San Antonio: The Alamo and Phil Collins?

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The Alamo
The famous landmark of San Antonio, Texas, the Alamo, has even British musician Phil Collins under its spell.  Photo courtesy of visitsanantonio.com

Phil Collins’ Collection and Other Attractions Coming to San Antonio, Texas

By Dana Armstrong

When most think of Phil Collins, they recall the drumming of Genesis, the Tarzan soundtrack, or the smooth-singing croon of his solo career golden days.

Less know that Collins has a passion wholly unrelated to music or his British roots: The Alamo.

As Phil Collins described in a 2014 press conference in front of the Alamo, he’s “had a love affair with this place since [he] was about 5 years old.”

“You know, I come from London so we have lots of history there and why I didn’t get as fascinated by something in English history, I’ll never know. But it was here: San Antonio, the Alamo, the shape of that church. It was just something.”

Phil Collins Loves the Alamo

Watching romanticized movies about Davy Crockett and the Old West ignited this passion. He says that while on tour for his band in the 1980s, he came across a letter written by Davy Crockett in a Washington, D.C. shop. Though it was too expensive for him to purchase at the time, it made him realize that collecting Alamo-related items was a possibility.

Collins joked, “Some people buy Ferraris, some buy houses [when they become wealthy] – I bought old bits of metal and old bits of paper.”

EHCB 02
A rendering of the interior of the Alamo’s Exhibition Hall & Collections building, set to open in late 2022.  Photo courtesy of The Alamo Trust.

Collins donated this accumulation of metal and paper to the Texas General Land Office, a department that upkeeps the Alamo, in 2014 under the condition that a museum would be built to house and display his artifacts. That wish will be fulfilled in late 2022 with the opening of the Alamo’s new Exhibition Hall & Collections Building.

 

If there’s one thing that Phil Collins has right, it’s that there’s a lot to love in San Antonio, Texas – and even more exciting attractions are on their way. Including Phil Collin’s Alamo collection, here are some of the upcoming attractions to keep in mind when planning a future trip to San Antonio.

Experience Día de los Muertos the San Antonio Way

San Antonio prides itself on its multicultural heritage. And nowhere is that more apparent than during its Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, festivities. This celebration originated in Mexico, but is now celebrated by many Latin and Latin-influenced countries. The holiday reimagines death in a beautiful way since the day is meant to honor the cyclicity of life and remember loved ones who have passed away.

Dia de Los muertos performers
The streets of San Antonio come alive with the dead for the city’s Día de los Muertos festivities around late October to early November.  Photo courtesy of visitsanantonio.com

San Antonio devotes nearly two weeks to the Day of the Dead every year with numerous events and activities. In the festival at Hemisfair, catrinas dance to the live music filling the streets. Their vibrant, ruffled skirts contrast their skull-like black and white face paint. You can enjoy a plethora of tasty Mexican street foods, browse the arts market, and pay tribute to the multitude of colorful altar displays.

Over at the River Walk’s nighttime parade, elaborately decorated and illuminated boats sparkle on the river as they float down. But you may also be able to catch a live broadcast of the parade from one of San Antonio’s many bars over a refreshing Margarita.

Read more about San Antonio’s food scene.

The festival takes place annually around late October to November 2nd.

The Finest Latin Entertainment

Also tapping into the Latin culture, the Alameda Theater, the U.S.’s largest Latino-focused performing arts center, is set to reopen in 2023.

The theater was originally built in 1949 and showcased the acting and performing talents of Mexican, Spanish, and Latin American artists. After years of use, it was time for a revamp. The City of San Antonio, which now owns the property, partnered with Texas Public Radio and La Familia Cortez on a $37 million initiative to restore the theater.

Tiered seating, a thrust stage, and expanded eating and lounge spaces will invite more to experience Latin performance and film at its finest.

Family Fun in San Antonio

For those looking for family fun, there are two exciting, new options. In 2022, Six Flags Fiesta Texas will be celebrating its 30th anniversary by launching a new rollercoaster: Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger. This terrifying ride will drop guests 60 mph at a 95-degree angle, making it the steepest rollercoaster drop in the world!

