TRAVEL THERE: JAPANESE TEA GARDEN IN SANANTONIO
Thanks to the VIA trolleys Deb and I were visiting San Antonio attractions we would’ve never reached by walking and we weren’t having to hassle with driving and parking. That’s the way to enjoy sightseeing.
The day was drawing to a close, but we had energy enough for one more attraction. We walked out of the San Antonio Botanical Garden just as the VIA trolley pulled up to the curb and rode over to the Japanese Tea Garden.
Both the Botanical Garden and the Japanese Tea Garden are part of a larger complex of attractions called Brackenridge Park. Included in the Brackenridge Park Conservancy is a zoo, a golf course, the Witte Museum and other recreational activities. Brakenridge Park is an important part of what makes San Antonio such a wonderful place to visit.
The Witte is undergoing a major overhaul right now, but on a previous trip, Bill and I had thoroughly enjoyed the museum with its South Texas Heritage Center. My last trip to the zoo was decades ago, long before I was blogging. Though small in comparison to some zoos, like San Diego for instance, it was quite charming. What sets it apart from other zoos, in my mind, are the beautiful animal sculptures sprinkled throughout the exhibits.
Visiting the Japanese Tea Garden
As I planned this trip with my bestie, I hoped we’d have time for the Japanese Tea Garden. I kept telling myself that surely somewhere along the way I had been there, but I could never recall a specific occasion. So, I looked forward to refreshing my memory. The VIA trolley rolled up to the entrance, I took the obligatory picture and then my bestie and I climbed the hill to the garden.
Once we reached the top and walked over to a pavilion where other tourists were madly snapping pictures, I realized I had never actually been there, because if I would have been, I would never have forgotten the view!
San Antonio’s Japanese Tea Garden was re-claimed from a quarry and the results are dramatic. From the pavilion you look down into a verdant landscape with two large pools. Then your eyes travel to the far side of the garden which features a cascading waterfall.
Garden Needs TLC
Since I’m always honest with you, I have to tell you, this is not a pristine garden like, Portland’s or Fort Worth’s Japanese Gardens, but the landscape is so unique it is still well worth a visit. As I was writing this series of articles and pulling up sites for linking, I noticed the Brackenridge Park Conservancy urging San Antonio’s citizens to come to a meeting about a new Master Plan. After seeing the condition of the Botanical Garden and the Tea Garden, I have to say they need a Master Plan.
A wedding ceremony was underway beneath the falls when we arrived so access was limited, but we made our way down the hill to the pools. One pool has perfectly clear water (well mostly clear water) and the other is clogged with some sort of algae or plant. Hopefully the new Master Plan will include clearing the murky pond.
When the wedding concluded and we were allowed back under the waterfall. The site, which had been so impressive from the pavilion, lost some of its charm up close. Like the Botanical Garden, the Tea Garden suffers from lack of maintenance. No one has loved either of these gardens well enough in quite a while. Enjoying gardens the way I do, it was sad to see what once must have been a stunning garden struggle to stay alive.
Back to the Trolley
We made a circuit of the garden, stopped in the tea shop for refreshments and headed towards the trolley stop. Truth be told, we were pooped. With the exception of a few quick trolley trips we’d been walking all day. Deb wears a Fitbit and when she told me how many tens of thousands of steps we’d made, I was suddenly even more exhausted.
The trolley finally showed up and we dragged our tired bodies into our seats, but the day wasn’t over. After a short respite in our wonderful suite we were rejuvenated and recharged – just in time for happy hour and dinner. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about that!