A Mermaid adventure awaits you!
I love the magazine Texas Highways, especially if I am looking for something kind of different to do in this great state. While checking out the Fall, 2016 schedule of events, I became aware of the most amazing thing – we have mermaids in Texas! Or at least in San Marcos. The Mermaid Society SMTX, according to their website, mermaidsocietysmtx.com, is “a grassroots community organization committed to connecting community partners to work creatively in support of the arts, river stewardship, historic preservation and a local living economy”. Well, that seems a little dry, so sit back and let me tell you a story.
The springs of the San Marcos River in central Texas are extraordinary. They are the life source for one of the longest-inhabited places in North America and the primary habitat for several endangered species, including a blind salamander found nowhere else on earth. But did you know they used to be world famous for something else – a submersible theater or Aquarena, giving audiences a window into the world of mermaids.
After General Edward Burleson bought the land in this area in 1845 and damned the headwaters to run a grist mill, it was bought by A.B Rogers in 1924. Rogers put a small resort hotel there and added glass bottom boats, allowing riders to see through the clear waters to the aquatic ecosystem some 30 feet below.
Roger’s son, Paul, founded Aquarena Springs in 1949 and brought mermaids along with the deal. For years the underwater shows were famous and even earned a spread in Popular Mechanics in 1952.
Eventually ticket sales dwindled and the property was bought by Texas State University in 1994. The university restored Aquarena’s glass bottom boats, but converted the site into an environmental preservation and research center.
The work to preserve this water wonder is continued by the Mermaid Society SMTX. The mermaid, says the society, is “the protector of our river and all its inhabitants. Her image is meant to serve as a symbol for our city to remind all to respect and protect the natural beauty and resources of our river for generations to come”.
So how does this tie into the Fall schedule for Texas Highways? On September 16, 2016, the Mermaid Society Ball will be held at The Meadows Center in San Marcos and the next day, September 17, is the Mermaid Parade and Splash in downtown San Marcos. Starting at 10 am, the downtown parade will feature floats, marchers, music and “all things San Marcos”. Sounds like a wonderful early fall trip and a chance to discover that mermaids do live in our state. Check out their website for more details.
When driving to San Marcos or anywhere in Texas, be sure to obey the rules of the road. And to learn what those rules are, log on to WirelessDefensiveDriving.com. Here is a map with the address of the Mermaid Society. You can also find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mermaidsocietysmtx/