OF SWIMMERS AND SALAMANDERS
Barton Springs Pool has been a popular swimming hole for thousands of years. The crowds may have changed (from prehistoric nomads with primitive weaponry to Austinites looking cool off on a Saturday afternoon) but the reason folks have continued to visit the pool has always remained the same – the cold, clean spring waters. The first Anglo settlement around the pool and springs, courtesy of William Barton and his family, occurred in the early 1800s. By 1918 the pool and springs had come under the stewardship of the City of Austin where it remains today. Danger from pollution and unregulated development over its recharge zone thrust the pool into the limelight of the conservation and water quality debates beginning in the 1980s, assisted by the presence of Eurycea sosostrum, a species of endangered salamander.Protection and preservation efforts allow Barton Springs Pool to offer some of the best spring-fed swimming in the state. The Barton Springs Master Plan, an effort to maintain, repair and upgrade this complex spring system and its feeders, tributaries, and ecosystem, engages short and long term goals to ensure the pool is still healthy and around centuries from now. Visitors may want to explore “Splash!”, the onsite education exhibit to learn about the history and biology of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer which feeds it in order to understand the importance of the springs, the pool, and the environmental concerns.
Barton Springs Pool
See website for entry fees for residents and non-residents
Daily, 5 a.m.-10 p.m.