The most popular outdoor destination in San Antonio is the Brackenridge Park. The park is over 343 acres and is considered a premier destination for outdoor recreation. It is a refuge located in the heart of the city and has been a cornerstone of family fun. Each year, thousands of locals and tourists visit Brackenridge Park to enjoy all the amenities the park has to offer as well as participate in the various events and festivals held in the park throughout the year. In San Antonio, Brackenridge Park has become a focal point for family activities. The park is in a picturesque setting that is enveloped by tree-lined walkways with hike and bike trails throughout. Some of the main activities that people visit the park for include fishing, bird-watching, picnicking, and pedal boating. The park was developed by George W. Brackenridge in the 1800's. George W. Brackenridge began to purchase additional property but by 1906 he decided to donate 199 acres to the city to be used as a public park. The park began to expand as Brackenridge continued to donate more and more land. Ray Lambert, the current City Parks Commissioner at the time took the necessary steps to further the development of Brackenridge Park and turn it into the great outdoor facility that it is known as today. As the park gained popularity, Lambert constructed a concrete-lined pool with stone dressing rooms. He continued to beautify Brackenridge Park making it a leading attraction for both tourists and locals.
The park is full of playgrounds, concession stands, sports courts, and plenty of fields that can be used for multiple purposes. All types of wild life creatures can be found in Brackenridge Park creating a great educational atmosphere for nature study. Some of the indigenous animals that are normally found at the park include squirrels, ducks, egret and a large variety of blue herons.
For some time Brackenridge Park was in disrepair. The city finally started to repair the park through various renovations and projects. One of the projects included a miniature railway and cable way for children to play on. There is also a myriad of playgrounds located on the park grounds that children can choose from. The 100 year old park gets crowded on weekends but has enough facilities and rooms to accommodate thousands of visitors. Runners and hikers are especially drawn to the park because of the many paved and unpaved trails. The park is also perfect for offering scenic views to picnickers who simply want to enjoy an intimate or family outing in a lush outdoor setting.
The San Antonio Zoo is also located in Brackenridge Park. The zoo is home to thousands of animals and has a focus on conservation and education. The San Antonio Zoo attracts visitors to Brackenridge Park and vice versa. A second popular attraction in the Brackenridge Park is the Japanese Tea Gardens which is open seven days a week. The tea garden features a 60-foot waterfall that drops into a beautiful stoned quarry. Because of its amenities, location, and history, Brackenridge Park is one of San Antonio's best areas for outdoor entertainment.