOT a part of the National Park system.  They are run by the state of Texas.  And there are a number of other missions, just a few miles down the road.

We visited Mission San Jose, Mission Espada, and Mission San Juan.  Then the kids got really hungry and we had to go get food, so we didn’t see them all this time around.  I think my favorite was San Jose (below).



What I thought was really cool was that you could rent a bike and take a trail along the river to each of these missions. If we had more time (and my husband had better knees) then we probably would have done that.2014-02-15_0352014-02-15_0362014-02-15_037They have Junior Ranger programs available for the kids.  You can pick up the packet at any of the missions and turn it in for your badge at a different one.2014-02-15_038

  • Elizabeth Woods - February 18, 2014 - 12:13 pm

    Love to see the interesting structures of the missions. Thank you for showing these missions. Mom & Dad W.

  • Shaz - February 18, 2014 - 8:39 am

    We did the Mission Tour with friends several years ago. We all enjoyed it immensely because at most of the missions it was just the four of us – compared with the mobs at the Alamo. We did the Fort Davis tour and as seniors we were happy to have a golf cart to drive around the area.

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