Photo of PanteraAzul by Oscar Alvarado at Yanaguana Garden.

Yanaguana Garden


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Hemisfair Park, the site of the 1968 World’s Fair that celebrated San Antonio’s 250th birthday, is undergoing a $30-million renovation to turn itself into a world-class urban park in the center of downtown, just in time for the city’s 300th birthday. Think Central Park or Golden Gate Park done up San Antonio style!

Yanaguana Garden, an outdoor play area for both children and adults, is the first area of the park to re-open. Nestled along César Chávez Boulevard and South Alamo Street, the four-acre park features a Park Güell-like giant blue panther covered in mosaic tiles and glass beads by local artist Oscar Alvarado that begs to be climbed and photographed.

Seven additional local artists joined in creating this engaging space that includes a giant sandbox, a splash pad, climbing structures, a performance-ready stage, and more.

The splash pad was a hit with all ages the day I visited. Appropriate, since yanaguana means “refreshing waters” in the language of San Antonio’s native people, the Payaya. An outdoor changing room gives visitors a chance to switch into dry clothes. Toddlers were having a ball in the giant sandbox nearby. Oversized chess and checkers are available for play, as are ping pong tables, foosball and bocce ball.

Best of all, admission is FREE! So when you’re looking for something fun to do downtown that doesn’t strain your wallet, head over to Yanaguana Garden.

Yanaguana Garden, located at 434 South Alamo Street, is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until midnight.

For even more ideas of fun things to do and see in San Antonio, visit Barnes & Noble, The Twig, Whole Foods, Half Price Books on Broadway, Costco, Sam’s and Hudson News to purchase “100 Things To Do in San Antonio Before You Die” by yours truly. ¡Viva San Antonio!

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