Things to Do

5 Activities To Do With Your Kids at Spring Lake

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Tony Maples Photography


Once named Aquarena Springs, The Meadows Center -aka- Spring Lake, in the heart of San Marcos, used to be an attraction known for diving pigs and swimming mermaids. Hidden on the campus of Texas State University, the Meadows Center is now an education-based, family-centered way to explore the biology and geology of the Texas Hill Country, and a great way spend time with your little ones.

1. Glass Bottom Boats

Glass Bottom Boats

Photo: Haley Bankey

The water is so clean and clear that you can easily see all the way to the bottom of the natural springs. You and your children can watch the water bubble up from the limestone floor and hunt turtles as they go swimming by. The tour is just 30 minutes in length which makes it perfect for children as young as two, and the guides are knowledgeable and passionate about the wildlife and history of the area. Bring a notepad and pencil so your children can draw their observations and really engage!

2. Explore the Aquarium



Walking distance from the boat dock is the free education center and aquarium.  Though small in size, there are plenty of animals and interactive displays for your children to see. Watch salamanders wriggle through sediment, scroll through electronic information stations, and chase the fish around the giant water tank in the middle of the room.

3. Play a Game of “Guess Who”

Guess Who

Photo: Haley Bankey

How brave are your kiddos? The aquarium’s hands-on education center lets adventurous little ones reach in and feel different specimens from the area.  Some are bones, some are stones, and some you’ll have to find out when you go.

4. Create Your Own Electronic Topographical Map


Photo: Haley Bankey

The most intriguing exhibit in the aquarium is the interactive topographical map. This enhanced sandbox lets children (and adults) of all ages create their own watershed. The projector and electronic sensor detect the height of the sand, so you can build up hills or trench out rivers and lakes. Who said education can’t be fun?

5. Visit the Top and See the Views

Texas Views

Photo: Haley Bankey

To round out your trip, make sure to take your family up to the top of the building.  Even in the dead of winter, the landscape is true Texas! From the crystal clear water that you just explored to the blue Texas sky, it’s truly breathtaking!

The Meadows Center at Texas State University is located at 211 San Marcos Springs Drive in San Marcos, TX, and it has become a great place to spend the afternoon with your family, even though the swimming pig is no longer around.