The Place to Go for a Breath of Fresh Air in San Antonio

What’s the point of exercise at Christmas? Burning off a fraction  of what you just ate so you can develop an appetite for the next meal, right?  I try to be good, but my will power ultimately loses out and I end up quoting Regina George, “Whatever. I’m getting cheese fries.”

This Christmas, I was lying on the couch one afternoon after consuming a plate of chile rellenos. The 1,100 piece puzzle of Santa Claus was complete on the table, and a notepad lie open displaying our scores from rounds of gin rummy. The lights in the Christmas tree were twinkling and I was being lulled into a nap. The corgis were snoring all snug in their beds, while visions of bunny rabbits danced in their heads.

Leaving the house would mean changing out of my pajamas, which is against my principles at Christmas. But I did it because I have a new fancy camera to try out and I needed to work up an appetite for dinner, after all. I also needed to make room for more tamales and chile rellenos.


And so it happens that on a lazy winter day we ended up at Phil Hardberger park, in central San Antonio. Hardberger park was once part of the old Voelcker family farm, which extended across much of the rolling hills of northern San Antonio that is now a patchwork of subdivisions. The City of San Antonio purchased land from the Voelcker family years ago and turned it into parks.

Being on the old Voelcker farm gave me a sense of what this part of Texas looked like before there were roads and apartments and 7-11’s.


Maybe it’s because I grew up here, but the landscape of limestone, juniper trees and spring fed creeks are incredibly rugged and real and beautiful to me. They say “Welcome to TEXAS.”

Ahhh, what a romantically beautiful park. Let’s name it Phil Hardberger Park.

Nothing conveys romantic countryside like the word “Hardberger.”

But who am I to judge.

Hardberger Park has something for all the odds and ends in your quirky Christmas crew.

For the dog loving parents, you can find a dog hitching post at the playground so you can take your dog on a walk and let your kids play all in the same outing.


For the corgi, a place to watch the members of his herd run around like banshees on the playground.

For the engineer or environmentalist in the family, a rainwater catchment and recycling area.


For the teacher or history buff, an educational panel on the wall of the visitor center that tells the history and plants of the area.


For the gardener, beautiful landscaping.


For the corgi, gurgling water features.

For the architect, modern outdoor-indoor designs.


For everyone, flat terrain. Almost entirely flat, so the muscles that have done nothing but get you to and from the sofa aren’t awakened from their Christmas stupor.

For the corgi, lots of plants to sniff and lots of scents to cover up.


For the fitness buff, a network of winding paths for jogging, biking. (Also for those who just want a nice walk.)


For the ladies, stellar restrooms.

I have a general fear of public restrooms, but was pleasantly surprised to find the restrooms here are not only clean, but pretty. Yes, pretty restrooms at a public park!


A window at your feet lets in natural light and a view of the plants outside.  And the tile backspash is cute in blue and green.


The bathrooms get an A+.


A pleasant observation I made at this park were these cool sliding screen doors on the education/conference center.


What a cool feature.

Phil Hardberger Park was a winner, and I would definitely recommend it to families looking to stretch their legs and make room for the Christmas ham.  There is something for every age and ability level, and lots of happiness to be found for dogs!


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