Looking for mermaids in San Marcos, Texas, isn't as far-fetched as it sounds. If you look into the history of San Marcos, you will learn about Aquarena Springs, a kitschy place for families with "the world's only submarine theater." From this theater that could blow ballast and lower into the water, families could watch a show that included mermaids and Ralph the swimming pig, known for his "swine" dives. In the 1960s through '80s, Aquarena Springs was one of the most popular tourist attractions in Texas after The Alamo.
Today, all the touristy brouhaha is gone. The area is now Spring Lake. Glass-bottom boat tours run by Texas State University provide an educational look at the springs that bubble up from the depths. The building next to Spring Lake used to be the old hotel, but has been repurposed into a nature center where you can learn about a few of the rare species that inhabit this crystal clear spring water.
Our walk today touted painted mermaid sculptures as a focal point. Through no fault of the San Marcos River Walkers, the mermaids had not yet been moved into place by the city of San Marcos. The walk had been planned for months. It was thought the mermaids would be out; alas, they were not. Not to worry, the San Marcos River Walkers will host another walk when the mermaids are set in place.
As a consolation, a video showing some of the painted mermaids was on display at the start point. In the photo below, notice the mermaid is holding a pig, harking back to Aquarena Springs' heyday.
|Photo of a mermaid taken from a video|
|Sponsoring the walk: San Marcos River Walkers|
|The club is part of the |
Internationaler Volkssportverband (IVV)
The first 5k loop took us around downtown San Marcos. We exited the City Park Rec Hall and headed across the San Marcos River. The river is very clear as the headwater springs are only about 3/4 mile away.
|San Marcos River|
|Chief Placidio (Hashukana)|
|Historic downtown San Marcos|
|A lovely building|
|Two of our favorite vagabonds,|
Mike and Kathy Schwencke
|Bob and I stopped for a smooch.|
|Daiquiri Factory has a certain ring to it|
|Jack C. Hayes - Pioneer Surveyor, Texas Ranger,|
Community Builder. Sculpture by: Jason Scull, 2001
|Historic downtown San Marcos|
We walked past what looks like the old jail. It is fenced off. Bob said about five years ago, when he worked for MPS Construction, they refurbished the building with new windows, porch, and decorative fascia. Nothing further has happened to open it as a museum or anything. It's just sitting there looking forlorn.
|The old jail? No identifying signs.|
|"Electric Jazz" at Eddie Durham Park|
|Hey! A mermaid sighting!|
|Hayes County Historic Courthouse, 1909|
|Best mermaid sighting of the day.|
Across the street from our walk route was the Juan Veramendi Plaza with a beautiful gazebo, fountain, and a log cabin. We didn't go past them.
|Gazebo in Juan Veramendi Plaza|
|Old Fish Hatchery Office Building|
|Me on the bridge|
|A lone kayaker|
|Volksmarchers starting the downtown 5k loop|
The "River of Life" piece below is the artist's tribute to the San Marcos River and Aquarena Springs, the river's source.
|"River of Life" whirligig by Jim La Paseo|
|"Memory with a View"|
|"Caryatids" by Kate Ritson|
(or Rock, Paper, Scissors)
|Texas State University baseball stadium|
|A lovely rose in the city park|
From the Rec Hall, we took off on the second 5k loop. One thing about San Marcos, lots of trains come through town. As we started our second loop, I was able to get through some trees to catch a photo of a train coming.
When I finished with the train photo, I hurried to catch up to Bob who was greeting a friend he had met on the Texas Trail Roundup marathon walk.
|Linda, Brian, and Bob|
The three guys below are sporting shirts from the Kerrville Trailblazers and Texas Wanderers Volksmarch Clubs. Looks like they're finishing the 5k loop out by Aquarena Springs.
|Texas State University's Bobcat Football Stadium|
|Wetlands by Aquarena Springs|
|Large firecracker plant|
|Watch out for those 15 mph turtles!|
|Bob on the abandoned golf course|
We finished the walk and headed to New Braunfels for lunch and a movie. Bob and I love eating at Newk's Eatery. We both had the avocado/cheese/turkey melt. Mmm. Our waitress said it is their most popular sandwich.
|Newk's Eatery, New Braunfels, Texas|
|Turkey breast/avocado/cheese sandwich & coleslaw|
After that, we called it a day and headed home. Have a good week everyone. Travel Bug out.