Ahhh - the first day of summer vacation. There is no better day in the year :o)
One of the first things the boys asked me this morning is where we were going. Well, we had a lot of things to do to get ready for summer: empty and store school backpacks (woot!!), find this year's pair of water shoes, buy $40 of sun block , pack the summer bag. All of those typical first day of summer chores... So, we didn't get on the road until almost noon. Since we wanted to be back in time to catch some of the UT game, we decided to keep it close.
The boys picked Barking Springs, an old favorite.
For those of you unfamiliar with Barking Springs, it is the small wading area just east of Barton Springs. Unlike Barton Springs, there is no admission, no life guards and even better, four footed friends are allowed (or at least tolerated if not explicitly allowed) Hence the Barking name ;o)
The cool waters of Barton Springs flow over a small waterfall and into the wading area. There are rocks to climb, fish to catch, and ducks to chase. And the chilly water is refreshing on hot summer days.
The boys have always loved coming here - as much as they love Barton Springs! And having the puppies along only doubles the fun!
After we enjoyed the waters for a few hours, we stopped by the snack shack - another favorite. In addition to a sweet or salty treat, you can buy a bag of bird food.
Or, for those thinking ahead, you can bring your own bird food! The pigeons in the area are very used to being fed, and will come quite close - and in droves, if you let them. Even the occasional bark from our dogs didn't seem to phase them much! This activity will typically entertain my boys for almost as long as the waters at Barking Springs!
Tips and Thoughts
* To access Barking Springs from the North you can park in the first or second parking lot on William Barton Drive (inside Zilker Park) The second lot is the same parking lot as Barton Springs. Head east along the trail, with the Zilker Zephyr and the Zilker playground on your left. You will see a black gate marking the end of Barton Springs. Go a bit further, and you will see steps down that will take you to Barking Springs. On the weekends, these parking lots have a $5 fee.
To access Barking Springs from the South: I have not done this, but it looks like you can park in the parking lot off of Robert E Lee road. Head east along Lady Bird Lake Trail until you just pass the end of Barton Springs. It looks like a path goes down to the nice concrete beach. I'll have to try this way they next time we go, as this looks like an easy way to access the nicer side of the spillway.
* The ground can be very slippery here, so water shoes are a good thing to bring!
* The slope or "beach" area is very rough concrete, so you might want to bring a blanket along to sit on.
* As the name implies, many people bring their dogs here. I would not suggest this for anyone who has a canine fear!
* There is a fair current going through here, as the water flows from Barton Springs to Lady Bird Lake. Floatees for the little ones may be a good idea - and we even saw a doggy life preserver as well!
* If you do want to pick up a snack of bag of bird food, the snack shack only takes cash. Fortunately, an ATM is conveniently located close by near the Zilker Zephyr