The Tower of the Americas dominates the downtown skyline of San Antonio. The tower is one of the tallest free-standing structures in the Western Hemisphere. Rising 750 feet to the top of the antenna, the Tower is 87 feet higher than the Seattle Space Needle and 67 feet higher than the Washington Monument.
The Tower was constructed in 1968 for HemisFair ’68, the first official world’s fair held in the southwestern part of the United States. The Tower was designed by O’Neil Ford. The Tower currently houses an observation deck, Charter House Restaurant (revolving), Tower Cafe and Skies Over Texas, a 4D theater ride. For more information, click here.
My husband is a big fan of the Tower and likes to take out-of-town visitors there. His strategy is to use the “free” elevator that goes to the Chart House Restaurant bar. After you have a drink you can go up to the observation deck. (The cost of a drink is about the same as an elevator ticket.) In May we took my husband’s aunt and uncle up to the Tower bar and the sun was setting just as we sat down with our drinks. It was very nice.
My husband also shows his love for the Tower by participating in the Climb For A Cure which benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. To his surprise, Peter’s team placed 2nd in the team division in 2009. Participants run/walk one mile and then climb the Tower’s 952 steps, about 58 stories. As you might expect, firemen excel at this event. They run to the top of the Tower in full gear. The next Climb For A Cure will be on February 27, 2010.
Yet another connection between the Tower and my husband is that one of his favorite TV shows as a child was H.R. Pufenstuf. When our kids were young we watched the videos together. The Coca-Cola pavilion at Hemisfair featured puppets created by Sid and Marty Krofft. These puppets, including a dragon who was the Hemisfair mascot, evolved into the TV show.
The Tower joins other tourist attractions built for World Fairs including the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Seattle’s Space Needle. I was surprised to find that World Fairs (now called EXPO’s) are still being held every two years in different cities. The 2008 EXPO was in Zaragoza, Spain, and the next three EXPO’s will be held in Shanghai, China (2010), Yeosu, South Korea (2012), and Milan, Italy (2015). The last EXPO held in the United States was in 1984 in New Orleans.
Post edited August 2, 2009: added web links