Government shutdown closes doors for visitors at historical missions in San Antonio
SAN ANTONIO -- The government shutdown has impacted government-run landmarks across the country, including the old Spanish missions in San Antonio.
The missions are a UNESCO World Heritage site and draw plenty of tourists to the area. The grounds are cared for by the National Park Service. Visitors to the missions approached the doors only to find the government shutdown has shut down historical sites like these too.
"All the good stuff is inside,” said Tina Siebert, a visitor from Wisconsin. “There's nothing else to see out here."
The Sieberts vacation stopped at the information office door at Mission Concepcion, another victim of the government shutdown, and their trip could be described in one word.
"Disappointing,” Siebert said. “We couldn't get in to see anything. We went to the information building, and it was locked. We thought we could still look around, and we don’t need anyone to tell us what we're looking at. But all the doors were locked.”
Father David Garcia, the Director for the Old Spanish Missions of San Antonio said churches are still open for services, masses, and weddings. Apart from that, no one was around but disappointed visitors and security. Even bathroom doors remain closed and locked, not just at Mission Concepcion but Mission San Jose as well.
"The bus driver wasn't sure if this would be open. And he said if this one isn't open, then the other ones won't be open either,” Siebert said.
From adults on vacations to Cub Scouts hiking, the Mission Trail through Concepcion to the Alamo, everyone was trying to make the most of a less than ideal situation.
"It's a good teaching opportunity about the government and how it works and how the budget process and the politics involved,” said Evan Smith, Assistant Scout Master. “One of the Park Rangers at San Jose was unable to produce a presentation at San Jose this morning."
One thing all visitors had in common was the desire to end the shutdown soon.