San Antonio
Great American Get-Together in San Antonio
Join us for our gala event in San Antonio! From Hill Country to the River Walk, you’ll go big in this bold and exciting city.
Rating (4.96)
Program No. 21173RJ
8 days
Starts at
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Flights start at
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8 days
7 nights
18 meals
7 B 5 L 6 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Hotel check-in at 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Breakfast each day is in the hotel (later morning on weekends), with lunch and dinner at restaurants in the downtown and River Walk areas. Each afternoon/evening, beginning at 5:30 p.m., the hotel has a reception on the second floor — to which all are invited for free — with a rotating menu of hot food and cold beverages. Save room for dinner! Travel for field trips will be by public bus or trolley and private motorcoach. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time” and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow Road Scholars, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the hotel ballroom on the fourth floor, we will have a catered buffet dinner, plus coffee, tea, water.

Evening: During dinner, we will enjoy listening to Conjunto music, a unique blend of sounds from Northern Mexico and the U.S. The performers will tell us about this form of music in a brief presentation.

Texas History, Alamo, Menger Hotel & River Barge Ride
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants. Getting on/off a trolley. Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours.

Breakfast: In the hotel’s second floor mezzanine, we’ll choose from a breakfast buffet including scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, bagels, toast, muffins, jellies and jams, oatmeal, cold cereal, coffee, juices, tea and milk.

Morning: An expert from St. Philip's College will explain why Texas is the most universally famous place in America in a two-hour lecture of Texas history in the hotel’s ballroom, focusing on the sweeping events and fascinating characters that make Texas the amazing place it is; what John Steinbeck described as "a state of mind . . . a mystique closely approximating a religion . . . the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

Lunch: At a historic hotel, located near Alamo Plaza, we will enjoy a delightful buffet lunch, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Led by a local expert, we’ll embark on a walking field trip to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. We’ll also learn about the development of the River Walk and its impact on the transformation of the area. The Spanish colonial mission we know as the Alamo was established in 1718, and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After the gallant defense by 182 Texans against Gen. Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texas independence. We'll hear the story of the Alamo, then visit the Shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. The Menger, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Among the historic events that took place here, Teddy Roosevelt recruited his “Rough Riders” cavalry brigade. Our expert will take us inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from Roosevelt's time. We’ll understand more about Texas pride as we visit these historic sites. In late afternoon, we’ll board a private, narrated barge ride and learn how the city was able to turn a flood control project into a beautiful attraction that has become the center point of the city. We’ll see how stone pathways connect shops, restaurants, hotels and museums with a blend of historic and modern architecture that resonate the depth of this centuries-old metropolis.

Dinner: At a local river walk restaurant featuring plated meals with your choice of steak, chicken, fish or a vegetarian entrée. Beverages include coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Continue to get acquainted with new friends in your small group over dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

LBJ's Legacy, Mariachi Lunch, McNay Art Museum
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours. Boarding a motorcoach with minimal assistance.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: In the hotel ballroom, we'll learn about the broad panorama of legislation passed in the 1960s during the Johnson administration, as described by a university professor whose area of expertise is late 20th century U.S. history. President Johnson's vision for a more just and honorable country contributed to the passage of the most important civil rights legislation in the 20th century. Find out why Texans recently celebrated LBJ's legacy upon the 50th anniversary of the passage of the watershed legislation passed during the mid 1960s.

Lunch: At a favorite local restaurant in El Mercado, the largest Mexican marketplace in the country, we will enjoy a traditional Tex-Mex meal with mariachi entertainment. Beverages include coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We will enjoy a docent-led field trip to the McNay Museum of Art, a Spanish Colonial Revival-style home which opened as the first museum of modern art in Texas in 1954. Today, its visitors are captivated by magnificent works of art by modern masters including Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Hopper, Georgia O'Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. We will also make stops at the Southwest School of Art, one of the nation’s largest community-based art schools, to enjoy galleries and studios on the grounds of a former convent, and the San Antonio Public Library, an architecturally striking vibrant red building designed by renowned architect Ricardo Legoretta. We’ll take in the building’s crowning artistic jewel, the colorful Fiesta Tower by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The tower, comprised of 900-plus unique hand-blown glass ornaments, rises nearly 27 feet from the library’s atrium. We’ll return to the hotel for our daily reception on the second floor, featuring free hot food and cold drinks.

Dinner: We will enjoy a plated dinner at a restaurant on the top of a bank building, with great views of the city at night. Coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

LBJ Ranch, Free Time in Fredericksburg, Barbecue & Dancing
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Walk 1-2 miles, standing in museum for 1-2 hours. Driving distance approximately 75 miles, about 90 minutes.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will travel to LBJ National Historical Park, which contains a visitor center, reconstructed birthplace, cemetery and the Johnsons’ residence, known as the Texas White House, where the private quarters have been recently opened to the public for the first time. Park rangers will lead us on an exploration of the residence.

Lunch: On your own at one of the many restaurants along Main Street in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: At a local privately-owned ranch, we will enjoy authentic Texas barbecue and a performance with an award-winning area band.

Evening: On the ranch, we will meet a Texas rancher who will brag about his cattle and share his experiences on a ranch that has been in his family for decades.

