What’s next for the Alamo expansion after closure of three tourist destinations in plaza?

Alamo Visitor Center and Museum to take space vacated by Ripley’s, Guiness attractions

SAN ANTONIO – The ride is over for three San Antonio tourist destinations at Alamo Plaza. Tomb Rider 3D, Ripley’s Haunted Adventure and the Guinness World Records Museum were permanently closed to give way to the next step of the multimillion-dollar makeover at the Texas shrine.

“Last night at 8 p.m., we shut all the attractions down, and everybody was here as kind of an emotional moment,” said Davis Phillips, president and CEO of Phillips Entertainment.

Phillips, the owner and operator of the Ripley’s and Guinness attractions at Alamo Plaza, is vacating the building to make way for the Alamo Visitor Center and Museum. The Texas General Land Office bought the building in 2015.

“We were tenants, but we didn’t own the building,” said Phillips. “We had leases into 2028. The state wanted their museum by 2025 or 2026, so we had to sit down and work out an agreement.”

Phillips said the attractions must vacate the building by Oct. 31. The next step is repurposing and renovating the historic Woolworth and Crockett buildings to build the visitor center and museum.

“The retail shops that you see around here -- Jimmy John’s, the T-shirt shop, all of them will be leaving, and then the state is going to come in here and put the world-class museum that they’ve been speaking about so that people can see and understand and learn about the Alamo,” said Phillips.

The visitor center and museum will have an event space, a rooftop restaurant, retail shops and will be home to the entire Phil Collins Texana collection. It is projected to open in 2026.

However, before it’s completed, the next step in the overall Alamo expansion is opening the exhibition hall and collections building early next year.

Phillips said it’s bittersweet because his attractions anchored the area for years from an economic standpoint.

“These attractions have been here for over two decades. We’ve sold over seven million tickets in those 20 years,” said Phillips. “There have been so many people that have come with their family and friends and made memories, so people are sad to see it go.”

There has been confusion over what attractions will close, but Phillips said the Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks Museum and Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum would continue to operate and are not part of the closure.

He added that he is working on helping about 125 employees at the now-shuttered attractions find new jobs.

“We’ve got some work to make sure that they can find employment with either us or with some other folks in the industry, and we’re going to do that,” said Phillips. “These are good folks we’ve had. I don’t even know how many employees have worked with us over the 20 years. Some have gotten married, had kids and come back and visited the attractions.”


3 iconic Alamo Plaza businesses close forever

About the Authors:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.