Visiting the Aquarena Springs Theme Park in San Marcos today is much like visiting a graveyard. Here, you will find remnants of a vibrant past, without the noise and excitement we have come to expect from a theme park.
Photographer Andy Heatwole, who lives in San Marcos, has captured some amazing photos of this forgotten park.
The park originally opened in 1951. From alligator pits to glass-bottom boats to a 220-foot tower, Aquarena Springs had it all. It even had a famous swimming pig named Ralph that dove in the lake for treats. During its heyday, the amusement park attracted 250,000 annually.
At the time, no other Texas water park came close to having the sights vacationers could see here. That all changed when giants, like Six Flags, began offering patrons a brand new type of experience.
Eventually, the park closed. The buildings were sold off and revamped into an entirely different project. In 2005, Heatwole took his first picture, and over the next seven years, he continued capturing the ‘haunting’ beauty of the forgotten park.
Today, we can still see glimpses of the past in Heatwole’s photos. For Heatwole, the best thing about the park is the quiet, peaceful nature. He loves remembering a place where excitement and fun once lived.