Even if you are not a Texas native, you have probably at least heard of the epic battle of the Alamo. There is one thing that many people don’t realize about this most famous piece of Texas history. We lost. Big time. Santa Anna and his Mexican army stomped all over the Texians, killing just about every person who was fighting behind the storied walls of the Alamo. The happy ending, for the Texians, occurred almost two months later in a wide field in present day La Porte, TX. At a battle known as the Battle of San Jacinto, the Texians delivered a strong and decisive attack that lasted only eighteen minutes and effectively ended the Texas Revolution.
It doesn’t have the legendary excitement of the Alamo, but visiting the monolith to Texas pride where the Texans won their independence is an important attraction for Texas kids and their families. Here’s the thing, just because it’s an important place to visit, doesn’t mean it is an exciting place to visit. There isn’t a lot of sizzling action here, and the activities that are available are pretty mild. Still, visitors should stop for a short visit, just so they can say they’ve seen this part of Texas history.
What to Do at the San Jacinto Monument?
A good first activity is to stop and read the history of the Texas Revolution inscribed around the perimeter of the monument. If you don’t know the history (or just need a refresher), this is a great crash course. Find the starting point that explains why the Texans began to seek independence from the Mexicans, and then move around to read the history. It’s also good to notice that the Texas Revolution began a switch in sovereignty in the part of the US that was owned by Mexico and Spain. That makes this battle important not only for Texans, but for all Americans.
There are three other main activities available at the monument, and each one of these have a nominal cost for attendance. You can choose from the movie Texas: Forever, the small museum, and a trip to the top of the monument. If you are only going to choose one activity, watch the movie. It is excellently produced and gives a great retelling of the story of the battle. Many people think they will get an amazing view from the top of the 570 foot monolith, but just keep in mind that Houston is predominantly filled with factories and refineries. If that is your idea of a beautiful view, you will love it at the top. You will also be able to see the reflecting pool and the battlefield spreading out from the window. If you are interested in artifacts, you can add the museum to your day, but of the three, it is the one I would skip entirely.
A 2.5 mile hiking tour has been designed with numbered markers that take you to the major sites of the battle from both the Texian and Mexican perspective. Most of these markers can also be seen from your vehicle, if you would prefer to drive.
Facts Facts and Tips for the San Jacinto Monument
· At 570 feet, the San Jacinto Monument is listed as the tallest column monument in the world in the Guinness Book of Records.
· The top of the monument is adorned with a 220 ton Lone Star
· The exterior of the monument is made of Texas Cordova shellstone, and is uniquely marked with the fossilized remains shells.
· The best time to visit is during the winter or spring when you can avoid the oppressive heat and swarms of mosquitoes.
· Speaking of mosquitoes- be prepared with bug spray when visiting the site. The mosquitoes are quite a force, and much like Santa Anna, they will show no quarter.
· Battleship Texas is just a short walk or even shorter drive from the San Jacinto Monument, and is a great way addition to your visit to the monument.