The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, San Marcos

#5 of 19 in Things to do in San Marcos
Boat Tour · Tour
The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment, formerly Aquarena Springs and later the Aquarena Center, is an educational center in San Marcos, Texas, that seeks to preserve the unique archeological and biological resources of Spring Lake. Formed from more than 200 artesian springs, this lake is one of the world's largest aquifer fed system. A state antiquities landmark, this site is also believed to be one of the longest continuously inhabited places in North America.

The Meadows Center provides educational programs, recreation, hands-on activities and collaborative projects that encourage visitors, scientists and students to learn about Spring Lake's habitat, endangered species and water/environmental resource management issues.

There are glass-bottom boat rides and hiking trails, and the Discovery Center provides educational displays allowing people to view native animals and fish. Snorkeling and diving programs are offered with an educational emphasis and interpreter led field trips.

The Meadows Center develops and promotes programs and techniques for ensuring sustainable water, economic resources as well as ecosystem health. The Center is used by Texas State University State University, and its multidisciplinary departments are involved with water resource management studies and research.

The Meadows Center at Spring Lake Hall houses the Texas Stream Team, a volunteer program that monitors the water quality of freshwater systems throughout the state.

The Center was established in 1994 when Texas State, formerly Southwest Texas University, purchased land that was previously used as an amusement park, including Spring Lake, then an artificial freshwater reservoir.

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The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
310 reviews
  • We went with our granddaughter (18 months), 3 daughters, and son in law. The best part for us was watching our granddaughter looking at the fish. She was engaged and excited. That is really all it....  more »
  • While passing through the area, we just had to stop by the old Aquarena Springs that we had visited in the 1970's. We rode a glass bottom boat around the spring fed lake of crystal clear water while.....  more »
  • Amazing boat ride with a clear underside glass so that you can see the fishes, turtles and other wildlife. Loved the extended boat tour which gives more time to look underwater and learn about the importance of conservation. The walking wetlands tour was also fun. It is definitely worth paying a visit.
  • Relaxing outdoor activity. Interesting to see life under the river waters from the boat. It was very hot so I recommend a small handheld fan or go during cooler weather. Besides that it was very informative and interesting to see the plants, springs and wildlife in their habitat.

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