Temporary Closure 

Date of closure: February 15, 2024–Spring 2025
Description:  Starting on Thursday, February 15 and continuing through spring 2025, public parking on the north side of Barton Springs Pool will not be available, and William Barton Drive will be limited to emergency vehicles, construction deliveries, and vehicles needing accessible parking. For more information, visit the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project page.

The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center has housed the Splash! Into the Edwards Aquifer exhibit and various rotating exhibits, and has partnered with the Austin Nature & Science Center to offer educational programs.

As part of the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitations project, the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center is closed for renovation.  Renovation construction will begin in early 2024. The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center team will use this time to disassemble the exhibit and move out before construction begins. 

The renovation will relocate the main entrance to Barton Springs Pool into the Beverly Sheffield Education Center and Splash! Exhibit, creating an opportunity to educate pool visitors 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, and the renovations provide an exciting opportunity to reach many of the approximately 1 million visitors that swim in Barton Springs Pool annually.

What's New at the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center?

Opening June 15th, 2023 Delicate Balance: Metamorphosis of the Monarch Butterfly. Come see the photography of Theresa DiMenno featuring intimate portraits of the iconic Monarch Butterfly throughout its mesmerizing metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly. On view at the BSSEC through September 3rd, 2023.


Sheffield Education Center Receives BSEACD 2017 EDUCATION AWARD

Every two years the Board of Directors of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District selected its Groundwater Stewardship Award winners to deserving individuals, organizations, companies or agencies that have invested exemplary effort towards the protection and conservation of water resources in the District. In 2017 the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center was one of the awarded winners.

Read the press release for details on all of the 2017 winners.
Plan your Visit



Parking fees are currently being charged on the weekends.

Parking is free November - March and weekdays year-round. 

Hours of Operation 

Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Barton Springs Bathhouse

2201 William Barton Dr., Austin, TX 78746

Map of Zilker Park showing location of Splash! Exhibit.



Self-Guided Tours of the Beverly Sheffield Education Center and Splash! exhibit are scheduled through the Austin Nature & Science Center

Reservations for the 2022-2023 school year begin on September 21, 2022

Phone: (512) 974-3888

Email: anscprograms@austintexas.gov

Self Guided Tours

Your group of up to 30 students at a time can explore the Splash! Exhibit with a free reservation!  The Zilker playscape, Barton Springs Pool, and picnic tables are close by.  Please note that the site is small and can only accommodate up to 30 people at a time comfortably.


With your group, define “aquifer” — an underground storage place for water.  The exhibit is designed to look like an actual limestone cave to help students imagine that they are a drop of water entering the aquifer. Point out the “Aquifer Recharge Zone” sign at the entrance of the exhibit and ask if they have seen these signs around Austin.  These signs act to remind people that they are in a sensitive recharge zone for the aquifer and that their actions have an effect on the quality of water and the ecosystems it serves.


On the touchscreen menu, choose the heading “Science” and the video “Carved in Stone.” This 4-minute movie illustrates the geologic processes that formed the aquifer and Barton Springs.  Discuss the large span in geologic time and how Austin used to look.

Strata Cave

This passageway shows the rock layers of the aquifer that exist below us in Central Texas.  Encourage students to touch and describe the differences between each layer.  How does the physical make-up of each rock layer impact the movement of water through the aquifer?

Watershed Model

How does water enter the aquifer?  Each button and corresponding animation show the journey water must take to enter the Edwards Aquifer.  Have students take turns pressing each button from left to right.


Each of the 4 aquariums represents a different part of the local watershed; upper Barton Creek, Barton Springs Pool, lower Barton Creek and the Colorado River.  What differences do students note between each aquarium?

Pollution Tubes

These tubes represent the different kinds of impacts human actions can have upon waterways.  Discuss with students causes and effects of each type of pollution, especially regarding the aquatic critters that live in Austin’s creeks.

Water Science Room

Allow students 5-10 minutes to explore the interactive games and models.  Challenge them to: enter the name of their school to find their school’s watershed, test Barton Creek’s water with light to measure for nitrates, use a dichotomous key to identify an aquatic insect and determine if storm water flows faster over pavement or parkland.

Photo collage explains who the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center is named after.