Mission National Historical Park
If planning a trip to San Antonio, Texas, consider visiting one of Texas’s oldest historical locations – San Antonio Missions National Historical Park. The parkway was established as the Mission Parkway in 1975, because there are four missions along its span. It leads to four of the five frontier missions established by Spanish Catholics orders. These missions were not churches, but were actually enclosed native towns, built with the church being the focal point. The natives were taught Christianity and to be Catholics, a qualification required by the King of Spain, to become Spanish citizens. These missions are still active parishes, attended by many direct descendants of those who originally built them.
The missions along the parkway are Mission Conception, moved here in 1731, Mission San Jose, 1731, Mission San Juan Capistrano, 1720, and Mission Espada, here since 1931. The fifth mission is the Alamo, also located in San Antonio, but not in Mission National Historical Park. The Alamo, 1718, the first mission established here, was originally titled Mission San Antonio de Valero.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is closed, for preservation work, through most of 2012. Some buildings do not allow public entrance, so ask before entering if not sure. There are no entrance fees, reservations are not necessary. Pets allowed, on leashes, but not on nature trails. Open hours are 9:00 am to 5 pm daily. Closed Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Years day. There are plenty of hotels, Inns, restaurants, RV parks and parking options. Have fun.