Introduction to San Marcos, Texas
The Texas city of San Marcos, county seat of Hays County (named after famed Texas Ranger Jack Hays), is located between the cities of Austin (30 miles to the northeast) and San Antonio (50 miles to the southwest). Its principal highway is Interstate 35, which connects San Marcos to both cities. Founded in 1851 and incorporated in 1877, San Marcos is home to Texas State University and also to the San Marcos Baptist Academy.
Texas State University, known at the time as the Southwest Texas Normal School, is the alma mater of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Many landmarks both on campus and around town bear his name, including the LBJ student center and LBJ Drive, one of the city's main roads. A new LBJ Museum located on the town square is scheduled to open in December 2006.
Activities and Attractions in San Marcos
The 1960s saw the emergence of the Aquarena Springs Center and Wonder World as local attractions and since that time tourism has become a significant part of the city's economy. Located on the Balcones Fault, a fracture in the earth's crust which created the San Marcos springs and river, The Aquarena Springs Center is an environmental learning center featuring glass-bottom boat tours, environmental education tours, and a natural aquarium. Wonder World Park is a Texas Historical Site with several unique attractions including the nation's only earthquake-formed cave, a wildlife park, an observation tower, an anti-gravity house, and train rides through the waterfalls of Mystery Mountain.
Other local attractions include the San Marcos River, a family recreation area which features a tube ride and river chute. The Belvin Street Historic District in the southwest part of the city contains superb examples of 19th Century homes. San Marcos also hosts a number of annual events, including a chili cook-off (the Chilympiad).
Less than an hour's drive away are the cities of San Antonio and Austin, each of which offers a wealth of local attractions. Just a few of the more popular ones are listed here:
- The Alamo (San Antonio)
- San Antonio River Walk
- HemisFair Park (San Antonio)
- Brackenridge Park (home of the San Antonio Zoo)
- Sea World San Antonio
- Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio)
- The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum (Austin)
- The Texas State Capitol (Austin)
- The Texas Memorial Museum (Austin)
- The Zilker Botanical Gardens (Austin)
These same two cities are replete with professional sports teams, including:
- Baseball - (Minor League) San Antonio Missions (AA-affiliate of the Seattle Mariners)
- Baseball - (Minor League) Round Rock Express (Austin's AAA-affiliate of the Houston Astros)
- Basketball - (NBA) San Antonio Spurs
- Basketball - (NBA Development League) Austin Toros
- Basketball - (WNBA) San Antonio Silver Stars
- Football - (Arena Football League) Austin Wranglers
- Hockey - (American Hockey League) San Antonio Rampage
- Hockey - (Central Hockey League) Austin Ice Bats
Austin is also the locale of the University of Texas, home of the Longhorns.