This 330-acre sustainable natural urban park, formerly a family dairy farm and cattle ranch, is open from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. There’s a beautiful nature center, outdoor classrooms, play areas and miles and miles of trails for walking, hiking and biking that are filled with wildlife, including deer, reptiles and birds.
Hardberger’s two dog parks, which comprise a total of 3.3 acres of canine paradise, have separate areas for large and small dogs so that they can play safely with one another. Plus, the park offers plenty of picnic areas with BBQ pits, a bicycle repair station, basketball courts and even free Wi-Fi if you can’t manage to unplug for an afternoon. For the kiddos, there are two playgrounds and a Nature Play Area constructed from reclaimed trees where they can climb, explore and otherwise get dirty in the outdoors.
Near the nature center, you’ll find an installation by artist Anne Wallace (pictured above) called Golden Age. Using off-the-shelf side-roll irrigator wheels clad in custom reflective hardware, Golden Age creates a flickering effect that alludes to the natural phenomenon of wildfire. The gold appears to hover just above the prairie, using the sun and wind to bounce light off the tops of the grasses. “I hope that my work will draw the eye and the imagination out into the restored savanna and encourage contemporary viewers to appreciate its beauty and reflect on the course of our relationship to the natural world,” Wallace says.
The park is currently divided by Wurzbach Parkway. A 150-foot-wide Land Bridge, broad enough for animals and people to safely cross, is under construction to connect the two sides and will be completed next year. More than just a way to cross from one side to the other, the Land Bridge will be a continuation of the natural beauty of the park. People crossing it will have the experience of climbing over a hill, unaware of the traffic below.
So if you are looking to find a quiet moment in nature – or ready to work up a sweat biking or on the basketball courts – be sure to take advantage of Phil Hardberger Park, ranked No. 40 in my 300 Reasons to Love San Antonio list.
Another great reason to live, work, buy a home and retire in San Antonio!