Hours: 5 AM - 10 PM daily, closed Thursdays 9 AM - 7 PM
Fees: Admission ranges from $2 (child resident) to $9 (adult nonresident)
Parking: $5 per car
Rules: No pets. Drinks must be in a plastic reusable container with twist-top lid. No smoking. No coolers, ice chests, food, glass, alcohol, or thermal bags. No frisbees, footballs, soccer balls or other hard balls.
Latest Explorer Observation
Barton Springs Pool, Austin’s iconic swimming hole, is fed by water flowing from an underground aquifer. Water travels through the Barton Springs segment of the Edwards Aquifer through caves and crevices, to come out at four Springs. Only days before, this water may have been rain, many miles away. Native Americans considered the Barton Springs area to be a sacred healing ground. The springs were later named after William “Uncle Billy” Barton, who began living on the land in 1837.
SPRINGS FOR ALL
In 1960, some Austin teenagers and young adults took a bold step by jumping into the waters of Barton Springs. Working with other students, Joan Means, an Austin High senior began “swim-ins” after being told that she and her fellow black classmates would not be allowed to attend their senior class picnic at Barton Springs.
“Those swim-ins at Barton Springs and other pools began the civil rights movement in Austin.”
~ Joan Means Khabele
Barton Springs Salamanders
Did you know you’re swimming with salamanders? Chances are rare that you’ll spot one though. The Barton Springs salamander measures only 3 inches long and hides in sand and gravel at the bottom of the pool where chilly water flows up from the Edwards Aquifer. The Barton Springs salamander can be found nowhere else in the world. In 1997, it was placed on the Endangered Species list, making these waters federally protected.
It’s important not to disturb salamander habitat. They rely on sediment to hide from predators and aquatic plants for prey. The endangered Austin Blind Salamander makes its home here too and has adapted to life deeper within the aquifer. Sensitive to pollution, both salamanders remind us of the fragile nature of the aquifer.