Helen had never been to see the missions in San Antonio. Since it was over a year since we took the grandkids there (before Helen arrived in San Antonio, we figured that Sunday would be a good day to hit the mission trail.
There are five historic missions in San Antonio with the Alamo being the most well known. They are all part of the National Park System (NPS). The NPS maintains the grounds while the San Antonio Catholic Diocese renovates and maintains the churches themselves. It is a unique partnership that works very well. The churches all have regular services unless they are being renovated. You are welcome to go inside and look around unless services are in session. We didn't include the Alamo on this trip so we started with Mission Concepcion. It has been many years since I had been there and it was everyone else's first time since we only did Mission San Jose last year.
Church services were in session so we did not go inside the chapel part but got a good look at everything else.
People and doors were much shorter in the 1700's.
Our next stop was Mission San Jose which is a must see for this group of missions. The NPS has a headquarters here with a movie, exhibits, gift shop, and ranger led tours. These missions were so much more than churches. They were whole self supporting communities with farmland. The Spaniards also utilized these missions to establish their position in the area. The Indians were given Spanish citizenship and they were considered Spanish colonists once they learned Spanish and became part of the mission life.
If you only have a couple of hours, visit Mission San Jose, watch the movie, and take a ranger led tour.
Next we were off to Mission San Juan Capistrano. We weren't able to get right up close to this one because it is under renovation.
Each of the missions has a different look. One tower, two towers, bells......
The final mission is Mission Estrada.
The Espada Aquaduct and dam are also close by for viewing.
I definitely recommend a visit to the San Antonio missions. It will be well worth your time.