When I was a kid, we would go to the State Fair every summer and to the “Old Timer’s Day” carnival each fall in my small hometown. I have such amazing memories with my aunts, uncles, and cousins from those times but one thing I remember clearly is being told time and time again that I wasn’t “big enough” for most of the rides. I would get my 20 minutes or so in the little kids’ section then spend the rest of the evening following everyone else around and watching them have all the fun. What I would have given for an amusement park that was nothing but rides that were just my size!
I first heard about San Antonio’s Kiddie Park when my mother-in-law mentioned taking our Big Girl there, shortly after we moved to Texas. I remember thinking, “Why in the world would we take a two-year-old to an amusement park?”. I was imagining some huge park that would take an entire day to explore, with no shade, on a blacktop that was a thousand degrees in the middle of summer, and filled with rides that she’d be dying to try but would be too small to be allowed a chance. That is most definitely not Kiddie Park!
In case you’re unfamiliar with this historical cornerstone of downtown(ish) San Antonio,
“Kiddie Park, one of San Antonio’s most treasured landmarks, is the perfect way for children and adults to enjoy a nostalgic day of old-fashioned fun. Established in 1925, and renovated in 2009, Kiddie Park is the oldest children’s amusement park in the country! While modern updates have been made, the park has preserved its 1920’s style by maintaining all of the original rides. Guests can enjoy the park’s old-fashioned Ferris wheel, famous hand-carved Herschell Spillman carousel, and other classic children’s rides that have made Kiddie Park an iconic San Antonio attraction for over 90 years!” (source)
This park is small…and not in a bad way. It’s the perfect size for taking young kids because you can make your way to all the rides in a couple of hours, then get home just in time for nap time. It’s basically a dozen or so rides that go round and round but what else do kids this age need?
There are air-conditioned, clean bathrooms WITH changing tables. Amen to that. The ground is sort of a pea-gravel type of material which is way better than asphalt in this Texas heat (but not great for standard strollers). There are trees everywhere, offering refuge from the sun between rides. There are a snack bar and tons of picnic tables spaced throughout the park to enjoy your snack, nurse a little one, or just take a break.
I am so glad we gave Kiddie Park a try because it is absolutely nothing like I expected and has now become one of our family’s favorite summer traditions. And I think it’s pretty awesome that our kids get to enjoy the same amusement park their daddy did when he was a boy!
You’ll find the park at 3015 Broadway Street, not too far from all of your other favorite San Antonio attractions like the Zoo, Botanical Garden (read all about the Botanical Garden’s new Family Adventure Garden HERE), DoSeum (read about the DoSeum’s Tricentennial Celebration exhibit, “Dream Tomorrow Today” HERE), and Witte Museum. Operating hours and pricing information can be found HERE.
Has your family explored Kiddie Park yet? Do you have memories of the park from your own childhood?