It don’t look like much now but for decades the object below was part of a towering icon that could be seen for miles in any direction from San Marcos. It was an open air rotating elevator that took you to the top of the observation tower at Aquarena Springs. on a clear day you could see the skylines of both Austin and San Antonio and you got a view of both while the the gondola rotated 360 degrees.
The tower and gondola have now been dismantled and the for the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. The glass bottom boats that first started taking tourists on cruises around the river in the early 40s have been restored and once again giving visitors a view of the hoards of fish that thrive in the crystal clear waters of the San Marcos River.
A San Marcos amusement park that was once “full of life” for photographer Andy Heatwole later became a “haunting” place of serenity. The now-long-gone Aquarena Springs acted as Heatwole’s eerie backdrop when he photographed the abandoned resort and park between 2005 and 2012 for his gallery, ” The Ruins of Aquarena.”