Oldest park in Texas provides relaxation for students

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Art sophomore Julian Avalos from Palo Alto College and local resident Devin De La Cruz skate in their free time Oct. 24 at the San Pedro Springs Park skate park. The park offers various facilities, such as the skate park, a fresh water swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, the San Pedro Library and the San Pedro Playhouse.  Photo by Deandra Gonzalez

Art sophomore Julian Avalos from Palo Alto College and local resident Devin De La Cruz skate in their free time Oct. 24 at the San Pedro Springs Park skate park. The park offers various facilities, such as the skate park, a fresh water swimming pool, tennis courts, playgrounds, the San Pedro Library and the San Pedro Playhouse. Photo by Deandra Gonzalez

San Pedro Springs Park swimming pool has natural spring water.

By Brianna Rodrigue

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

Founded in 1729, San Pedro Springs Park is the oldest park in Texas and the 10th oldest in the U.S.

Although the park is across the street from this campus, Bianca Sapet, civic engagement and volunteer service coordinator, said many students do not know about it.

“It is a really beautiful place to be at, and I think there is some kind of magic at San Pedro Park,” Sapet said Oct. 5. “I walk my dogs there, and they love running up the hills there.”

Personal trainer Joshua Caceres gives a motivational thumbs-up to purchasing coordinator Janet Lent as she practices basketball drills with help from suspension straps Oct. 24 at San Pedro Springs Park. Caceres meets with his clients in the afternoon and evenings for spot training at the park. For bookings, Caceres can be contacted through his Facebook @Joshua Caceres.  Photo by Deandra Gonzalez

Personal trainer Joshua Caceres gives a motivational thumbs-up to purchasing coordinator Janet Lent as she practices basketball drills with help from suspension straps Oct. 24 at San Pedro Springs Park. Caceres meets with his clients in the afternoon and evenings for spot training at the park. For bookings, Caceres can be contacted through his Facebook @Joshua Caceres. Photo by Deandra Gonzalez

Sapet said students should be involved with the park by having club meetings, studying for a test or having events there.

“It’s nice to be outside and important for us to get back into nature because we are all natural beings, so it is important to be outside and be involved with our surroundings,” Sapet said.

The park includes a walking trail, picnic areas, a playground, a skate park, an outdoor swimming pool, McFarlin Tennis Center, San Pedro Library and San Pedro Playhouse.

The swimming pool is a natural spring water pool that will re-open in mid-June for a nine-week pool season, and the pool is free.

While waiting for his younger brother to get out of class, Alex Harline, Auto Zone sales associate, was longboarding down a steep trail.

Harline enjoys coming to the park because he is able to relax in the outdoors while being in the middle of the city, he said.

“It gives you an open place to think, and there is a lot of history at this park, which is awesome,” Harline said. “I usually skate at the skate park or read some books at the library.”

Although some students might not know there is a park across the street from this college, Greg Cruz, San Pedro Library circulation attendant, said many students and people do not know that the building is even a library.

“On the first week of school, students came here thinking it is a bookstore wanting to buy or rent textbooks,” Cruz said.

The San Pedro Library was built in 1929 and opened in 1930.

Cruz said Bexar County residents can create a free account with the San Antonio Public Library to secure a free library card that will expire in two years.

After creating an account, people can check out up to 50 items for three weeks.

Housekeeper Sylvia Johnson takes her dog Chacho, a pit bull mix, for a walk after work Oct. 24 at San Pedro Springs Park. The park is dog friendly and has 40 acres of open field including walking trails. Photo by Deandra Gonzalez /em>

Housekeeper Sylvia Johnson takes her dog Chacho, a pit bull mix, for a walk after work Oct. 24 at San Pedro Springs Park. The park is dog friendly and has 40 acres of open field including walking trails. Photo by Deandra Gonzalez

The library is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Sunday and noon-8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday.

The San Pedro Library has several events each month for children and adults such as Minecraft Monday at 4 p.m. Oct. 31 and the LEGO Club at 4 p.m. Nov. 2.

For more information about the library, visit www.mysapl.org or call 210-207-9050.

Students and community members who enjoy watching theater performances can purchase a ticket for a play at the San Pedro Playhouse.

