With its many amazing restaurants, amusement parks and zoos, sophisticated River Walk, and (of course!) the iconic Alamo, San Antonio has a lot to keep a visitor occupied. Of all the sights and sounds in the city, though, few are more uniquely “Texas” than the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum.
The Buckhorn gained notoriety over a hundred years ago for its vast collection of animal horns. In business since 1881, the Buckhorn has seen several trials and tribulations over the years. Despite these difficulties, the collection today is back in the hands of the family that originally owned it, and is safely on display in a building in downtown San Antonio.
The famous museum’s halls have taxidermy exhibits of over 500 species of furry, finned, and feathered creatures from all over the world. Among the museum’s prized displays are a 10,000 year old Irish elk and the 78-point buck that the original saloon owner, Albert Friedrich, bought for $100 back in 1890.
Buckhorn Saloon and Cafe
The Buckhorn initially began as an eclectically-decorated bar over 130 years ago. Today, guests can cool off at the original marble-and-cherry wood bar while enjoying several different local draft beers and a variety of liquors and mixed drinks. The cafe serves up Texas classics like brisket, barbecued chicken, and bacon cheddar burgers.
The Curio Store
During Prohibition, when alcohol sales were outlawed, the Buckhorn was forced into a different business. Even in 1920, the bar was already a popular destination for tourists attracted by its many exhibits and curiosities, so The Curio Store was opened to cater to the unending stream of visitors. Today it serves as the official gift shop.
Texas Ranger Museum
Opened in 2006, this museum hall celebrates the history of the famous Texas Rangers law enforcement officers. Inspired by the San Antonio of the early 1900s, the museum showcases countless historic firearms, as well as a replica jail, blacksmith, newspaper press, and more. There’s even a Bonnie and Clyde exhibit.
Carnival of Curiosities and The American Sideshow
The latest additions to the Buckhorn, these exhibits highlight the world of old-fashioned sideshows and traveling carnivals. Visitors will see mind-bending illusions, shrunken heads, legendary creatures, and many other displays of the weird and bizarre. Visitors will also learn about some of the most famous showmen in history, including P.T. Barnum and Buffalo Bill.