Tea Garden and More Caves

This week I went on a few local adventures. I started with the Japanese Tea Gardens.

The Tea Gardens are a beautiful water filled garden very close to the center of San Antonio. It was a relaxing oasis to visit in the middle of the city. While there weren’t benches or much space to sit to enjoy the garden for long (aside from the tea house restaurant near the entrance), there were lots of walking trails for enjoying the scenery. There were large ponds with fish and the whole area felt almost out of place because it was such a beautiful little area in the city. The best part was that it was free and parking wasn’t difficult to find.

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My second trip this week was to Cave Without a Name (named by a elementary school student who thought it was too beautiful to describe with one word). This is the second show cave known for it’s spectacular features. The features were definitely amazing, but this cave was different from the Caverns of Sonora in a lot of ways. The original entrance to Cave Without a Name is still open, so animals can get in. There were a few tri-colored bats in the cave which was really neat to see (the small brown spot in the up close picture of the formation is a bat). The cave is also one of very few known homes of an endangered species- the Texas Blind Salamander. I did get to see a little cave adapted salamander. I’m not sure it was the specific endangered one that’s made headlines, but many of these salamander species are endangered because of there remote and specific habitats and limited ranges. The cave’s formations and water are also affected by rain much more than the Caverns of Sonora. It is also still unknown how far the cave goes or what other caverns it may connect to which is just mind blowing to think about. 2.7 miles of the cave have been mapped, making the cave the 7th longest in Texas, but the full cave hasn’t even been explored. The end of the tour meets an underground river that continues into further reaches of the cave. Exploring past the river requires a scuba certification for caves and up to 2 hours where the water fully feels the cave. The fact that there is still so much that we don’t know about the world will never cease to amaze me.

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I enjoyed getting out and exploring again, and having both of these adventures so close by definitely made it easier. So many of the attractions here are so far away from each other that it makes it a little more difficult to explore easily. I still have a few more places I want to visit while I’m here, and I’m hoping to get to all of therm in the next several weeks.

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