In the Spring of 1968 San Antonio’s HemisFair Park was the site of the official 1968 World’s Fair. From April 6 through October 6 San Antonio welcomed more than thirty nations and six million visitors as they celebrated the various people and cultures that settled in the region. Themed the “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas,” the fair was set to pay tribute to the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city of San Antonio in 1718.
The development of the 92 acres of HemisFair completely changed the cityscape and brought with it the convention center and arena, the Texas State Pavilion (now the Institute of Texan Cultures), the U. S. Pavilion which has since transitioned to become the John H. Wood Federal Courthouse, and the Tower of Americas (don’t call it the space needle — that’s in Seattle. Ours is better.)
The park is in the midst of a major redevelopment. The first phase — Yanaguana Gardens, a whimsical playground and gathering space — opened in October 2015 and is pictured above. The goal of the designers is that “HemisFair will be an uncommonly beautiful urban green space in the heart of San Antonio, offering enriching and captivating experiences that draw people together and strengthen our community. It will be recognized as one of the world’s great urban parks.”
If you have time to linger, ride to the top of the Tower of the Americas for a stunning panoramic view of the city (or, if you are so inclined, just go to the revolving restaurant for a happy hour drink.) The Institute of Texan Cultures, operated by the University of Texas at San Antonio, is a museum and research facility that tells the story of Texas through the stories of its people. And, if you still need a little more exercise, Camp Gladiator will host a FREE fitness camp on Friday, February 24 from 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm: a fun and motivating environment where men and women of all ages and fitness levels can push themselves to reach their goals. Meet in the center of the park by the in-ground chess board.