Shannon Bishop, sales and patron services director at the San Pedro Playhouse, said theater is an opportunity to tell a story that some people can relate to, and they can be educated and entertained.

“Theater is becoming not as popular as it used to be, but there is an opportunity to escape the world that you can’t find any other way, whether you go watch a movie, watch a show or hang out with friends. This is the one place you have to turn your cellphone off and pay attention,” Bishop said. “I think that it is very rare and it is a very enriching experience that you can’t get anywhere else.”

The San Pedro Playhouse is the oldest municipally built theater in the country, Bishop said.

Bishop said anyone can audition for a play whether they have a background in theater or not.

Students and members of the community wanting to volunteer at the Playhouse as an actor or actress, crew member, board operator or assistant stage manager can sign up for tryouts by calling 210-733-7258 or visiting the website at www.theplayhousesa.org/volunteer.

Upcoming shows at the Playhouse are “The Glass Menagerie” Nov. 4-27 and “All is Calm, The Christmas Truce of 1914” Dec. 2-18.

There is a student discount rate ranging from $14-$27 depending on the seats, but students must show a student ID.

For more information about shows and ticket prices, call 210-733-7258.

Across the street from the Playhouse are the 22 lighted tennis courts at McFarlin Tennis Center.

McFarlin holds many school competitions and tournaments as well as open play.

There are lockers, showers and a pro shop offered to players.

For open play, the tennis courts are open Monday to Saturday but the time varies.

The courts are open 8:30 a.m.-noon and 3-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, 3-9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.

Before 5 p.m., adults pay $6.25 per hour, students and seniors pay $3.25 per hour. Each individual player must pay the fee.

After 5 p.m., adults pay $7.25 per hour, students and seniors pay $4.25 per hour.

Tennis lessons, camps, clinics and leagues are also provided.

For more information about McFarlin Tennis Courts, call 210-207-5357.

Next to the tennis court, personal trainer Josh Caceres on Oct. 24 was spot-training two of his clients, purchase coordinator Janet Lent and Guillermo Garcia, HEB produce warehouse worker.

Spot training is losing weight or muscle fat in one area of the body without affecting other parts of the body.

Caceres used a TRX suspension trainer by tying it to a tree and he had Lent and Garcia do three sets of 12 chest presses.

Caceres has been a personal trainer for the past six years, and a year ago he starting spot-training clients at San Pedro Springs Park.

“I do this because I didn’t like the cost of people spending a lot of money on a personal trainer, and I thought this was a great way to get people away from their excuses,” he said.

Caceres charges $40 a week for five classes a week between noon-7 p.m. Students and members of the community can hire Caceres as a personal trainer by visiting spottrainingsa.com or calling him at 817-374-3682.

Lyn Kinton, parks and recreation manager, said it is important for students to stay connected with the outdoors.

“It is important to be as a whole with the outdoors. The park is so close to SAC that it is very convenient to students,” Kinton said

Kinton said students could take a blanket and lay it out on the grass so they can relax and study. She also said if students want to give a helping hand, there are many volunteer opportunities at San Pedro Springs Park.

Individuals or groups can help by picking up litter, painting, cleaning graffiti, tree planting, weeding, adopt-a-park and more.

Individuals and groups who would like to volunteer must complete the volunteer application and individual release form. If under 18 years old, a parent or guardian must sign a section in the individual release form.

For more information about volunteering, visit www.sanantonio.gov/ParksAndRec/Want-to-Help/Volunteer or call 210-207-8603.This college has the distinct advantage of being so close to San Pedro Springs Park when it comes to exploring the park’s history.

“It’s useful to have a connection to both your community, including your SAC community, and the larger San Antonio community,” Anderson said.

“This town has so much history, but it starts there, it starts at San Pedro,” Cardenas said.

“San Pedro Park is an important part of this city’s history and without that history, we would be just another town,” Cardenas said. The city is planning for a revival of the park to preserve its extensive history and attract more visitors.

“If we think about how San Antonio is the original city of Texas and San Pedro Creek and San Pedro Springs are the beginning of San Antonio, then we’re right here, in the heart of Texas,” Anderson said.

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