History

Remember Aquarena Springs in San Marcos with These Pictures from the Past

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Ralph the Swimming Pig and the Aquamaids. If these bring back memories for you, you likely visited Aquarena Springs in San Marcos when it was in operation from 1951 through 1994. Though the park itself is closed, Texas State University still operates the famed glass-bottom boats and preserves Spring Lake over the springs the original park was named for. While you can’t go back to the park itself, you can take a walk down memory lane with some images from the past.

Margaret Russell and Ralph

Margaret Russell training Ralph the Swimming Pig at Aquarena Springs

Photo: Facebook/The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

Margaret Russell was the wife of Don Russell, general manager for Aquarena Springs in its early years. Mrs. Russell was one of the foremost trainers, helping performers to learn their underwater ballet moves. She even helped to train Ralph the Swimming Pig.

Alpine Swiss Skyline

A Postcard from 1960s Aquarena Springs

Photo: Facebook/The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

A hallmark feature of this theme park was the Alpine Swiss Skyline, which were cars that hung from a cable high above the park, giving a bird’s eye view of Spring Lake. This postcard from the 1960s shows the unusually shaped globe cars of the Alpine Swiss Skyline.

Glurpo the Clown

Glurpo the Clown Aquarena Springs

Photo: Facebook/The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

The Underwater Submarine Theater had numerous shows with underwater performers doing their own stunts. One of those was Glurpo the Clown, whose silent antics became funnier when performed underwater. To view these shows, Aquarena Springs had a special underwater room where visitors could sit in front of a large window below the lake’s surface to stay dry while seeing everything that happened in the clear lake waters. Thanks to the spring-fed nature of the lake, the water was incredibly clear. This also makes another attraction at the park popular.

Glass-Bottom Boats

Glass-bottom Boat from the 1940s Aquarena Springs
Photo: Facebook/The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment

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