Spring break comes to a close this weekend, but it’s really just the beginning of a whole season of outdoor activities happening in and around San Antonio. Now is the perfect time to visit your favorite park for a picnic, take a walk (or ride) on the Mission and Museum Reaches of the River Walk or take a day trip to the hill country before the mosquitoes and wilting heat tag along.
One option to consider for a family outing is the San Antonio Botanical Garden, which has brought in 24 tons of sand for children to play in and for one professional to sculpt. It’s no replacement for the classic, relaxing day at the beach but it’s an easy way for parents to entertain the little ones for at least one afternoon.
“It’s the simplest thing to do – it’s a just a pile of sand,” said Candace Andrews, director of community relations and marketing at the garden. “But they’re all over it.” she added with a laugh.
There’s more than sand at the Botanical Garden, of course. Educational exhibits, interactive activities, art installations and tours of – you guessed it – gardens are hosted year-round for children and adults of all ages.
“This is the first time we’ve done an exhibit (specially) for Spring break,” Andrews said. Activities continue this weekend including fishing for magnetized shells, lei making, mini japanese garden creation and looking at sand through a microscope.
Chicago-based sand sculpture artist Ted Siebert has worked for days on a large installation at the garden. Siebert has been “playing in the sand” for about 25 years and his craft has taken him around the world – most recently to a competition in Kuwait. The Alamo Cathedral, cacti, caterpillar, hibiscus flower and Botanical Garden logo should be completed by the end of the day, just in time for the last weekend of Spring break.
Every March the garden welcomes new art installations/sculptures and next Friday, March 22, the Art in the Garden reception, in collaboration with Blue Star Contemporary Art Center, will showcase 10 contemporary pieces from the Mid-South Sculpture Alliance, Chicago Sculpture International and the Texas Sculpture Group.
Saturday mornings during the Spring and Fall, the garden hosts educational activities for the Children’s Vegetable Garden Program, sponsored by the Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Service and Bexar County Master Gardeners.
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Kids and their parents can familiarize themselves with nutrition, participate in “best of” competitions (best zucchini, best eggplant, etc) and even take some veggies home for dinner. Registration for Spring plots closed in mid-February, so be sure to apply early in September if interested in signing up for the Fall program.