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Aquarena Springs reunion brings back former aquamaids and more

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
November 5, 2009

Aquarena Springs skyride

Underwater aquamaids and more made the aqua show at the Aquarena Springs Resort a one-of-a-kind attraction not only for Texas, but for the country at large.

The Aquarena reunion celebration Nov. 6-8 will bring former performers, trainers and workers in general together for the first time since the area was purchased by Texas State University-San Marcos in 1994.

"We just can't wait to meet all these people," said Andrew Sansom, executive director, River Systems Institute. "This is a very exciting time for this university."

As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States throughout much of the latter half of the 20th Century, the aqua show at the Aquarena Springs Resort in San Marcos was perhaps the biggest attraction at the popular theme park. People were entertained, viewed the aquatic life through the crystal waters from glass-bottom boats and were impressed with the unique submarine theatre, the first of its kind west of the Mississippi.

"It was after HemisFair--the '68 World's Fair in San Antonio-- that the resort really started to become a household name," said Ronald Coley, director, Aquarena Center. "You had countless people traveling up and down I-35 with this unique place in San Marcos on the way."

The attractions drew upwards of 300,000 to 350,000 visitors at its peak in the 1970s and 1980s, employing 800 to 900 workers a year, many of them taking classes at the nearby university.

Along with reliving memories of the park, a variety of university departments are looking forward to meeting individuals involved to begin recording the historic aspects of the attraction. The Department of History has developed a public history class to begin recording oral histories and collecting important records and memorabilia alongside University Archives.

Furthermore, coinciding with the publishing of a book by the A.B. Rogers family, the original founding family of the theme park, work has begun to raise money to preserve the historic glass-bottom boats that tour the waters of the Aquarena.

The media is invited to this event. For more information, visit www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Home/reunion/ or call (512) 245-7544.