Best Of 2014

Morgan’s Wonderland
5223 David Edwards, (210) 495-5888,

Water, sand, swings and trains are as universal as it gets for child’s play. Billed as “the world’s first ultra-accessible theme park,” Morgan’s Wonderland was designed specifically for special needs children, but it easily appeals to all kids. Only a few years old, the 25-acre park is fresh, spacious, friendly and relaxed. While it features traditional rides like a colorful carousel and a locomotive train, what makes the park spectacular are the free-play areas for children with and without disabilities. The Butterfly Playground and Pirate Island Playground are surprisingly modern, safe and fun. They beat the pants off any playground in the city and broad canopies shade them, making for an outdoor experience that’s actually tolerable come summer vacation. There are seesaws, rolling-pipe slides and swings galore. Plus, everything is wheelchair-accessible, which means a soft, rubber surface and a lot of space. The Music Garden, water play area and Sensory Village feature playscapes with activities that rival the best children’s museums in Texas. Their take on the ever-popular pretend grocery store includes a bubbling toy lobster aquarium. There is a small lake with a fishing wharf, and the pièce de résistance: an enormous sand circle with mini-industrial diggers, buckets and toys. (A word to the wise: let the kids play in the sand first, so they can shake it out at the park and not in the car.) There is a concession stand with plenty of picnic areas and you can bring your own food. Admission is free for children with special needs and children under two years old. Otherwise, admission for children ages three to 10 years is $10; general admission is $15. All proceeds support the park and its programs for special needs children.

RUNNER-UP: Splashtown San Antonio
3600 N I-35, (210) 227-1400,

1. Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum
116 Blue Star, (210) 227-6960,

Despite the “museum” moniker, San Antonio’s longest-running contemporary art space has always felt more like a big gallery. Last year, amid a swirl of leadership changes, Blue Star managed to host the gargantuan centerpiece group show for the Texas Biennial. More recently, the institution wisely chose Mary Heathcott as the latest executive director, sure to help this star shine even brighter.


2. Cinnabar Art and Custom Jewelry Gallery
1420 S Alamo, Ste 147, (210) 557-6073,

3. Gravelmouth Gallery
1906 S Flores, (210) 367-2528,

1. Bar America
723 S Alamo, (210) 223-1285

The votes came in before the announcement that Bar America’s new owner would switch the vintage, LP-playing juke box for a streaming number, so let’s consider this a eulogy to the best juke in town. But don’t worry—Roger Miller, Patsy Cline, Ella, various Fats-es and all the favorites of yesteryear will be uploaded into the new machine.

2. Tucker’s Kozy Korner
1338 E Houston, (210) 320-2192,

3. Mary Ann’s Pig Stand
1508 Broadway, (210) 222-9923,

Multiple locations,

We’re going to break our own rule here and nominate a non-local business as the best place to sneak into as a non-customer during Fiesta. For one, locally owned businesses downtown have it tough as it is without your cheap, stanky asses fouling up their joints. For two, Starbucks is known as the haven for weenie bladders worldwide, because the bigwigs realize that once one has relieved oneself, a venti iced sugar-free hazelnut latte suddenly sounds much more appealing. And for three, there’s plenty of Starbucks downtown alone: one by River Center Mall, one on St. Mary’s and Houston and one on McCullough and Quincy. Just remember, while it’s corporate policy to give furtive whizzers a pass, employees themselves may be less understanding. Since they’re the ones watching the Sbux thrones, make nice and be respectful if they ask you to take your pee-pee dance somewhere else.

1. King William Manor
1029 S Alamo, (210) 222-0144,

Once known as “The Columns on Alamo,” this 1892 Greek revival mansion boasts a stately bohemian character, with previous reincarnations as a community theater and a bookstore. A modern touch of vintage spans nine distinctly themed guest rooms; a few lead out to the veranda overlooking Southtown. Guests enjoy strolling to galleries and restaurants, and breakfast is served at Madhatter’s
Tea House.

2. O’Casey’s Bed & Breakfast
225 W Craig, (210) 738-1378,

3. Eva’s Escape at the Gardenia Inn
307 Beauregard, (210) 223-5875,

1. Mission Reach

2. Leon Creek Greenway

3. McAllister Park
13102 Jones Maltsberger, (210) 207-7275

1. University Bowl
12332 I-10 W, (210) 699-6235,

2. Bandera Bowling Center
6700 Huebner, (210) 523-1716,

3. Oak Hills Lanes
7330 Callaghan, (210) 344-6251,

1. Block and Dreeban School for Young Children
Barshop Jewish Community Center of San Antonio, 1200 NW Military Hwy,
(210) 302-6846,

The JCC’s daycare and pre-school covers children ages six weeks to five years old. The program is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and Jewish culture and traditions are integrated throughout daily activities. There are also afterschool programs for grades K-12. And rest easy, staff members are college-educated and well-credentialed to take care of your little one.

2. TIE: Colonial Hills United Methodist School
5247 Vance Jackson, (210) 349-1092,

Discovery World Learning Center
Multiple locations,

3. Country Home Learning Center
Multiple locations,

1. Phil Hardberger Park
West: 8400 NW Military Hwy; East: 13203 Blanco; (210) 226-8339,

2. Brackenridge Park
3700 N St. Mary’s, (210) 207-3000,

3. Woodlawn Lake
1103 Cincinnati, (210) 207-7275

1. Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club
618 NW Loop 410, #312, (210) 541-8805,

2. The Overtime Theater
1203 Camden, (210) 557-7562,

1. Blue Star CrossFit
1 Winnco, (281) 687-5560

2. Mission CrossFit
827 E Rector, (210) 865-9348,

3. CrossFit925