Special Interest Field Trip, Free Time
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Most special interest field trips require limited or moderate amounts of walking. Nature walk requires ability to walk 4-5 miles at a moderate pace along paved, relatively flat walkway. Please note breakfast begins a half-hour later on weekends. Lunch for today differs based on morning field trip options.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (beginning a half-hour later).

Morning: We will choose from one of the following field trip options: 1) Cooking demonstration/ class and west side murals. Learn how to prepare a delicious Mexican meal with picante style from a local expert at a family-owned restaurant. On the way to the demonstration, we'll drive through the city's west side to see colorful murals. 2) Nature/ Bird Watching. Enjoy a guided walk alongside the San Antonio River extension trail. We will learn about the city's urban renewal efforts. Spot birds and other wildlife with a master naturalist. 3) Hispanic Culture/ West Side Visit. Explore an area rarely seen by tourists with a visit to the city's west side. Learn more about the diversity of the city and view some of its colorful murals. View a cross section of the many murals, visit a Mexican bakery, drive down Guadalupe St. and Park (where John Paul II held mass in 1988); explore herbal remedies in a botanica, and drive by other historic and important places in the life of West Side residents. 4) Explore Downtown Architecture. See and identify a wide variety of architectural styles through a guided walk of the downtown area and how the city has blended in new structures while maintaining the city's historic feel.

Lunch: Differs between field trip options: 1) At a local family-owned restaurant, we will enjoy a Mexican meal, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 2) & 3) At the hotel, we will enjoy a meal including soup, salad, sandwiches and more, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. 4) At a local West Side restaurant, we will enjoy a plated meal of authentic Tex-Mex plates, including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After our field trips conclude, the rest of your afternoon on your own to see and do what interests you most. We’ll return to the hotel for our daily reception on the second floor.

Dinner: On your own to explore some of the city's culinary gems.

Evening: Free for you to explore the many attractions of the city on your own. Or, you may choose to stay in the hotel and enjoy a Texas-themed movie.

Menger & Tejano Lectures, King William District, Cathedral
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area of city and restaurants. Getting on/off a trolley. Walking up to 2 miles, standing 1-2 hours. Please note breakfast begins a half-hour later on weekends

Breakfast: Hotel buffet (beginning a half-hour later).

Morning: In the hotel ballroom, a local expert will tell us the intriguing story of German immigrant Mary Menger, who operated two large San Antonio enterprises in the mid-19th century and demonstrated that a woman could thrive during a time when men dominated local commerce. As a widow and single mother, Menger profited from both the Western Brewery and Menger Hotel and became San Antonio’s largest employer. After a short break, we'll about the long-overlooked contributions of Tejano citizens, Mexican-American residents of Texas. Few people realize how many foods, practices and other cultural institutions originated from Tejano traditions.

Lunch: At the restaurant on the roof of the historic Guenther House, on the site of Pioneer Flour Mills, we will enjoy a delightful lunch, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase, with time to explore afterwards.

Afternoon: After our exploration of Guenther House, we will take a trip back in time as experts lead us through an area settled in the mid-19th century by affluent Germans, named after King Wilhelm of Prussia. We’ll stroll through impressive houses designed in the Greek Revival, Victorian and Italianate styles and get an inside look at the lifestyle of rich and famous San Antonio personalities from the late 1800s. Next, we go on an expert-led visit to the heart and soul of the city, the San Fernando Cathedral. Built in 1738, the cathedral is still in operation and played an important role in the religious and secular history of the city.

Dinner: On your own to explore some of the city's culinary gems.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to check out tonight’s light show at the Cathedral of San Fernando.

Water Conservation, Missions, Institute of Texan Cultures
Drury Plaza Hotel San Antonio Riverwalk

Activity note: Boarding a motorcoach with minimal assistance. Walking and sanding for up to 1-2 hours in museums.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Local experts will join us in the hotel ballroom for an informative and entertaining presentation on the successful story of San Antonio’s water conservation efforts, which will enlighten and provide a new perspective on the state. We'll find out how a growing metropolitan area copes with a finite supply of water during one of the nation's worst droughts. San Antonio is a leader in conservation efforts for water and other natural resources. We will travel by private motorcoach to San Antonio Mission National Historic Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for an exploration of the missions that make up the complex. With experts, we will learn about the early settlement and efforts of the Spanish to convert people to the church and an agricultural form of life. We will discover the beauty of Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo, the Queen of the Missions, restored by the WPA in the 1930s, and other nearby missions. We’ll also learn about how Spaniards used irrigation (acequia) systems to develop self-sustaining agricultural communities along the San Antonio River.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll choose from a wide variety of dishes, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: We will travel by motorcoach to the Institute of Texas Cultures (ITC) at Hemisfair Park. Operated by the University of Texas at San Antonio, the ITC fulfills its mandate as the state’s center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state. We will examine displays about the 26 different ethnic and cultural groups that settled the Texas frontier with exclusive, after-hours admission to the museum and learn about the rich diversity of cultures that sent settlers to Texas.

Dinner: Under the dome theater of the museum, we will enjoy a farewell dinner featuring a buffet meal, with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. We’ll also enjoy a performance from musicians and dancers.

Evening: We will return to the hotel and prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet. This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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