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River Walk’s Museum Reach offers art, food, fun

River Walk’s Museum Reach offers art, food, fun
HARRY & LINDA KAYE PEREZ San Antonio artist Carlos Cortes created this whimsical grotto, one of many points of interest along the Mission Reach on the River Walk in San Antonio.

The Museum Reach-Urban Segment, from Lexington Avenue to Josephine Street, added 1.3 miles to the San Antonio River Walk with some of the most spectacular views along this San Antonio jewel.

The San Antonio Improvements Project began in 1998 when the city of San Antonio teamed up with Bexar County, the Sam Antonio River Authority, the San Antonio Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the San Antonio River Oversight Committee. The addition of the Museum Reach-Urban Segment increased the length of the River Walk to 15 miles.

Setting out

Start at the Pearl, where you find plenty of free parking. Make your way to La Gloria Mexican restaurant and take the steps down to river level. Enjoy the beautiful waterfalls and the waterfowl that like to hang out there. Eventually, you will be able to walk to the right (northbound) for 2.25 miles (Park Segment) all the way to the Witte Museum and the San Antonio Zoo. This section should be completed in mid 2016.

But for now, walk to the left, toward downtown, past an amphitheater and the new Hotel Emma. This hotel was named for Emma Koehler, wife of the Pearl Brewery founder, Otto Koehler. Architects and designers transformed the 1894 Pearl Brew House into a unique and historically inspired 146-room boutique hotel.

Stroll and sightsee

The walkway is wide and enjoyed by walkers, joggers, and leashed pets. You never know what you might see next: a whimsical grotto, designed by San Antonio artist Carlos Cortes, that you can walk through; 25 hand-painted, 7-foot-long sunfish suspended under I-35 near Camden Street that are beautiful in the sunlight and glow from within after dark; and a metal walkway cover to create shade, titled Puente de los Encuentos a Place to Meet. The bright red hands reach out from both sides of the McCullough Street Bridge and meet in the middle.

Listen up as you approach the Jones Avenue underpass and bridge. The Sonic Passage was designed by sound artist Bill Fontana, and is a symphony of bird calls, crickets, croaking bullfrogs, buzzing insects, and rushing water.

Other points of interest along this new section of the River Walk are the VFW Post No. 76, the oldest in Texas; the locks and dam, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and the Wyndham River Walk Hotel. You can watch the passing of the barges through the locks from a platform bridge above, or you can experience it firsthand on one of the river taxis.

You might want to take some bottled water; there is no place along this section to purchase a cold drink.

The Museum Reach is wheelchair-accessible and a map of entrance and exit points is available on line.

Take a taxi!

Suggestion: Park at the Pearl, enjoy some street tacos at La Gloria, and then stroll the River Walk until you get tired. Find the nearest Rio Taxi stop and purchase a 24-hour unlimited pass and hop aboard. Disembark the taxi in the downtown section and enjoy lunch or dinner, a movie, or shopping. Then after dark, get back on the Rio Taxi and head back to the Pearl, going through the locks and getting to enjoy the beautiful illumination of many of the features we’ve described. The Rio Taxi turns around at the Pearl for their return trip.

You can buy tickets online or from any Rio Taxi driver. If you want to travel from both the Museum Reach and the Downtown reach, look for a barge with a “Rio Taxi” sign and a red- or yellow-checkered flag. Rio Taxis can stop at 39 different points along the route; 24-hour unlimited passes are $15 per person, cash only if purchased from the driver. Taxis operate from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

No matter how many times we have strolled the River Walk, we are always amazed at the “wow” factor at each bend of the river and the beautiful landscaping and innovative features that are continually added.

Harry and Linda Kaye Perez are freelance writers from just down the road from Floresville. Together they share a passion for traveling and writing, and discovering the very best in all corners of the world. Email them at Harry-Linda411@att.net.

Find out more

¢Rio Taxi Information, www.riosanantonio.com

¢La Gloria -- Street food of Mexico, www.chefjohnnyhernandez.com/lagloria

¢The Pearl, www.atpearl.com

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