Santikos, casa blanca, bloggers, influencers*Disclosure: I was invited to and attended the Santiko’s Casa Blanca grand opening luncheon for area bloggers, received free tickets for myself and a giveaway and will receive compensation for posting a blog of my own writing.  These words are mine and nobody told me what I had to write or how to write it.

So…as I mentioned above, I went to a very special event for area bloggers at the brand spanking new Santiko’s Casa Blanca last week.  If you follow other San Antonio area bloggers, you may see a few more blogs about this epic gem of escapism with the biggest movie screens in Texas, phenomenal food, and pre & post movie entertainment and fun for the entire family.  Here are just a few:

Santikos, casa blanca, vegetable platterThey’ll tell you all about the big screens and such, but I want to take a different approach and tell you about the day I discovered how much the Santikos Charitable Foundation had affected my life and I never knew it.

I arrived to find they’d laid out a beautiful buffet for our lunch.  Not piled high with fried nonsense, but delightful platters of healthy fresh fruits, vegetables and cheeses, a surprisingly distinguishable pot roast (buffet pot roasts rarely look like meat all all, but this one looked great), cheese tortellini for vegetarians, and fried shrimp for seafood lovers all laid out with great care.  Santikos, casa blanca, fruit trayCheesecakes and parfaits were also available for dessert.  This wasn’t a catered lunch either – this was food prepared on site at their restaurant.

At a movie theater?!  I know, right?!

And as if that weren’t impressive enough, there’s more.

Santikos, casa blanca, cheesecakeAt lunch, we were introduced to the Santikos Charitable Foundation.  You see, John L. Santikos, a Greek immigrant who made his fortune here, died so wealthy that he could provide generously for his family without giving any of them the many cinemas he’d built in the San Antonio area.  He left those bustling businesses to the people of San Antonio in the form of a charitable trust.

You might be saying “Oh, sure…I don’t see it putting any money into my pockets.”

You’d be right because that’s not what this trust is about.

It’s about making the quality of the lives of San Antonians better and IT DOES.

I have John Santikos to thank for several important things in my life.

della, a rescue dog, no killDella

First let’s talk about Della, the three-legged dog.  Della was a rescue dog who was brought in to local shelter off the street.  She’d been hit by a car when she was a pup and one of her hind legs was dead and needed amputation.  In any other city, this dog would have been put down simply for the cost involved in amputation and rehabilitation.  Not in San Antonio.  The Santikos Charitable Foundation has been providing funding to local shelters in an effort to make San Antonio a “kill free” city.  We aren’t quite there yet, but over 90% of San Antonio’s strays find shelter and homes because of this funding.  In our case, Della provided the love and affection that a seven-year-old boy needed when the two dogs he loved died within days of his birthday.

Freddie & Anejo

freddieNext, I’d like to tell you about two of my cats.  When a young, petite cat, barely a kitten herself, showed up on my doorstep during a Texas rainstorm,  I knew the cost of getting her and her kitten healthy were beyond my means but I had a little faith and took them in.  Thanks to a grant the Santikos Charitable Foundation had provided to provide spay and neuter services in certain areas of town that were full of feral felines, I was able to get the little mama and her baby boy spayed, neutered, and vaccinated for free.  anejoYou’ll see these cats all over my social networks as “Freddie” and “Anejo”.  They’ve been providing me and my family with comfort, companionship, and smiles for the past three years.

The YMCA

I’ve been to several gyms in San Antonio and while many claim to have a child care area on premise, these play areas are rarely clean or even any fun for the kids while their parents work out.  I used to feel so awful for going to the gym because my kids hated the play room at the gym and the staff were not always people I felt good about leaving my kids with.  My workouts suffered and the energy I needed to be a good mom waned.  Then I discovered the San Antonio YMCA.  I knew I needed to exercise to maintain my own health so I could be a better mom but $90 a month for a family membership was just too much for my tiny budget.  They had a beautiful gym, two kids clubs (for different age groups), an amazing staff of likeable, kind, and qualified people, a swimming pool, splash pad, Parents Nights Out, and even homeschool programs!  I knew this would be a place I could take my kids and feel good about it.  Then I discovered the YMCA scholarship program.  This program takes into consideration how much (or how little) I make every year, and discounts my membership accordingly.  Rather than paying $90 a month, we only pay $50 a month for our YMCA membership.  All of this happens for families all over the San Antonio area through generous gifts from organizations like the Santikos Charitable Foundation.

By the time lunch was over, I was sold on anything that had the name Santikos on it.

But then they blew my mind some more…

The Santikos Casa Blanca

Santikos, casa blanca, san antonio, biggest movie screen in texasThese are the biggest movie screens I’v ever seen in my life.  In fact, these are the biggest screens in all of Texas – and that’s saying something.  The man in the picture to the left is actually 6’5″.

Mind blown.

Then I sat in one of the seats.  My butt (a very discerning butt, mind you) absolutely loved these seats.  You know those seats that make you wiggle and fidget through the whole movie because they’re hard and you don’t have room to stretch your legs?  These are not they!  These seats welcome you with open arms, provide a handy tray table for your snacking or dining convenience (some of these theaters have super-wide aisles for cafe service and a button you press when you need a server to bring you a margarita or even dinner).

starbucks, Santikos, casa blanca, arcadeIf you don’t get a theater with cafe service, that’s OK because you’ll still have the seat, lots of leg room, that handy table, and you can bring your Frappuccino and cheesecake or cocktails and dinner into the theater from any of the restaurants or concession stands there at Casa Blanca.  As for the menu offerings, there’s something for everyone.  If you just want a snack, a kids’ basket, a big beefy burger, a healthy wrap, pizza for the family, or desserts and cocktails for Girls’ Night Out, they’ve got it all covered.

Recreational Fun No Matter The Weather

Santikos, casa blanca, arcadePersonally, I’m looking forward to spending the hottest days of summer, coldest days of winter, and the rainiest days of spring there at the Casa Blanca with my family and I know they’ll love it.  From the arcade to bowling, restaurant, sports bar, and an incredible movie experience, there’s something there for all of us to love.

No matter how you cut it, John L. Santikos has and will have a huge effect on all our lives and I am so grateful for it!

Want to enjoy some of the recreational goodness at the new Casa Blanca or any one of the Santikos theaters in San Antonio?  Enter to win four free tickets now!

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