Saturday, July 16, 2016

A San Antonio-Based Summer Fun Day Staycation #SummerFun #WGHitstheRoad #CelebrateSummer

Our teenage niece Lilith spent a long weekend with us earlier this Summer. We live in Texas...she lives in we only see her during the Summer. That means we have to pack a lot of memories into the time we do have together! During her recent visit to San Antonio, I planned a day that included a visit to the Riverwalk. Michael, Lilith, and I left home early that morning -- and we didn't get back until late that evening. From sunrise until way past dark, we had an absolute blast! Our day started at The Magnolia Pancake Haus, our favorite place for breakfast in San Antonio. We enjoyed fresh-squeezed juice, pancakes, and a duo of sweet and savory menu items. Magnolia has two San Antonio locations -- both of which are insanely popular. We arrived at the Medical Center location at 730 in the morning and were quickly seated. By the time we left an hour or so later? Tons of people were waiting for their tables in the spacious outdoor deck area -- talk about perfect timing! 
The Bananas Foster French Toast takes a breakfast classic to New Orleans. Tender French toast is topped with a decadent banana-rum praline sauce. So good! This dish was rich and tasty, perfect for sharing. For our savory entree, we enjoyed the Southern Bennie -- a Texas spin on traditional eggs Benedict. It was made with delicious Haus-smoked pulled pork served on top of a biscuit with two poached eggs, creamy Hollandaise sauce, and zesty Haus-made BBQ sauce. This was the perfect savory breakfast, full of amazing flavors that complemented each other perfectly. We also shared two types of Magnolia's amazing buttermilk pancakes: apple cinnamon and blueberry. The pancakes are huge and fluffy, with a generous amount of fresh fruit in every bite. We're absolutely nuts about their amazing vanilla-infused maple syrup. Thanks to Magnolia Pancake Haus, we started our day well fueled!

Our next stop was Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort in New Braunfels, a quick 45-minute drive from San Antonio. Texas Summers are incredibly hot, making Schlitterbahn an ideal location for cooling water-based fun! Parking was easy, and we quickly made it past the gate...toward the cooling water! Schlitterbahn has multiple locations in Texas, but this location is where it all started. It offers a wide range of water slides and water-based attractions -- all designed to keep cool and have a good time. This Schlitterbahn location is divided into two sections a few blocks apart -- thanks to convenient, free shuttle buses, it's quick and easy to spend time at both sections. We started out in the newer section, riding tubes in the lazy river and careening down steep, twisting water slides. That worked up an appetite, so we visited one of the convenient walk-up grills to order sandwiches: BBQ pulled pork and a bacon cheeseburger.
Having tasty, affordable food options onsite means you don't have to leave to eat. If you prefer to have a picnic, no problem! Schlitterbahn allows visitors to bring in coolers with their own food and drinks to enjoy a picnic at one of several covered picnic areas.

The wait times for some of the most popular rides at Schlitterbah can get a bit long, but our longest wait the day we visited was only about 45 minutes. Another tip: don't forget to apply...and also re-apply...high SPF sunscreen often during your visit to make sure you don't get a sunburn! Lilith and I paused for a brief photo op in the locker area to snap a quick pic of the branded wristbands that Schlitterbahn provides to all their guests. These bands help to ensure easy in-and-out privileges between the two sides of the park. After we enjoyed a few more water-based thrills, we decided to share a funnel cake sundae. This Birthday Cake version was perfect for sharing and featured a funnel cake base, ice cream, whipped cream, and sprinkles. We had a blast during our day at Schlitterbahn! 
We headed back to San Antonio and headed to the fun and funky Mellow Mushroom for a pizza party. We started with a shared appetizer and salad. Their soft pretzels are made from their delicious pizza dough, flavored with garlic and parmesan and baked. They come served with red sauce for dipping. The pretzels went nicely with their Capri salad. It featured fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, a tangy-sweet balsamic glaze, and salad greens. The pizza was still baking, and our meal was already off to a great start! One of the the things we loved about Mellow Mushroom is that they let you choose two flavors per pizza, allowing you to mix and match -- and preventing a lot of arguments in the process. Our first pizza was half Mighty Meaty and half Funky Q. Chicken. The Mighty Meaty was loaded with pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, ham, and bacon -- a meat lover's dream come true! Funky Q. Chicken had BBQ chicken, caramelized onions, bacon, and a swirl of BBQ sauce -- messy, but so so good.
Our other pizza was half Holy Shitake and half Bayou Blue. Holy Shitake is an upscale veg-friendly pie featuring three types of mushrooms, caramelized onions, two kinds of cheese, and a drizzle of garlic aioli and truffle oil. The Bayou Blue was my personal favorite flavor. It had a spicy blue cheese base and was topped with grilled shrimp and spicy andouille sausage. I loved all of those robust, creative flavors! We were pretty full by then, but we decided to split one of Mellow Mushroom's skillet peanut butter cup cookies, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mercy, was it ever good! With that, were were stuffed and happy.
Before we headed back home, we had one more item on our agenda for the day: a boat ride on the Riverwalk! One of the most iconic tourist attractions on the Riverwalk is a taking a multi-person 30-minute narrated cruise of the river. We walked along the shops and restaurants on the Riverwalk promenade, until we saw a ticket booth for the boats. We hopped on just as the last tour of the evening was leaving and enjoyed a relaxing nighttime cruise along the Riverwalk. Our friendly tour guide was knowledgeable, sharing lots of great information and stories about the city's history and some of the downtown San Antonio buildings and architecture. As you can see, Lilith had a great time!
With that, our fun-filled day was officially complete. We were all feeling pretty tired by then, so we headed home and went straight to bed. Cramming that much fun in one day requires a lot of energy! Lilith is back home in Ohio now, but we have a ton of happy memories to look back on for her Summer 2016 San Antonio visit. I hope you'll get out there with your loved ones and make some Summer memories of your own this year!

Disclosure: Schlitterbahn provided us with complimentary tickets and food -- and Magnolia Pancake Haus and Mellow Mushroom provided us with complimentary meals -- to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

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