The Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio is the oldest Saloon in the State of Texas. It was established in 1881 by Albert Friedrich at the ripe old age of seventeen and is where Teddy Roosevelt recruited rough riders. This is also where Pancho Villa is rumored to have planned the Mexican Revolution. Many of the original features remain including the bar-back.
Rumor has it that Albert started accepting horns and antlers in exchange for a free beer or whiskey after learning that most travelers didn’t have much money. His wife Emile also began accepting jars of rattlesnake rattles in exchange for a drink and would then use them to create works of art that can still be seen on display at the Buckhorn Saloon to this day.
Our Visit to the Buckhorn Saloon
We decided to finally check it out on our 4th trip down to San Antonio for the weekend. It’s 2 museums for the price of one, as it also includes the Texas Ranger Museum. My only regret is not spending more time in the Saloon part and at the Buckhorn Cafe.
Once inside the Buckhorn Saloon, you head over to the bar to purchase your tickets (and any drinks you wish). This is also where you will stand in front of a green screen to take your souvenir photo (they also have props you can use).
From there you start your own self-guided tour.
You begin by going by what I deem the “taxidermy section” before heading into the Texas Ranger Museum.
From there it spits you out into a recreated old western town, which makes for some great photo ops!
After the old western town, you will head into the “animal room”. Again, not really what it is called, but it’s another area full of taxidermy creations, which is pretty awesome! Also, you may have already downed a couple, so it’s best to have a sober friend to remind you that the animals are already dead and you cannot “hunt” them (which apparently is frowned upon).
From there you head into the “ocean room”. The blue lighting creates a pretty cool effect, especially if you decided to order a drink from the bar at the start of your tour.
The ocean room spits you into the freakshow area. I guess that’s not politically correct, they call it the sideshow area, but let’s face it you have a buzz at this point and things are starting to look really freaky.
The freakshow room spits you out at the optical illusion house. Even if you aren’t really buzzed, you will be as soon as you step in. Word of caution, if you are sober skip the house, you will come out drunk, while your drunk buddy comes out sober. Or do whatever makes you happy, by now everyone is feeling giddy anyway.
You’ll finish your tour with a history lesson in mining and magic before being spit out at the gift shop. This is where you can pick up your souvenir photo from the beginning.
Was a pretty cool place to visit and actually wouldn’t mind going back for a second time. I definitely want to sit down and eat at the cafe, but also wouldn’t mind going back through the museum part of it either.
Buckhorn Saloon Information
318 E. Houston Street
San Antonio, Texas
Hours: Open Daily at 10 am. Closing times vary. Generally M-F they close at 3 pm and Saturday & Sunday they close at 5 pm. Always check before heading out.
Prices: Adult $20.99 / Child $15.99
FYI: We visited Buckhorn Saloon back in December 2018 and I am just now getting around to posting it. Due to the current state of our nation, please check before heading out to make sure that they are open and what requirements they have (if any).
Have you been to the Buckhorn Saloon in San Antonio, Texas? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!