San Antonio’s other new addition is Morgan’s Wonderland Camp, a 102-acre outdoor campus which provides fun, accessible summer-camp-like experiences for people of all ages and abilities. The camp opened in November 2021 and has options for family weekends, nonprofit organization partnerships, and even corporate retreats. Ultra-accessible zip lining, horseback riding, and cabin camping are just a few of its offerings. Find out how to book your getaway here.

48x24 foamcore jag
The Pantera Walk, part of the San Antonio Zoo’s NEOTROPICA, will provide guests with a new perspective on jaguars.

Also, don’t miss out on the San Antonio Zoo’s jaguar habitat expansion opening in Fall 2021. Their new realm, NEOTROPICA, will whisk visitors away to the imaginings of an Amazonian, fishing village. The main feature will be the Pantera Walk: an overhead catwalk system that allows a new view of the zoo’s beloved jaguars. Book your tickets to the San Antonio Zoo now!

Upcoming San Antonio Hotels

The River Walk area of San Antonio will be getting some upgrades in the near future, mainly through its lodging. The earliest addition will be the AC Hotel by Marriott and the Element Hotel by Westin in the Riverview Towers, just a short walk from the Main Plaza. Both hotels are set to open in May 2022.

The AC Hotel prioritizes “simplistic elegance” for business and leisure travelers alike. The clean lines and sophisticated black, white, and wood color schemes offer an ideal setting for focusing on business tasks. Guests can also unwind at the rooftop bar overlooking the river. Stay up to date here.

For those looking to book a longer stay in San Antonio, the Element Hotel will be a great option. The spacious rooms will feel more like an apartment than a hotel as they offer fully-equipped, in-room kitchens. Additionally, a laundry room and fitness centers will be open 24/7 for the utmost convenience.

Anyone longing for the luxury experience will be sure to enjoy the 4-star InterContinental Hotel coming to 111 E Pecan Street in early 2023. The 21-story building, formerly the Wyndham hotel, is planning ample space for meetings and high-class dining.

Finally, it will be hard to miss the gorgeous street art set to be displayed at the front of Artista San Antonio, set to open in July 2023. This hotel will uniquely tie together the “lifestyle boutique hotel experience” with the rich talents of local artists. Guests will be able to access artists’ limited edition prints all while enjoying a space designed to marry San Antonio’s Spanish roots and modern vibrancy.

The Alamo’s Phil Collins Collection (Coming late 2022!)

Epaulettes Alamo Trust
The Epaulettes of Col. Juan Morales, who fought in the Battle of the Alamo, are just one of Collins’ prized artifacts.  Photo courtesy of the Alamo Trust.

The Phil Collins Collection will become a mainstay of the Alamo’s new Exhibition Hall & Collections Building.

According to Kevin Femmel, the Program Manager and Construction Manager for the Alamo Plan, the sleek, modern, 24,000-square-foot building is set to open to visitors in late 2022. That building, plus the other parts of the Alamo Plan – San Antonio’s $250 million project to restore its historic buildings, preserve the 1863 Battlefield, and construct new buildings preserving The Alamo’s stories – will breathe new life into a vital part of Texas history.

The Collins collection includes both Spanish and American military artifacts (such as swords, rifles, and uniforms) as well as numerous original documents from the 1800s. An autographed copy of Davy Crockett’s autobiography and the written order by Santa Anna that prompted the Battle of the Alamo are just a couple of the highlights.

Alamo attack order Alamo Trust
Santa Anna’s original order for the attack on the Alamo (March 6, 1836). Photo courtesy of the Alamo Trust.

The Phil Collins Collection Preview ran from March 2 through April 25, 2021. The interest from that preview promises that seeing the full collection in 2022 will be well worth the wait.

To learn more about San Antonio and plan your upcoming trip, check out Visit San Antonio’s website.