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The Witte Museum, a perennial favorite because of its dinosaurs, H-E-B Science Treehouse and special exhibits, has added yet another reason to visit.

The Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg South Texas Heritage Center celebrates the history and people of this region. The 20,000 square-foot addition overlooking the San Antonio River brings the stories of Native Americans, Spanish settlers, cowboys/vaqueros, merchants, ranchers, farmers, oilmen and women, and more to life. A sash worn by Republic of Texas President Sam Houston graces one of the displays.

Hands-on classes allow visitors to try on the chaps, boots and hats of cowboys. You will also learn about the ways ropes and brands are used on ranches. Actors dressed in period costumes roam around the center telling the stories of South Texas. They also stage mini-plays outside at the Will Smith Amphitheater along the river. Visitors are encouraged to share their own South Texas stories.

Don’t miss the Julian Onderdonk, Porfirio Salinas and William Aiken Walker paintings in the Russell Hill Rogers Texas Art Gallery while you’re there. I also recommend checking out Onderdonk’s art studio that is nestled along the banks of the San Antonio River.

You will also want to put Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, and Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012, on your calendars for Jazz at the Witte. Ken Slavin headlines in October with Henry Brun and the Latin Playerz performing in November. Both performances are from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and free with admission to the museum. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. Picante Grill will have food and drink for sale. No outside food and drink, please.

The Witte Museum, located at 3801 Broadway, is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It’s open from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays. Admission for children ages 4-11 is $8. Children ages 3 and under are free. Admission for adults is $10, and admission for seniors ages 65 and above is $9. Admission is free on Tuesdays from 3 p.m. until 8 p.m. Special exhibits may have a fee. For those who’d like to experience a two-for-one day, Brackenridge Park is adjacent to the Witte.