San Antonio is constantly showing an interest in protecting green spaces and investing in the parks and playgrounds in San Antonio. As the second largest city in Texas, SA is booming with families and young children who need fun, safe places to play. If you’re in that category and want some free things to do in San Antonio with kids, here’s your guide to the best playgrounds in San Antonio.
From the big central parks like the playground at Hemisfair Park and the beautiful Brackenridge Park to hidden gems (looking at you, Landa Gardens!) and big epic parks on the outskirts of town like the 505-acre Pearsall Park, you’re never going to run out of exciting playgrounds to explore in San Antonio. Of course, there are approximately one kajillion pocket parks and neighborhood parks in this city. Go to the San Antonio government website to see the full list of those. But if you just want a quick list (and map!) of the gems, here’s a guide to the best playgrounds in San Antonio.
1. Hemisfair Park
One of the most popular parks in San Antonio for locals and tourists alike, the playground at Yanaguana Garden at Hemisfair is perfect for kids, adults, pets, foodies, wanderers, explorers, folks who want to be active, folks who want to sit and rest…basically, if you’re in San Antonio, you need to visit this park!
If you’ve seen the San Antonio skyline, you know exactly where this park is located: just find the Tower of the Americas (that “space needle” thing), and you’ll have located Hemisfair. This 92-acre park was the home of the 1968 World's Fair, and it’s one of Texas’s best public parks. (And San Antonio is constantly working on improving it!)
There’s an epic playground, a splash pad, some really fun swings, a giant sandbox, walking trails, and public restrooms.
You’ll probably have to pay for parking to visit Hemisfair Park (unless you’re staying at a downtown San Antonio hotel and plan to walk to the park), but it’s worth the cost to enjoy this beautiful San Antonio playground and park.
2. Brackenridge Park
(CURRENTLY UNDER RENOVATION)
Next up in popular playgrounds in San Antonio: Brackenridge Park! Home to the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Sunken Theater, the Witte Museum, the Brackenridge Train, and so much more, Brackenridge Park is much more than just a playground in SA.
But…if you’re looking for a fun playscape to visit, this is a good one to have on your list. There are actually two playgrounds at Brackenridge: a playscape located near the Lions Field Community Center and another one at the Joske Pavilion.
Parking is totally free in Brackenridge Park. There are lots of surface lot spots available, as well as two free parking garages.
3. Pearsall Park
Literally the BIGGEST playground in San Antonio, Pearsall Park is a destination playground and should definitely be on your list to visit with your kiddos the next time you have a free morning or afternoon. Pearsall Park opened in 2016 after the city purchased an additional 262 acres of land (doubling this park's size!) and has been a popular place for SA families ever since.
Let’s start with the playground because it’s pretty epic. Pearsall is an all-abilities playground with two 8-foot ramps so that anyone can enjoy the playscape. There are two mega-towers (seriously…they’re HUGE) with extra-long slides. This playground is great for big kids! Looking for things to do in San Antonio with toddlers or babies? There’s a smaller playscape that’s removed from the big one, so you don’t have to worry about your 2-year-old climbing up too high or getting scared by those giant slides.
In addition to the playground Pearsall Park also has the largest skate park in the city, two splash pads, an event pavilion, two basketball courts, 20 picnic tables, more than 200 parking spots, public restrooms, and a stage. There’s also a disc golf court, a dog park, and outdoor fitness stations.
4. Landa Gardens
Landa Gardens is a 5-acre green space, playground, and pavilion on the land around the Landa Library. It’s one of the sweetest and most peaceful little parks in San Antonio.
Start with a visit to the public library. The Hannah Landa Library was given as a gift by the late Hannah Landa’s husband, Larry Landa. This library was actually their private home from the 1920s to 1940s! It’s a two-story home, and after Hannah died in 1946, Harry donated it to San Antonio to become a free public library and children’s playground.
The playground is well-shaded and quiet, with beautifully landscaped gardens, well-maintained playground equipment, and plenty of grassy areas to run around. There are actually two separate playscapes here, and one of them is totally fenced-in (a game changer for parents of very young toddlers who tend to sprint off into parking lots!).
5. Elmendorf Lake Park
Elmendorf Lake Park underwent a $16 million renovation in 2017, which resulted in the beautiful playground you can see now! There’s a soft, squishy floor, multiple playscapes, plenty of shade canopies, and even a splash pad nearby.
Of course, part of the beauty of visiting Elmendorf Lake Park is that it’s so much more than a playground. With the jogging trails, the gorgeous bridges, the huge trees, the fishing pier, and the splash pad, Elmendorf Lake Park is sure to become one of your favorite playgrounds and parks in San Antonio. Here are five reasons you’re going to love this park.
6. Schertz Community Playscape
Located to the northeast of San Antonio, Schertz Park is an epic playground for kids. There are multiple playscapes, so kids of all ages can enjoy them. One of the best parts is that life-size train engine that you can actually climb in and on.
When you look this up on maps, it might also be listed as “Schertz Library Park” because it’s adjacent to the Schertz Public Library. It’s also near the Schertz YMCA and some soccer fields, so it’s a community hub for families and kids.
7. MacArthur Park
This sprawling outdoor area has multiple playscapes, LOTS of pavilion and picnic table area, walking trails, and tons of shade. It’s a popular spot for school buses to bring kids for their field trips, so keep in mind that weekday mornings might get a little bit crazy.
8. Woodlawn Lake Park
Woodlawn Lake Park has a pretty good size lake with fishing, ducks, and a 1.4-mile loop walking trail that goes around the lake. There’s even a view of downtown San Antonio if you look into the distance!
While the playground is pretty cool and has a wide variety of playground equipment, it hasn’t been kept up very well in the last few years (parts of the ground are starting to chip away, and there are duck droppings and trash nearby.) So while it’s not necessarily the prettiest playground in SA, it’s a really big playground and a convenient spot with lots of parking.
9. Cathedral Rock Park
It's not big and flashy, but Cathedral Rock Park is a gem in the San Antonio playground scene. It's nicely protected from traffic, features two different playscape (one for bigger kids and one for the littles), and has a private parking lot.
One of the best parts of Cathedral Rock Park in San Antonio is that it's connected to a long walking trail. The park itself has 2 miles of trails, but it's also connected to the Leon Creek Greenway, which has 20 miles of trails that network through San Antonio.
Whether you're visiting and hoping to enjoy a peaceful solo walk and you're looking for a fun park in San Antonio where the kiddos can climb around and burn off some energy, Cathedral Rock Park is a good one to know about.
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