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A Mom’s Guide to San Antonio

The time has come. We are thisclose to rolling out of town and I am getting sad. It’s so easy to look forward to this day–graduation day & the end of a significant chapter–and then it hits. We’re leaving her nursery. & his nursery. & I will never rock a baby in them again. The home where we became a family will live on in our memories, but I will not walk the halls where my babies took their first steps for much longer. I will remove the last pictures from the walls. I will say goodbye to all the people that were my confidants, cheerleaders and support through a substantially challenging chapter of life.

Leaving this city is really freaking hard.

Don’t get me wrong, I will not miss the traffic and the heat, but I will miss my people. I have never found such a warm & loving community of mothers. I feel so blessed to have met some of the most amazing women I’ve ever known, here. I have been inspired and encouraged and consoled. How did I get so lucky? Investing my heart in these people has been one of the best experiences of my life. The worst part is leaving. I know we’re probably coming back in two short years, but life will never look the same. That’s tough to swallow sometimes. I feel like I am leaving babyhood here in San Antonio. And I am. This is the end of me mothering an infant. We are entering the school years. & as great as that feels, I am mourning a little bit too. I guess what I am trying to say is that I really have loved life here. Mostly because of the people, but those people have introduced me to places that have been the heart of our relationships. Our places of community.

So in an ‘ode to San Antonio, let me share my favorite local stops with you. We were regulars at any & all of these wonderful places!


Kids Activities

  • San Antonio Botanical Gardens: My favorite place in the city. They have fun events for kids–Halloween, spring break & Viva Botanics for Fiesta are our favorites! We adore the quiet, feeding the ducks back by the lake and splashing in the fountains. Especially when the rubber duckies are in it.
  • Morgan’s Wonderland: Our second favorite place in the city. The cleanest, quietest, most engaging place for [littler] kids around. It is amazingly accommodating for those with special needs, but open to all families. We could not love it more.
  • Little Gym of Helotes: What can I say about Little Gym and Ms. Cyndi, other than we love her and will be crying big ugly tears when we leave. My kids grew up at the gym and I owe a lot of their confidence to her. They adore her and the gym/dance classes. We have gone once a week since caroline could walk. It’s the single best kids activity we’re participated in regularly.
  • Fiesta Farms: A happy little farm oasis! We love this place. Quiet & muddy/dusty. :)
  • San Antonio Zoo: Not the best zoo, but a decent one. We always ride the train and head back to the Tot Spot, where it is quieter than the rest of the Zoo. The new carousel is pretty fun. & the train! The main attraction. We especially love the kitties on the other side of the tunnel.
  • McKenna Children’s Museum: Worth the drive up I-35 to New Braunfels, especially if you have a daughter who is into babies–they have a full little NICU! Everett loves the giant outdoor water table and the shopping cart area. We will soon have a DO-seum on Broadway, which will replace the San Antonio Children’s Museum. The current museum in the city is not a favorite place of mine. I find it lacking, and avoid it, and its current location, at all costs. I am not comfortable going alone with my kids, for safety reasons.
  • Ft. Sam Houston Quadrangle: How could I forget this one?! My profile picture up there was taken there–as was my last family session. The most dreamy light in all of the city is within the bright white stone walls of the beautiful, historic Quadrangle! There are also deer you can pet (!!), peacocks, ducks and some rowdy geese. Be sure to bring some carrots for the deer. I’m not sure if you can easily get on base as a non-military member, but even a quick bounce into the visitor center is worth it–we love the Quad! And there is the most incredible oak tree I have ever seen in my life in there. Insanely gorgeous. Now I wish we’d have gone one more time! Hopefully we’ll live right around the corner when we get back. :)
  • Magik Theatre: A dynamic variety of great kids shows!
  • Libraries we love: Igo & Landa. Both have great playgrounds! I think Igo has a better book selection, but you can request anything in the San Antonio system for delivery to your home branch. So nice!
  • PeeWeeBees: A great place for littler kids to run off steam when it’s a hundred degrees out.
  • The Painted Plate: some of my most treasured pottery/plates/Christmas ornaments were created here! I need to go pack them up for the trailer…
  • The Twig: This is a locally owned book store, and storytime with Anastasia on Friday mornings is fantastic!

This was a little over a year ago at the Botanical Gardens. They were so little!

styleberry_botanical5 Preschool

  • The Discovery School: This is the most special place ever, ever in the history of ever. We adored our time at DS. Mrs. K & Ms. H were a huge source of joy & love for my caroline. I could not recommend them more. It’s a hybrid play/montessori-ish model. Lots of creativity. Lots of love. & the fairy garden is such a treasure!!
  • Giant Steps: Caroline did her first year of school here. We had an excellent experience. I moved her because I was adamant about half days as a four year old, and that wasn’t an option here, but Mrs. G was incredible. & the playground is second to none!!

These are all snippets of our magical Discovery School experience. So much fun. E was an honorary student. :)


Personal Care

  • Nowlin Roberts Salon: Sweet, sweet Nowlin. He is more than your hair guy. His talent with both rich color & the scissors in wonderful. I will miss him SO SO MUCH.
  • Woodhouse Day Spa: A nice treat. I prefer the one at the RIM.



  • Cheryl Nichols of ReMax The Premier Group: The hardest working realtor I know. She’s a full package–realtor/stager/photographer. Excellent accessibility & communication. We sold fast. Twice actually, when we had a fluke thing happen and our first deal was dead after both parties signed the closing papers. It happens. I’m proof. Six days later, back under contract. (Let’s hope this one sticks!!) Thank God for Cheryl.



