San Antonio, Texas, is one of those rare and fascinating cities with a long and rich history but also containing that modern buzz of excitement and innovation. With many historic missions, old Spanish architecture and its unique River Walk, there are many landmarks and visitor must-sees. Scavenger hunts here would be fun for children, teens and adults -- all you need is an adventuresome spirit. Also keep in mind the extreme summertime heat. Temperatures in July and August can reach 100 degrees and higher.
The River Walk
The River Walk is one of the premier spots in San Antonio. Its construction began in 1939 and is two miles of loveliness in the center of downtown. You can take a boat cruise or walk its length on foot. With shops and restaurants lining the river, as well as live mariachi bands, it's a great place for a scavenger hunt. Give each team a list of buildings, restaurants, shops or activities to find and do. Some ideas are purchasing a postcard at La Villita, San Antonio's historic arts center; taking a photo on the Arneson River Theatre's stage; and picking up a brochure at the San Antonio Museum of Art.
As a famous historical icon, this is a fun place for a quick scavenger hunt. It would be best for the planner to visit first and decide what should be in the hunt. For example, "Have your picture taken with the old well," would be a good item. There are many artifacts in the building and in the gardens. Limit hunting time to around 10 minutes and enjoy the mad dash to find the objects, get photos of them and get back out in the midst of the tourist crowds. Some items to search for are Travis's ring, Crockett's buckskin vest and the cannons in the courtyard.
The Mission Trail
Most people are familiar with the Alamo, but there are four other famous missions in San Antonio full of beautiful architecture and fascinating history. At the Mission San Jose, have searchers take photos on the stairway to the belfry, constructed entirely by hand with no nails or pegs. Mission Espada contains the best-preserved segment of the acequia -- the old irrigation system that brought water to the fields. Mission San Jose also has its own irrigation system. Mission Concepcion is the oldest unrestored church in the country, and searchers can look for remnants of interior wall paintings to photograph. Along the trail or on the grounds, the planner might leave things for searchers to find as long as no items are left behind after the search. Some object ideas are flowers, colored stones or marbles. At the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park visitor center near the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and New Napier Avenue you can get information on all the missions and a map of the nine-mile trail that connects them all.
The Hemisfair Park, originally built for the 1968 World's Fair, is a great place for a scavenger hunt. It contains many sculptures, fountains, flowers, museums and, most notably, the Tower of the Americas, which stands 750 feet tall. Some ideas for a hunt are "take a photo sniffing an Oriental poppy flower," "standing by a piece of native American art" or "sticking you hand in a fountain." You can also pick up a souvenir from the Tower of the Americas. Again, it would be best as the planner to visit the park first in order to write a specific list -- there is so much to see, the planner will have to pick and choose. If desired, the planner can also leave things for the searchers to find -- like marbles in certain places -- as long as nothing is left behind when the hunt is over.
Planning an Enjoyable Hunt
The best scavenger hunts are not necessarily those that collect items but those that collect memories. This is best done in teams. Make sure each team has a camera. Some ideas for items on the scavenger list are as follows: ride piggyback in front of the Alamo's old well, stand under the Torch of Friendship statue, run through a Hemisfair Park fountain, take a photo from the top of the Tower of the Americas, dance in front of a live street band, and so on. These are all actions that can be easily proven with a camera and create a fun atmosphere to the hunt.
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