SAN ANTONIO – Tom Slick Jr. was a San Antonio inventor, businessman, heir to an oil company, but most of all, an adventurer.
Slick founded Southwest Research Institute 72 years ago.
The nonprofit institute provides innovative science, tech and engineering services to clients around the world. It employs 2,600 people.
“The amazing things they do is just incredible, and how much they've grown over the last 20 to 30 years,” said Sandy Jenkins with San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department.
Slick's spirit lives on in the institute he founded, but it also lives on at the park that bears his name, Tom Slick Park, located off Highway 151.
SwRI donated the land for the park to the city. San Antonio's Parks and Recreation Department has made sure to incorporate Slick's sense of adventure.
“Tom Slick himself was just a different kind of guy,” said Jenkins. “He just felt very strongly that there was other things out there. I think he believed in aliens.”
During the 1950s, Slick set out on expeditions to investigate the Loch Ness monster, the Yeti and Bigfoot.
It was his passion for these mythical creatures that led to a statue of the Loch Ness monster at the park, peeking out of the pond.
Another feature on the playground is giant prints, supposedly left behind by the abominable snowman.
“He would go to the Himalayas,” said Jenkins. “He would go to Scotland and go to the Lochs to look for these things.”
More tributes to Slick's fascination with the inexplicable will be added to the park in the future.
In the mean time, Jenkins says the park is just a great place to enjoy and explore the outdoors.
“You can have a picnic. You can play ball. You can do so much for free at no cost,” Jenkins said. “A lot of times people just want to go and explore. Who knows what else is out there?”