San Marcos Nature Center & Nearby Parks

We’d heard there was a nature center in San Marcos so we decided to see what it was like. Not to mention, we can never turn down a chance to see the beautiful San Marcos River!


The San Marcos Nature Center is located at 430 Riverside Drive in San Marcos, right off of I-35.


The nature center is relatively small but my sons really enjoyed examining the different creatures. Here’s a snapping turtle.


These tree frogs were pretty cute.


Even this rough green snake wasn’t too scary.


There’s a “Wildscape” behind the nature center, featuring native plants from the area.


The nature center is adjacent to Crook Park.


From there, we followed a path that led us to the Wildlife Habitat Park.


We wondered where this trail would lead.


Wow! A perfect spot to sit and enjoy the river.


This area is part of Ramon Lucio Park, which also has baseball and softball fields.


It was a relaxing place to take a break.


We then backtracked and crossed Cheatham Street to Rio Vista Park (555 Cheatham Street).


There are three “drops” or falls, that make up Rio Vista Falls. The kayakers going over the falls were pretty impressive. In warmer weather, this area is full of people enjoying the river on tubes and floats.


We could not get over how the river was flowing. We are already talking about making sure we visit San Marcos again in warmer weather so we can find a nice spot to go swimming!


Austin Active Kids Opinion: Fun nature exploration just a short trip from Austin!
Outing Time: Under 2 hours (not including driving to San Marcos)
Outing Distance: About a mile
Reminders: Admission to the San Marcos Nature Center is free. Hours are: Monday – Friday from 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday 11 am – 5 pm. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
When you’re around the San Marcos River, remember that it’s a natural body of water and that there aren’t lifeguards on duty. For questions about swimming or tubing in the San Marcos River, call the San Marcos Convention and Visitor Bureau at 512-393-5930 or visit their web site.
Check out this map link for a close-up of the area where we walked around.
San Marcos has a lot of greenspace to explore. Here’s a comprehensive list.

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