Sunday, September 11, 2016

Matchbook Memories: Aquarena Springs


Yes, the touristy mecca that was once known as Aquarena Springs still exists in some form today and, yes, they are doing good, educational work but for those of us who were there in its heyday, there is nothing like the original product.  Which brings us to our next Matchbook Memory:

In case you're not familiar, Aquarena Springs was a magical tourist destination in Central Texas where pigs swam, mermaids drank soda under water and...I don't know, do you really need more than that?

There were also glass bottom boats and a hundred other cool things that Disneyland couldn't come close to touching. At some point it went out of business and now exists as a part of the Meadows Center For Water and the Environment and is run by the state.

Pretty much all that remains from before are the glass bottom boat rides with more of a focus on education instead of finding dead bodies in the river.  But of course, we can always relive the good old days via vintage postcards from the 80's:

You can see on the map below that the park was surprisingly sprawling and a lot of care went into providing unique attractions.  Also worth noting in the map are artistic renditions of a dwarf salamander (which was one of the native wildlife boasted to be thriving in the park) and the star of Aquarena Springs, Ralph the swimming/diving pig!

With the heyday of the park in the past, mementos like these are the best way to remember the charm of an old school roadside destination.

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