All Hail The Alamo
Visiting the Legendary San Antonio Landmark
2012 marks the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo. Home to missionaries for many decades before the famous battle for which it’s remembered, the Alamo was attacked by Mexican forces on the morning of February 23, 1836 – a critical event in the Texas Revolution. The resulting siege, which lasted nearly two weeks and ended in victory for Mexico, has come to symbolize the struggle for independence of the Texans (mainly Texas settlers), and their willingness to sacrifice their lives for freedom.
The concierge at San Antonio’s Crockett Hotel, which is offering a special hotel package to commemorate the Alamo anniversary, offers a few helpful suggestions for planning a trip to this historic Texas attraction.
Be prepared. Orient yourself with a visit to the Alamo IMAX Theatre Rivercenter before visiting the site itself. The Theater is walking distance from the mission; it features a 40-minute movie offering a dynamic and informative depiction of the battle. Located next to the Alamo, The History Shop, with its detailed diorama of the compound, is also well worth a look (an admission fee is required).
Take your time. Located in downtown San Antonio, the Alamo is open from 9am to 5:30pm every day except for Christmas Eve and Christmas. (On Sundays, it opens an hour later, and during the summer months, it remains open until 7pm.) You’ll want to schedule several hours to experience everything the Alamo has to offer without worrying about crowds. Or choose to break up your visit into several trips, if you prefer; one of the many advantages of the Alamo’s central location is the ease with which it can be accessed. On the first Saturday of every month, the Alamo comes alive with period re-enactments, music, crafts and more.
Immerse yourself. Wander around some of the Alamo’s highlights (and supplement your visit with a self-guided audio tour, available for a $6 fee):
- The Shrine. This is the site of the old church, which was the setting for some of the battle’s fiercest warfare. Many visitors start their tour here. You can view artifacts from the battle, as well as flags representing the many places from which the Texan army soldiers came.
- Long Barrack Museum. Cross the Convent Courtyard to the Museum, home to the Clara Driscoll Theater. Here you can watch another short film on the Alamo and peruse several different exhibits, including one describing the compound’s history.
- Gift Museum. In addition to exhibits related to the Texas Revolution and Texas history, the Gift Museum houses the site’s gift shop, where books, apparel, and other Alamo-related memorabilia are for sale. The Alamo derives a large part of its funds from gift shop sales, so your purchases support a worthy cause.
- Alamo Courtyard. Every day, red-jacketed narrators provide a poignant retelling of the events leading to the famous battle here in the Courtyard. Not to be missed.
- Alamo Gardens. These beautifully tended gardens are to the right of the Shrine; not far from the gardens is the Wall of History, an outdoor exhibit.
Take in the significance. The Alamo is the most visited historical site in Texas. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas have managed the Alamo for over 100 years, and they are reverent in their role as custodians. For veterans, the site has its own special meaning, and it also holds great political importance for citizens of Texas and of Mexico. Only after you visit will you learn how its legacy affects you.