We were wrong. Sort of. It is not a tourist trap, although...
Once upon a time, this was a major tourist attraction site called “Aquarena” complete with rides, swimming pigs, mermaids and glass bottom boats. San Marcos still celebrates the mermaid tie-in.
Aquarena was, in its day, the largest tourist attraction in Texas…..until Six Flags and other large parks began to appear. It closed in the 1990’s.
The glass bottom boats are left from the Aquarena’s hey-days. The one we rode in was built in 1945 and has been on Springs Lake ever since. They have electric motors and are in beautiful condition.
Yes, we saw fish, plants, and even scuba divers. A couple of researchers that were working underwater.
There are also a series of trails and a wetlands boardwalk that is very nice.
It proved to be a very fun, and quite reasonable, thing to do and we learned a few things too.
Tips if you go:
Go to the San Marcos Visitor Center ad pick up the rack card for the Glass Bottom Boats. It has a $1 off coupon and they honor that on all ticket prices. By the way, the boat tour is reasonably priced already.
There is plenty of parking, and if you go on Saturday and Sunday, it’s free. Mon-Fri it’s $3. That was the first pleasant surprise for us. We expected to have to pay for parking. (The other was they took the $1 coupon off the Senior ticket price…. many places only take it off the regular admission price)
I suggest visiting the aquarium before taking the boat ride.
We took the 30-minute tour. While it was very nice, it sure left us wanting more. Next time we’re there, we’ll do the longer trip.
All in all, we ended up spending a very delightful day there and highly recommend it! You can learn more about the Meadows Center and the Glass Bottom Boats at www.aquarena.txstate.edu
|Our glass bottom boat|
|A fish swims near a small section of the San Marcos Springs|
They are the roundish, light colored areas in the upper left
|Not everything is underwater|
|A grebe. Nicknamed the snake bird because all you see is|
neck up when they are swimming.
|Guess who saw me taking his/her picture? Turnabout is fair play.|
|Some of the remains of the old Aquarena complex. Our guide|
thought it was a dining area
|The boat we rode on|
|This fellow lives in the aquarium|
|He caught something|
|A successful fisherman! And yes, I love the reflection|