Museum Reach | Texas Public Radio

Museum Reach

Jack Morgan | Texas Public Radio

When the Museum Reach stretch of the San Antonio River was revitalized and opened to the public in May 2009, it turned the littered, scrub-choked waterway into a one-of-a-kind linear park. A decade later, one of the Reach's most interesting aspects still has a hidden mystery.


Brian Kirkpatrick | Texas Public Radio

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San Antonio River Authority

It’s that time of the year again—time for lots and lots of insects. It’s also time to celebrate a San Antonio critter that loves to dine on them--bats. And at a certain place downtown, there are lots of them. 

“We discovered this bat colony when the San Antonio River Authority was constructing the Museum Reach,” says SARA's Kayla Gasker, talking about bats that live under the stretch of I-35 between the Pearl Development and the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Eileen Pace / Texas Public Radio

  The latest piece of history to come to the Museum Reach is a 20th century iron bridge originally constructed to convey beer across the Pearl Brewery.

The 17.5-ton bridge did the heavy lifting at the Pearl Brewery starting back in the 1970s.

San Antonio River Authority

The San Antonio River Authority is again offering its bat educational program on the Museum Reach to raise awareness about the bats’ relationship to our environment. 

This is the SARA’s fifth year for "Bat Loco," an informational program that coincides with the bats’ colonization after their return to South Texas from Mexico.

Jack Morgan

It’s already been half a decade since the Museum Reach stretch of the San Antonio River opened to the public. We've been looking at the downtown side of the Reach, but today we move to the far end.

As you take the river barge north of Jones Street, past the San Antonio Museum of Art and round the bend, you come across the Museum Reach’s most talked-about installation. It’s called F.I.S.H.

Mark Menjivar

At the very southern end of the Museum Reach sits the Lexington Avenue bridge and under that bridge is the first art installation, that of British artist Martin Richman. I reached him in London’s East End where he lives.

His art installation was a series of colored, dichroic plastic rectangles suspended under the bridge. They move in the breeze, and the lights that shine on them is reflected into the undulating water underneath the bridge. At night it’s just dazzling.

"So in a way the whole thing becomes this lively space of light and color," said Richman.

John Mize/Jack Morgan

Looking at the Museum Reach today, it’s hard to even imagine the way it looked eight years ago.

"It was a trapezoidal ditch, with a very little water that ran down the middle of it," said architect Irby Hightower, who co-chaired the San Antonio River Oversight Committee with former Mayor Lila Cockrell.

Eileen Pace / TPR

With great fanfare on May 30, 2009, the Museum Reach stretch of the River Walk opened to the public.  But as interesting as the Museum Reach is, the story of how it came about is equally so. 

Eileen Pace / Texas Public Radio

Five years have passed since the Museum Reach stretch of the River Walk, which starts at the Pearl development and flows down to the Lexington Street bridge, right next to the new Tobin Center, was opened to the public. Beginning today, a series on the art-filled, artfully-executed area.

On May 30, 2009, thousands gathered on and around Brooklyn Avenue bridge in downtown San Antonio for the ceremonial opening of the Museum Reach—the completely re-imagined stretch of the San Antonio River.

The 1.3 miles of the river looked nothing like it did just four years before. 

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