Sunday, March 24, 2013

Rising to New Heights -- Sun., Mar. 24

Off on our adventure at 10:30 a.m. First destination the Japanese Tea Garden at Brackenridge Park. But it wasn't always the Japanese Tea Garden. Here's the unfortunate history.

In the early 1900s the San Antonio City Parks Department wanted to beautify the old Portland Cement quarry. A Japanese Tea Garden was conceived to fill the space. Japanese artist Kimi Eizu Jingu was enlisted to assist in the design of an authentic Japanese Tea Garden. Numerous plants from gardens in Japan were imported to imbue authenticity. A house was constructed on the site using rocks from the old quarry and the Jingu family was moved in to become overseers of the facility. In 1926, the Jingus opened a tea house in the upper level of their home. Mr. Jingu became famous internationally for his knowledge of teas.

The Jingu family remained in their home in the garden until shortly after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor. The resulting general fear and resentment by the American public caused the Jingu family to be removed from the garden and the name was changed to the Chinese Tea Garden. It was at that time the Chinese-style entry was added bearing the inscription "Chinese Tea Garden." The name was not changed back to Japanese Tea Garden until the 1970s!

Trumpet flowers.

"Entrance to Chinese Tea Garden"
The Pavilion at Japanese Tea Garden
Koi polloi.
Texas Gold Columbine
Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa)
Japanese Garden bridge and waterfall.
Jan, Bob, Mom--Looks warm, but it was COLD!!
Grasses and bridge.
Blue plumbago flowers (?)
Turtle swimming underwater.
Trail from Japanese Garden to San Antonio Zoo.
We took a 20-minute miniature railway ride through Brackenridge Park.

Brackenridge Park
Mom, me, Jan
Brackenridge Park

We wanted to show Mom and Jan another part of the Riverwalk so we parked at Pearl Brewery and walked to the San Antonio Art Museum. Along the way, we saw the artwork of Carlos Cortes (designer of The Grotto using Faux Bois [false wood] technique), and the fish sculptures hanging under the freeway.

Black-bellied whistling ducks.
Black-bellied whistling duck at Pearl Brewery Riverwalk.
American coot.
San Antonio Riverwalk at Pearl Brewery Complex.
Interesting grasses.
Concrete art of Carlos Cortes.
San Antonio Art Museum from Museum Reach on the Riverwalk.
Fish art under a freeway.
Ducklings with no momma duck. Awwww.
Carlos Cortes art at The Grotto.
What type of flower or bloom is this?
Upon finishing our loop walk, we stopped in downtown San Antonio to walk another part of the Riverwalk. We quickly visited The Alamo, watched the movie and walked the grounds. All of us were very hungry so we went back to our respective dwellings to eat and relax before Mom's birthday dinner tonight.

Explosive new growth on cacti at The Alamo.
For our evening entertainment, I had purchased a Groupon a couple of months ago for admission to Tower of the Americas Observation Deck and Skies Over Texas 4-D theater experience. Before dinner we watched Skies Over Texas. What a hoot that was! All of us enjoyed the experience.

Then we took the elevator to new (for us) heights--the Observation Deck of Tower of the Americas. Tower of the Americas at 750' tall was built in 1968.

It was a beautiful, clear afternoon and our 360-degree panorama was unobstructed by clouds, humidity or dust. The Observation Deck has photos around the inside identifying city landmarks we could see. Texas history write ups lined the walls. Mom was most amazed by camels in Texas. She had no idea camels had been imported for use in the hot, arid conditions. That idea did not work out in the long run because camels apparently smell horrible, have cantankerous personalities and the horses who had to work with the camels were terrified of them. Oops.

An outside observation area is available as well. However, howling, icy-cold winds kept us inside, except for a foray outside to take a couple of photos.

Looking south from Tower of the Americas.
Reading history of Texas.
The Alamodome as seen from the Tower.

Jan, Bob, Mom
Jan, me, Mom
Dinnertime...we took the elevator down two levels to the Chart House. Our reservation was just before sunset so we saw evening turn to night and watched the city lights come on. Truly beautiful.

Bob, Susan, Jan, Mom, and San Antonio at night.
So, after dinner we headed back to see Skies Over Texas. The show was so much fun we wanted to see it again.

Bob and Mom hamming it up in 3-D glasses.
The wind had died down so we walked a little on the Riverwalk. It certainly looks different at night! Fun to see it with all the people gone and the city lit up.

Waterfalls in Hemisfair Park outside Tower of the Americas.
We think there was a BASF convention in town.
Tower of the Americas at night with moon.

Part of the Convention Center.
Riverwalk Mall neon and lighted bridge--Riverwalk.
The end.

Travel Bug out.