Dining Out

  • Best Coffee: Local (The Pearl is our favorite location & caramel latte is TDF. We also love the pastries, which are actually made by Bakery Lorraine!)
  • Best Date Night: Il Sogno or Boiler House (soooo good!!)
  • Best Vegetarian: Green (their nachos & ranch are incredible!)
  • Best Pastries: Bakery Lorraine
  • Best Cupcakes: Bird Bakery
  • Best Burgers: BurgerFi
  • Best Custard: Freddys
  • Most gobbled up kids lunch: Cosi


Shopping, Unique to San Antonio Area

  • Whole Earth Provision: My FAVORITE store here! Think REIish meets creative kids store. The most incredible children’s book/toy selection I have ever seen. We also love their shoe department. It’s amazing–for both kids and adults!! Military gets an extra discount off sale items, and they always have great sales!
  • Go Baby Go: Cloth Diapering/Baby Wearing/Fun mama gear store. Tell Liz I sent you! She also offers a military discount.
  • The Tiny Finch: A pinterest haven. Anthro-ish. But more home stuff.
  • Nursery Couture: Owned by Katy, of Caden Lane. Posh mama one-stop-shop.
  • Pottery Barn/Williams Sonoma/West Elm outlet in San Marcos: I cannot say enough about this place. I have so much gorgeous furniture that I got 50-80% off retail from here. It’s hit ans miss sometimes, but don’t forget the military discount! Yes, that is ON TOP of the ridiculously low prices already!
  • Restoration Hardware Outlet in San Marcos: Still pricey, but much cheaper than the catalog!
  • Architectural Antiques: A fun place for any of you restoration buffs.

Random Home Stuff

So there you have it! The Best of San Antonio, that we experienced. While we’re leaving with a lot of sadness in our hearts, we’re going to remember all the smiles on our faces over the years. This six years have been the best of my life. So much happy happened here in SA!! All signs point to us returning in a couple of years, so maybe we’ll run into you again soon! Happy Exploring!

2014_5_Discovery School Open House_03

SA mamas–what did I forget? I am sure I missed something…add to the list if you wish!! :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails
  • Courtney - This is great! We don’t get to San Antonio that often, but we do love it down there! I do love the zoo, the great thing about the SA zoo is that they focus on conservation and there are a lot of animals there you won’t find at other zoos.ReplyCancel

  • angie - This pics of your kids! ..they look soooooo grown up! ADORABLE! Good luck on your new transition!ReplyCancel

  • Carla - The Magik Theatre is a great place to introduce children to plays.ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Pence - What a fantastic resource (just shared it on my blog’s FB page!). I’m sorry we never had the chance to meet in person. I’ve loved reading your blog and following along on your Instagram adventures. :) Safe travels and have fun in your new city!ReplyCancel

  • Kendall - This is amazing! Wish I could find an article like this for where I live! Sending to every mama I know in SA!ReplyCancel

  • Gina - This is awesome Shawna! I think A and I will have a great time this summer as we have only been to about half of these places. I would definitely add The Quadrangle on Ft Sam to the list although now most people cannot get to it w/o going to the visitor’s center first. Such a quiet, peaceful gem!!! I will miss seeing your beautiful children playing at DS. Here’s wishing you all the best in St. Louis!ReplyCancel

  • Candice - I have been following your blog since you lived in Omaha and it has been great fun reading your adventures here. Thanks to you I cloth diapered and did homemade baby food and never regretted it :) hope you still write when you have the chance in STL! I remember the last post when you moved to Texas you shared all the titles you held in Omaha and the ones you hoped to hold in Texas. You should consider doing that again!! Take care. Good luck with the moveReplyCancel

  • Nicole Gibson - I just wanted to say that your photos are so stunning and gorgeous!! I am just starting to get into the photography world & mostly just take pictures of my little family, but I still seek to learn & take better pictures, & it is becoming quite a passion! I have always loved your style. Your pictures are always so bright, crisp, sharp, and the colors are so perfect!! Everything about the pictures are just so perfect! I wish I knew how you did it!! Thank you for your blog & for posting as your life allows! Congrats on your move & hope you are settling in nicely! :)ReplyCancel

  • Devon - We just left San Antonio in January, it was nice reading your post and think about our former life. The funny thing is you listed a lot of places I’ve never been to, I would add the San Antonio Art Museum to the list, it was my favorite place, free on Thursday and free all the time for college students. Oh I loved Lonestar, we used the midwives but they are all great group on people.ReplyCancel

  • Meg Balser - This is a great guide! Somehow we should link this to my friends new website — It’s specifically for sharing this kind of info about different cities/basesReplyCancel

  • Sara Grothe - I check back often and can’t wait for an update. Hope things are well and can’t wait to hear how things are going now.ReplyCancel

  • Whittney - This is the best information I have stumbled across since my son Titan was born a year ago! Being new to SA THEN becoming a new mother mixed with my introvert tenancies…not a good mix! Thank you so much Shawna!ReplyCancel

  • Laurie - Thanks Shawna!! I loved this article and can’t thank you enough for posting it… what a great resource for mothers in this beautiful city… happy mother’s day!ReplyCancel

  • The Decent Mom - Thank you so much for this list! We have been here for a few years and still haven’t done everything on this list. This is just what we needed coming up to Spring and then Summer Break!ReplyCancel

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