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Barton Springs is a natural limestone pool 1000 feet long, fed 28 miliion gallons of water each day by several underground springs. The pool has a year-round temperature of 68 degrees. Barton Springs is part of 360-acre Zilker Park, located in the center of the city of Austin, who keeps the park and the pool open all year long. The water from Barton Springs and Barton Creek flow into the lower Colorado River.
Barton Springs is made up of four distinct springs. One of them is named Eliza, after a daughter of William Barton, the homesteader who settled on the south bank of the then-named Barton's Creek in 1837.
In 1996 Barton Springs had over 341,000 fans of freshwater
come to visit. In the past, people have come to the Springs to fish and hunt, to homestead, to be baptised, to get their grain milled into flour, and to attend dances and beauty pageants.
Today Barton Springs is many things to many more people. It serves as an open-air classroom for science teachers and students. Lifeguards, biologists, hydrogeologists, city planners, engineers, photographers, filmmakers, and musicians work at Barton Springs and on the Edwards Aquifer that feeds the Springs.
Animals and plants make up only some of the wildlife at Barton Springs--bikini season and dinosaur footprints make up the rest! Some animals have migrated to Barton Springs, which is the center of Texas, from the sea, which is hundreds of miles away. In the last century, before Barton Creek had dams in it, people could even take a boat from this creek to the Gulf of Mexico, via the Colorado River.
Because Barton Springs is the largest natural swimming pool inside an urban area in the U.S., the place precious and a challenge to preserve. On most any summer day it takes on the atmosphere of a huge outdoor party, where people of all kinds can meet under the sun, in clean water.
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