BotanicalFountainAn outing to a botanical garden is a lovely way to learn more about a city you’re visiting – especially if you’re there during a special event showcasing local culture.

Such was the case on a recent visit to San Antonio, Texas, which was celebrating (big-time) its annual Fiesta, a multi-day event with music, food and souvenir pins (much like Disney pins). Festivities took place on the streets and at area attractions, such as the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

The 33-acre San Antonio Botanical Garden, which opened in 1980, has several themed areas but my favorite was the Texas Native Trail. Here, the plants and flowers represent three distinct regions – Hill Country, East Texas Pineywoods and South Texas.  Walking along the trail are several early Texas houses, which were reconstructed on the site to help illustrate and interpret the regional theme.

The Watersaver Garden teaches locals about responsible landscaping with plants suited to the climate. There’s also a beautiful rose garden. An interesting part of the gardens is the Lucile Halsell Conservatory, a futuristic structure featuring plants from around the world. The pond with tropical waterlilies makes this a good place to relax.

SAConservatoryThe highlight for many people on this day was the Fiesta Children’s Parade. We gathered to watch the parade with festively decorated wagons and strollers holding excited young kids. Many children were dressed in colorful clothing, masks and leis.

With its colorful gardens, the San Antonio Botanical Garden was an ideal location for the children’s parade but is definitely worth visiting any time of year.

Cost: $8 adults, $5 children (under 12). For more information, visit www.sabot.org.

Los Angeles TravelingMom Mimi Slawoff also writes a monthly family travel column in L.A. Parent magazine (www.laparent.com).  Read more about Mimi at www.writemimi.com. Follow her on Twitter @mimitravelz.

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