Friday, June 30, 2006


My 4 year old daughter makes the best train sound effects that I ever heard. Then she cracks-up laughing with this intoxicating laugh, that seems to be contagious and gets everyone else laughing. I like to laugh, so I thought why not take the kids out for a train ride at San Antonio's Brackenridge Park. The train ride features a tour of the park via the miniature railway, that goes for about two and a half miles. The trains are replicas of the 1863 Central Pacific Huntington Steam Locomotive, and are really cool.

I decided to grab the sunscreen and some snacks and head out for Brackenridge park early, just in case I got lost on the winding expressways. I mapquested the location and we were off. The park is located north of downtown San Antonio and adjacent to the zoo. We had a little trouble trying to find parking for the train ride in oppose to the zoo, so we parked in the zoo's parking lot. The zoo parking is free so if you decide to check it out, its probably best that you park in the zoo's parking lot.

Finding the ticket booth for the train was hit and miss, there's a lot happening on that street, thus it is difficult to distinguish what is where. There is a cafe right off of the zoo's parking lot, and the ticket booth for the train is towards the back of the cafe. Trust me when I say trying to locate signs to guide you toward the train's ticket booth are easy to miss. The kids and I walked around for at least 5 minutes trying to locate it, and believe me 5 minutes in San Antonio's heat can seem like forever.

The tickets for the train ride are $2.75 for adults and $2.25 for children over 2 years of age and under 2 are free. This is a great bargain for an "on a budget" adventure. After we paid for our tickets we went outside to watch for the approaching train. All of the kids waiting with their parents began to scream with joy when they saw the little blue train getting closer to the station. They began to wave at the passengers and gravitated towards the entrance gate all at once. It's amazing watching little kids trample each other in excitement, they never seem to cry and whine even though their toes are being stepped on. Anyway, the train conductor punched our tickets, we boarded the train and I received my parental reward of hearing my daughter imitate the sounds of the steam engine trains.

The train takes you around the park as the conductor gives you a bit of history about Brackenridge and other attractions in the surrounding area. Be prepared to see some of the park's animal life wandering the trees and ground coverings. The train goes over a little bridge straddling the San Antonio river which is really exciting for the little ones. In the river you can see little lilly pads and maybe a frog or two, I saw a fish instead. The train makes a couple of stops along the way so that passengers can get off and visit some of the other attractions. Those attractions include the Witte Museum and a Japanese Tea Garden. If a passenger does decide to visit the other attractions, they can reboard the train using there punched ticket, anytime during operating hours.

The train ride lasted for about 20 minutes and it was a lot of fun for me and the kids. Brackenridge park has many other attractions such as a children's park and golf course. This is an awesome mini getaway for budget friendly fun.