It's back to nature at Aquarena Springs
Courtesy of Hill Country Alliance
The dramatic removal of the Submarine Theater from San Marcos' Aquarena Springs was completed with as much fanfare as nail biting.
Restoration of Aquarena Springs to its pre-amusement park condition started in earnest with the removal of Buck Winn's iconic bloom statuary in August 2011 and has proceeded steadily. The removal of the theme park's 60-year-old infrastructure and non-native plant life will return the spring basin to a more natural state.
A large crowd gathered with news crews to witness the removal of the two sections of the Submarine Theater using one of the world's largest transportable cranes. The first large cranes brought in to complete the job were not capable of lifting the massive structures out of the muck where they have been lodged since the late 1950s. The underwater structures weight and size required a massive, double-boomed crane with a 3.6-million pound hoist capacity to do the heavy lifting. This crane was delivered to the site be 100 full size 18-wheelers.
The project, overseen by Texas State University and funded by the US Corps of Engineers, is scheduled for completion this summer at an under-budget cost of $2.8 million.
Aquarena Springs, along with Barton and Comal Springs, are the largest and most dependable springs in the Edwards Aquifer and are home to unique flora and fauna that rely on a constant flow of fresh, clean water.
Aquarena Springs mark the headwaters of the San Marcos River, and Texas State University has decided to return the site to a less commercial function. They have entrusted Andy Sansom, executive director of The Texas River Institute, to focus on the university's primary function as a research and educational institute.
Biologists and hydro-geologists will have access to the educational benefits associated with the protection of endangered species, habitat conservation and the continued study of the region's water-bearing aquifers.
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Pictured: A boardwalk allows visitors to tour the wetlands at Aquarena Springs safely.
A fish's eye view of the glass-bottom kayaks available at the Aquarena Springs Center in San Marcos.
Photos courtesy of Aquarena Center
Crane lifting the Submarine Theater.