I don't know about you, but the summer heat here in Texas is pretty excruciating, and with little ones at home, things can get pretty tricky! Instead of spending too much time in front of the TV, consider working with your preschoolers on some fun skills to prepare for Pre-K and Kindergarten! All of these printable units are available in my TPT store!
At the end of May, my family of three packed up on a Friday morning and headed to fabulous San Antonio, Texas! There is so much to do in San Antonio, and we were looking forward to a three-day weekend and two luxurious nights at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa.
We knew that the property was going to be nice and the experience wonderful... but we had no idea how right we were. The JW Marriott was indescribably wonderful. Words can't express how impressed we were by this grand property. Imagine driving into the Texas Hill Country, down quiet, perfectly manicured streets lined with beautiful landscaping, and arriving at a resort atop a hill, featuring limestone rock and native Texas foliage.
Then, inside the heavy doors, hearing indoor water features and feeling the spaciousness of the hotel, filled with luxurious furnishings. And then, arriving to our adjoining rooms, greeted by granite, leather, and a full-sized balcony overlooking the Hill Country. The property has a very distinct Texas feel, without overplaying the stereotypical "Texas" decor. Everything was classy and stylish, but still had an authentic Hill Country feel to it.
Then imagine waking up to breakfast at Cibolo Moon for a gourmet breakfast buffet filled with everything imaginable, made to order. Breakfast at Cibolo Moon could easily qualify as the best breakfast you've ever had. After chatting with one of the head chefs, we learned much of the food, such as the smokey salsa he loved so much, is made on property.
And then, slipping into your bathing suit and floating down a cool, lazy river amidst Texas sage and a host of native Texas trees and shrubbery with the warm sun on your skin. We took all of the pictures of the pool area below from our balcony. What a view! An amazing pool and lazy river, with a world class golf course behind that, and the beauty of the rolling Hill Country beyond that! Much of our time there included simply enjoying our full-size balcony and this one-of-a-kind view.
For me, this is the definition of relaxation. The definition of a vacation. Time stands still, and it is perfection. These feelings of peacefulness are peppered with feelings of joy as I share these moments with my husband and daughter, who are equally as content. Then seeing my daughter ride her first water slide and jump into the water into her daddy's arms. Then, enjoying a poolside picnic at the Rivertop Grill with a gentle breeze blowing.
The JW Marriott has thought of everything. No detail is overlooked, from the rooms, to the food, to the grounds, to the amenities. There are 36 holes of golf, a spa, and organized activities for the children including nature labs, stargazing through a telescope, crafts, and ballerina princess parties. There are games like ping-pong and corn hole scattered around the property that you can play for 2 minutes or 2 hours. The pool staff even provides poolside service so you never have to leave your lounge chair. There's an arcade, a zero-entry pool that makes for a great splash area for the littlest toddlers, and life-jackets available for kids.
Just to put it into perspective, this hotel has been named one of the Top 500 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure Magazine. It is easy to see why. Once you're here, you simply don't want to leave. The JW Marriott has gained lifelong patronage from our family. Everything is so meticulously integrated into the design and landscape, to further enhance the aesthetics of the property. It rivals the elegance of the Bellagio in Las Vegas, but with a Texas twist.
And as the day starts cooling off and the sun begins to set, you can meet at the fire pit for complimentary s'mores--the perfect way to end the day. Taking time to wander the property gives you the opportunity to discover a chess board tucked away here, beautiful bronze cowboy sculpture there, or all the beautiful and huge outdoor fireplaces that have comfy Adirondack chairs around them and the beautiful Texas night sky above them. Perfect for conversations with family and friends.
It's easy to capture the beauty of the property and to describe the joy of the amenities, but there was one more thing that struck us during our time there--the staff. Every staff member we came in contact with was incredibly friendly, knowledgeable, and eager to please. My husband even said that when he went to check us in, the staff actually came out from behind the desk to welcome him to the property! Amazing attention to detail and a very sharp attention to heightening the customer experience. The JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa is a world class property with world class staff. Sea World San Antonio Our daughter had seen the Sea World commercials on television, and with her fascination with ocean animals, we were really excited to be able to take her to Sea World San Antonio. I grew up going there and really loved it as a kid! Boy, has Sea World changed since then! There are now tons of great rides and a huge play area for childen, not to mention a brand new water park.
Sea World has palm trees everywhere, and being pregnant, I really appreciated the comfortable Adirondack chairs under the shade of umbrellas throughout the park.
The Sesame Street Bay of Play is a genius idea with a giant splash pad and play area for kids, complete with climbing structures and kiddie rides. This was probably our daughter's favorite part!
Azul, the show with beluga whales and dolphins, features amazing divers and acrobatics--our daughter was absolutely mesmerized! Several elements actually reminded us of the Cirque du Soleil "O" show in Las Vegas.
We also enjoyed visiting the aquariums and the penguin house on site. For older kids and adults, there are several thrill rides on property including roller coasters and flume rides. Everyone should visit Sea World San Antonio at least once! Maria Mia Mexican Bistro on the River Walk On Sunday, before we headed out of town, we stopped downtown at the Riverwalk to enjoy lunch at Maria Mia Mexican Bistro. With indoor and outdoor seating, you can enjoy a meal by the river for a fun San Antonio experience. This restaurant is a must-visit while in San Antonio!
At the intersection of the River Walk and Commerce Street, you’ll find that it’s easily accessible from the street level with ample parking or directly off of the River Walk. It’s also immediately beside where tickets are sold and the boats depart from for the famous River Walk cruises.
The atmosphere has a definite touch of class with it’s beautiful wrought iron chandeliers alongside its beautiful indoor water feature.
If you have a larger group or simply want privacy, Maria Mia has a great upstairs space that overlooks the rest of the restaurant.
My husband ordered the Pechuga Isabella, which has won the Taste of the River award for the best dish on the Riverwalk. Honestly, this is one of the most delicious meals you will ever order.
The menu offers so many great appetizers, drinks, entrees, and desserts. Whether you’d like to take a break from the heat and sit inside or you prefer the open-air dining you’ll find that the wait staff and the food are tremendous.
When Backyard Ocean contacted me about reviewing some of their backyard inflatable products, I couldn't say yes fast enough! Since moving back to Texas several months ago and buying a house, we realized that we needed to add some fun to the backyard for our little one! With the hot temperatures coming, a waterhose just wasn't going to cut it...
When the Backyard Ocean boxes arrived on our doorstep, our daughter could not contain her excitement.
We went from this...
to this with products from Backyard Ocean!
Apparently, the little one is WINNING with her Interactive Castle Inflatable Play Pool and her Jumping Gym Inflatable Bouncer! My husband and I were able to relax on the back patio and enjoy grilling all weekend while she enjoyed the sunshine and lots of exercise on the lawn.
The castle pool is perfect for preschoolers! Not only does it have a ringtoss, but it also features several sprayers along the edge of the pool which connect to your waterhose and can be easily adjusted. In my opinion, the sprayers are the very best part!
As you can see, we positioned her plastic slide under the sprayers so she could slide into the pool, and she had her very own kiddie waterpark!
To create your own summer backyard fun zone, visit Backyard Ocean to order pools, toys, and accessories!
Disclosure: I received multiple products from Backyard Ocean for purposes of this review. All opinions are our own.
If you're like lots of us who are getting ready for Pre-K in the fall, you might be interested in this new printable available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!
This 18-page file contains super simple printable worksheets to help prepare your toddler or preschooler for a successful transition to Pre-K. With an emphasis on fine motor skills including tracing, cutting, and pasting, little ones will practice specific skills necessary for Pre-K readiness.