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Planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas for your family? I’m sure the Alamo is already on your list of things to do. It is one of the most famous sites in the city. It did play a huge role in Texas history, after all. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know (and pick up some tips) to have the best time at the Alamo with your family!
The Story Behind the Alamo
The Alamo was originally built by Spanish settlers in 1718 on the banks of the San Antonio River in what is now San Antonio, Texas. It’s original purpose was to house missionaries.
In December 1835, early during Texas’ war of independence from Mexico, a group of Texas volunteers captured the Alamo from the Mexican army.
Then, in February 1836, between 1800 and 6000 Mexican troops attacked the fort. For 13 days, less than 200 Texas men, including Davy Crockett, held them off. Unfortunately, the Mexicans eventually won, killing almost everyone that was defending the Alamo.
Afterwards, “Remember the Alamo” became a rallying cry for the Texans who were desperately trying to win their independence. A few months later, they defeated the Mexican forces at San Jacinto, which led to Texas winning the war.
To this day, the Alamo remains as a symbol of the resilience, courage, and determination of Texans.
You can read more about the history of this old mission at history.com.
Things to Know about the Alamo
The Alamo is located right in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas. It sits mere feet from the famous San Antonio Riverwalk.
While this historic fort occupies a huge place in the history of the state and the hearts of Texans, it is actually very small in reality. In fact, it is so small that most people are taken aback when they first see it.
The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, a women’s organization that includes descendants of some of the earliest residents of the state, have managed the site since 1905.
Approximately 2.5 million people visit the Alamo every year.
Some of the original structures, dating all the way back to the 1700’s, are still standing.
7 Tips for Visiting
If you have history buffs in your family, you definitely should plan a trip to San Antonio to visit the Alamo! These seven tips will help make your trip smooth and easy:
- Admission to the Alamo is free, but you do need to have advance reservations. You can get your timed ticket on their website.
- Because this is such a small site, it won’t take you long to explore the entire place. When we visited, we went through it in less than an hour. Even if you take the time to read every plaque and talk to the volunteers, you can still see everything there is to see in about two hours or less.
- Don’t stop after you have seen the Alamo Church. Take time to explore the entire grounds and outbuildings. The garden area is beautiful!
- Don’t miss Cavalry Courtyard. It was one of my favorite parts. There are statues of many of the men who fought at the Alamo.
- Consider staying nearby at one of the many hotels in downtown San Antonio or on the Riverwalk. It will make it super easy to walk to the Alamo.
- There is not much parking nearby, so if you aren’t staying within walking distance, head to one of the downtown parking garages. They are a short walk away.
- If you want to get even more out of your visit to the Alamo, consider one of the several tours they offer for a fee. You can find all the options below. Get more details on ones that interest you and book them on their website.
Tours and Other Experiences
There are several tours and experiences offered at the Alamo for an additional fee.
You can take a 45 minute guided tour where a tour guide will walk you through the grounds and explain the entire history of the place to you.
The Ralston Family Collections Center is located in the gardens behind the church. It is two stories full of artifacts, including the Phil Collins Collection. There is an additional fee to visit this center.
Lastly, they offer the Victory or Death Audio Tour. This is basically a headset that you listen to as you walk the grounds on your own. The audio gives you sound effects, music, and interviews as you experience the historic site with your eyes. This is a 45 minute tour and costs $10 per headset.
The Alamo is one of the most historic sites in Texas. It dates back to the 1700’s and is full of stories. While it is small, it packs a huge punch. A visit to San Antonio is not complete without taking an hour or two to visit this iconic mission.
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