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Barton Springs Bathhouse Interpretive Planning: Sheffield Education Center

Barton Springs Bathhouse Interpretive Planning: Sheffield Education Center

The Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project(External link), will include interpretive planning and design of the Beverly S. Sheffield Educaton Center. As part of the renovation, the main entrance to Barton Springs Pool will be moved into the Beverly Sheffield Education Center and Splash! Exhibit creating an opportunity to educate everyone who visits the pool about the importance of protecting water and preserving salamander habitat. The mission of Sheffield Education Center and Splash! into the Edwards Aquifer Exhibit is to foster stewardship of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer through education.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is seeking input from the community to identify general interests, desired interpretive opportunities, and ways to connect to Barton Springs through the revitalized exhibit space in the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center at Barton Springs Bathhouse.


We invite you to visit the stations and share your input on the form below. Your comments will provide guidance to the project team.

Experience the Exhibits

Use this guide to identify the elements and think through what it is about the element that you appreciate.

Splash Exhibit

  1. Aqua-Theater: Living Springs interactive Documentary
  2. Strata Cave: Provides an overview of the geologic composition of the Edwards Aquifer
  3. Watershed Model: The water cycle interactive that includes Aquifer features)
  4. Aquarium section:  Follows the journey of the water from Upper Barton Creek to the Colorado River.
  5. Pollution Tubes: Displays different water quality conditions clean water, chemical pollutants, eutrophic algae and suspended sediment
  6. The Spectrophotometer: Compares phosphate and nitrate values from surface water sampling sites around Austin.
  7. The Mini-Sub: Non-point source pollution tracking activity
  8. The Bug Inspector/Macroscope: Aquatic invertebrate dichotomous key activity
  9. Barton Springs Flow: Groundwater monitoring presentation featuring real time USGS data of recharge and discharge at Barton Springs
  10. The Periscope: Underwater footage of Barton Springs
  11. The Stormwater Simulator: Stormwater runoff activity comparing urban and natural environments
  12. The Detention Pond: Illustrates how detention ponds help to reduce surface water degradation
  13. Find your Watershed: interactive map of Austin watersheds, includes
  14. The Karst fountain: Water feature that highlights the porous nature of Edwards limestone
  15. The Bubble Door: thematic exhibit exit door
  16. Backyard Management: A landscaping simulator that encourages natural gardening techniques
  17. Salamander/The Creatures of Barton Creek: Help a salamander navigate through the aquifer/ Place animals in their correct habitat

Rotunda

  1. The Soul of Austin Exhibit: Provides a broad overview of the human history of Barton Springs
  2. Salamander Springs: Includes the salamander aquarium and the salamander survey activity table
  3. Park information kiosk: Interactive park map that includes information about each facility located in Zilker Park
  4. Zany Zilker kiosk: Explores the lesser known stories of Zilker Park and Barton Springs
  5. Zebra Mussels: A temporary exhibit regarding this invasive mussel species
  6. Wentzscope: Exploration of aquatic organisms at the microscopic level.

Themes and Objectives

The themes and objectives were developed by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department with guidance and input from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Austin Watershed Protection Department, Barton Springs Conservancy, Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Save Our Springs, Save Barton Creek Association, Friends of Barton Springs Pool, and Barton Springs documentarian, Karen Kocher.

Content Themes

  1. The waters of Barton Springs are a finite and critical resource that supports life and community.
  2. Barton Springs has played a key role in shaping the human history of this area for thousands of years and continues to be integral to the identity of Austin’s community.
  3. The quality and quantity of the water that emerges at Barton Springs is vital to the health and well-being of its inhabitants and visitors.
  4. Salamanders and humans can work together to protect this amazing and unique natural resource.

 

Learning Objectives

  1. Visitors will understand that Barton Springs is not just a swimming pool
  2. Visitors will learn what types of activities can negatively affect Barton Springs both inside the pool and the sensitive areas of the Edwards Aquifer.
  3. Visitors will be informed about what they can do to preserve this amazing natural resource as well as the green spaces around it.
  4. Visitors will be introduced to the endangered salamanders that call Barton Springs home and understand the role they play in the stewardship of Barton Springs.
  5. Visitors will learn about the history of Zilker Park, Barton Springs and the Barton Springs Bathhouse.

Emotional Objectives

  1. Visitors will want to protect Barton Springs.
  2. Visitors will feel a connection to groundwater issues through their experience at Barton Springs.
  3. Visitors will feel both joy and awe as the learn about the history and ecology of Barton Springs.
  4. Visitors will appreciate the importance of the signature species that live in Barton Springs.
  5. Visitors will appreciate the significance of Barton Springs and Zilker Park to the history of Austin.

Behavioral Objectives

  1. Visitors will share their knowledge and experience of Barton Springs and inspire new people to visit the springs.
  2. Visitors will become better groundwater stewards.
  3. Visitors will make a commitment to preserve Barton Springs for future generations.
  4. Visitors will support the continued stewardship of Barton Springs and the Bathhouse as significant historic, environmental and cultural resources.