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Howdy, partners. There’s a new “Cowboy Museum” in town.

South Texas history museum in San Antonio

The South Texas Heritage Center

My kids love the Witte Museum. But they don’t call it that. The name they give it depends upon the most recent special exhibit they’ve seen there. For a time it was the “Dinosaur Museum.” After that they referred to the Witte as the “Bug Museum,” and then the “Fish Museum,” and, most recently, the “Pirate Museum.” Whatever they saw that last captured their imaginations and their attention is how they refer to this beloved place that also boasts one of Texas’ best hands-on science exhibits for children: the HEB Science Treehouse.

But later this month I’m pretty sure the Witte Museum will have yet another new name in our house: the “Cowboy Museum.” On May 26 the Witte celebrates the grand opening of the Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center.

As part of a media preview last week I toured this stunning, two-story, 20,000 square foot building, which incorporates the historic Pioneer Hall and now houses the permanent exhibit that showcases the rich and colorful history of South Texas. Like the Witte’s other permanent and special exhibits I’ve visited before it, the South Texas Heritage Center employs really cool interactive technology, including cinematic robots, touch-screen computers, and motion-trigger personas, to bring history to life.

South Texas history museum

Longhorn steer from the Peeler Herd

South Texas history is a distant memory for this middle-aged gal (How is it possible that fourth grade was sooooo long ago? I can still hear Kool and the Gang belting out, “Celebrate good times, c’mon!”) so I had a great time wandering around the Center, (re-) learning about the early South Texas ranching empires that still exist to this day. It was also neat to see what Main Plaza looked like in the 1840s and to (re-) learn that for almost a century, San Antonio was the largest city in Texas and a vital hub of commerce in the Southwest.

My kids’ love for the Witte Museum began before they could walk. The engaging exhibits on exciting topics are certainly part of the reason. But I think it’s also the wonderfully creative ways in which the Witte continually combines history with fun and interactive hands-on learning opportunities that have our kids begging us to return again and again. They love getting involved with science and history.

In 2010, our son quivered underneath a huge T-Rex during the Dinosaurs Unearthed exhibit. At just 2 1/2 years old then, he was more than a little scared but he didn’t run away or hide. He still remembers and recites the remarkable things he learned about the dinosaurs that day.

South Texas history museum

Touchscreen maps and photos come to life at your fingertips

I can’t wait to introduce him and our daughter to the wonders of the South Texas Heritage Center. I’m sure the longhorn steer and the portable jail (“Can I put my sister in there???”) will be hot topics around our house for a long time to come. And, who knows? Because the South Texas Heritage Center is a permanent exhibit, the nickname of “Cowboy Museum” may finally be their nickname for the Witte that sticks.

Admission to the South Texas Heritage Center is included in the price of a Witte Museum ticket ($10 for adults, $9 for seniors, $8 for children ages 4-11, and free for kids 3 and under).

Don’t miss the great variety of family-friendly, grand-opening activities at the South Texas Heritage Center during the holiday weekend of May 26-28.

Visit my full set of photos of the South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, Texas.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the media preview of the South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum. I received complimentary admission to the exhibit. I was not asked to photograph or share about our experience. All opinions are my own.

More posts about the South Texas Heritage Center:

South Texas Heritage Center at Witte Museum by

South Texas History Has a Home at the Witte Museum by Family Love in My City

12 Words and Phrases Every South Texan Should Know by The Bloom Diaries

Witte Opens So. Texas Heritage Center by The Fund by San Antonio’s United Arts Fund

South Texas Heritage Center at the Witte Museum by My Tots Travel

Guts, Guns & Gumption – Apparently South Texas Wasn’t for Wimps by The Bloom Diaries



  1. My son always calls it the “dinosaur museum” 😉

    • colleenpence says:

      Bess, the dinosaurs make quite an impression on our little ones, don’t they? Maybe the Witte should consider a new tagline: The Dinosaur/Cowboy/Treehouse Museum Kids Love. 🙂

  2. We’ve been here for 3 years and have never been to the Witte. Niow that Little Man is 3 we’ll have to go check it out soon.

    • colleenpence says:

      Hi, Lisa! Thanks for commenting. Three is a perfect age to start going to the Witte. There will be so much for him to see and do. Be careful. He’ll want to go back again and again!

      Since you’re in San Antonio (and you’re a blogger) I’ll add your blog to the list of SA Mom Blogs on my home page. Thanks!

  3. Great post. We’re going for the member’s preview, I think. Off to share….

    • colleenpence says:

      Pamela, you’re going to love it. It’s sophisticated, fun, interesting and Texan. What’s not to love? 😉

      Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] Guts, Guns & Gumption — Apparently South Texas wasn’t for Wimps by The Bloom Diaries Howdy, partners. There’s a new “Cowboy Museum” in town by Colleen Pence South Texas Heritage Center at Witte Museum by South Texas History Has a Home at […]

  2. […] back at the past at the South Texas Heritage Center and then right next store at the Witte glimpse into the future at the Alien Worlds and Androids […]

  3. […] Texas Heritage Center opened in 2012; learn more in this earlier post and at “Howdy, partners. There’s a new ‘Cowboy Museum’ in town”, Colleen Pence, San Antonio Mom Blogs, May 14, […]

  4. […] 8:00 p.m. Free Admission to the Witte Museum includes entrance to all permanent exhibits, the South Texas Heritage Center, and the HEB Body Adventure, a permanent, three-story experience, which offers interactive exhibits […]

  5. […] Grossology at the Witte Museum ends on Monday, November 3, so hurry to see it before it’s gone! And, of course, your admission to the Witte and Grossology also gains your family access to the brand-new HEB Body Adventure, all of the Witte exhibits, and entrance to the South Texas Heritage Center. […]

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