People from all over the world have heard of the Alamo. This legendary location is not just a great story, it is considered the “Shrine of Texas liberty”. Visiting the Alamo is listed on the every list of top sites to see, and is easily accessible by plane or car. Tucked into the middle of bustling downtown San Antonio, this former mission is a place where history come alive and heroes are revered.
Admission to the Alamo is free, and it is open daily, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The hours are longer in the summer months, so be sure to check the website for current closing times. Ellie and I always enjoy getting the audio tour; the Alamo offers them for $7. This allows us to pick up on facts that we would have otherwise missed. Matt and Luke were fine just walking through the site.
Upon arrival, guests are allowed to enter what was once the San Antonio de Valero Mission. The mission was built in 1724 to provide Native Americans in the area with protection from hostile tribes and conversion to the Catholic faith. After being host to the famous battle in 1836, the structure took on a different significance. Today, the Alamo is a true shrine and place of remembrance.
As you enter with your family, please note the expectations of respect. Explain to children before you enter that people died in this place, so it has therefore become a place to show respect. Ask your sons to remove their hats and remind all of your children to walk slowly, use quiet voices, and keep their hands to themselves. [For more about how to talk to your children about how to behave in reverent places, read this blog post.]
Inside, you will see flags representing the countries and states of origin of the men who died here. Each flag bears a number to indicate how many people from that place came to the Alamo to fight. This is a great opportunity to look for flags that are familiar and talk about other places you have been.
After walking through the church, you will exit outside into the extensive Alamo grounds. Within the Alamo Gardens, you can see demonstrations, people in period costumes, and tour the long barracks that contain artifacts from the time. Although events vary daily, there were several interactive things (bread making, cooking, rifle demonstrations, etc.) that the kids loved doing.
And, of course, there is the ubiquitous gift shop. Unlike other gift shops, though, it made me feel better knowing that the proceeds from merchandise sold here help keep the admission to the Alamo free. Luke was so excited to be able to purchase a coon skin cap of his very own and become his own version of Davy Crockett. This is a stop that our children will not soon forget.