A couple of days ago, J and I took Emma to Aquarena Springs in San Marcos. We’d taken a 7 mile kayak trip down the San Marcos River that morning so we were looking for something easy to do that afternoon. It was like walking back into a time-warp.
I’m not sure how old I was the last time I was at Aquerena Springs–probably younger than Emma is now. But I do distinctly remember the mermaids who looked so beautiful and so convincing to my young eyes. I’m not sure about the swimming pig–whether I really remember him or if I just think I remember him because of the pictures my mother took of Ralph swimming through the crystal clear waters. But the mermaids I DO remember because I spent the next several summers trying to imitate their beautiful underwater dances and their ability to hold their breathe for so long.
The buildings have had few updates over the years and the glass-bottom boats are still the same. It was like taking Emma back to a piece of my childhood. Sort of–but without sinking into the lagoon in the submersible theater to watch the pig swim and mermaids eat and frolic.
Funny how by the late 1990s people started to think that the pig and the mermaids were boring but now–in retrospect–kids like Emma say that they really would like to see a pig swim.
If you are in the area now, you won’t see any mermaids or pigs but you will learn a lot about the Edwards Aquifer and the springs that come gushing out in San Marcos, creating an amazingly diverse but fragile ecosystem. The waters are absolutely clear–and very clean. And a bit downstream, you can swim, tube, kayak, or canoe to your heart’s content–year round. The water stays a constant 72 degrees.