Wednesday, August 27th, 1997 - San Antonio, Texas

Downtown San Antonio, Texas

Slept in today, not very good. I began the day by parking downtown so I could make my way to the Convention Center to advance register for the convention which starts tomorrow. I found my way there by walking along the riverwalk, it was very pretty and interesting. Eventually, I managed to determine that the registration was at a hotel a few blocks away, and I got all of the information I need for tomorrow.

San Antonio Convention Center

The Alamo was only a block away so I went to visit. I knew next to nothing about the Alamo so I found it very interesting to read about what actually happened there. My southern U.S. history is VERY bad. It was rather impressive, and gave me a sense of the patriotism that many feel around here. “Don't Mess With Texas” is a very common phrase to hear.

The Alamo, San Antonio

The Alamo has been very much preserved and is very interesting, maintained by the Daughters of Texas (who were initially charged with doing so). I learned that David Crocket was involved with the last action taken at the Alamo. I know next to nothing about Davey and found the exhibits extended my knowledge. I can see why he is called a hero, or at the very least, a significant historical figure.

After the Alamo, right across the street was the Post Office, so I picked up a few stamps from a very helpful teller, it is amazing how many people in this city are so nice when they don't have to be. This was very much in evidence when I asked directions to the zoo after leaving the parkade, the lady was very patient and explained exactly how to get there.

The people from the convention, in one of the magazines they send after you register, said that the zoo was something to see, so I took them at their word. The real name is the San Antonio Zoological Gardens and Aquarium. The aquarium refers to a few areas of the zoo that have some aquariums with local and exotic fish, turtles and other water creatures.

It was nice to see the park essentially in the middle of the city. Neat to see all of the almond trees. The zoo was very good, with a great deal to see. A few things were closed, but those things were not that important (mostly amusement “rides”, like a “boat” ride along a creek in the children's area). They had a great number of birds, specifically, macau's and parrots. They had a fair amount of local animals which was also neat (roadrunners, etc.). I can hardly believe that the animals can stand the heat, it was about 95 degrees for most of the day, though the camels, zebras and giraffes did not seem to have any trouble. I would guess that It would be easy to maintain the animals at the zoo in their native climates, even animals from Asia, Africa and South America. There were a large number of animals that were only found here in San Antonio or at only a few other zoos. Many of the animals were either endangered or on a captive breeding program. I was also pleased to see that a few of the enclosures were using the idea of “barless cages” where natural barriers serve to keep the animals caged. For example, with the bears, you have a large, deep moat that they cannot cross.

The one thing about the zoo was that there were many winding paths, which made seeing all of the exhibits difficult in a simple pass. I walked a long time there, also seemed to have a few ice drinks also.

After the zoo, I walked over to the Japanese gardens, which seemed to be in a bad state of affairs, there was no pond (it was empty and dry) and there were few, if any, people. The garden itself was getting a bit overgrown. It was disappointing after the wonderful zoo. From everything I have read, the gardens were supposed to be quite nice in the past. It was interesting to see all of the bamboo growing in the garden as well as the zoo. I guess it is just that I have never seen it growing before and have a hard time believing it does, to see it…

After the garden, I went on a mini-train ride around the park that surrounds the zoo, just to see what is there. There are a few things to see, perhaps I will be able to re-visit it while I am here.

I grabbed something to eat then headed back to the hotel, very early this time, however, I spent most of the evening studying the convention itinerary to see what I will be visiting over the next few days, marking those that look interesting. There are a large number of authors here, it should be a very busy but fun time.

⇒ Continue to Thursday, August 28th, 1997 - San Antonio, Texas