Education Programs at San Antonio Missions NHP

Ranger wearing hat looks to Spanish mission

To understand San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is to understand the people who built these communities. By the 1700s, The Kingdom of Spain had spread from the Iberian Peninsula to the distant waters of what we now know as the Philippines. Settlements protected by the Spanish Army and administered by Catholic priests were busy legitimizing a claim to nearly half of the world. Here in south Texas missions inhabitants were toiling under the hot summer sun to grow crops and raise cattle in the methods of their masters.

Field trips to San Antonio Missions National Historical Park help hundreds of students each year to understand this important era in the history of the world. The park, along with the Alamo, was inscribed as a World Heritage Site in 2015. Ranger led student programs are available. Teachers can contact us to reserve a ranger led program.

The Kingdom on the River is the newest ranger led program for students at San Antonio Missions NHP. It explores how Spain shaped the culture of the region through their tools, technology, and ideas. Change is never easy, and not all of the changes were for the better. As observers from the 21st century, we can view the successes and failures of these royal communities. San Antonio Missions NHP Park Rangers offer this program Wednesdays through Fridays at 9:30 am and 10:30 am at Mission San José. The program lasts about forty-five minutes and can accommodate up to eighty students. A reservation is required for a ranger led program and a minimum of two weeks advance notice is needed. Kingdom on the River is designed for students in grades 4 through 8.

The second student program at San Antonio Missions NHP, Seeds of a Community, is offered at the demonstration farm on Mission San Juan. This program explains the change from the hunter/gatherer lifestyle to Spain’s system of agriculture. The program includes a walk to an original channel of the San Antonio River and a demonstration of the acequia, or irrigation system, in the farm fields. This program is offered at 10:00 am Wednesdays through Fridays, and has a maximum capacity of fifty students. This presentation takes one hour and is intended for grades 4 through 8.

No reservation is required for teacher-led programs at the park, for those groups with tight schedules or unique curriculum. Park hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm with the facilities at Missions San Juan and Espada opening at 10:00 am.