The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center houses the Splash! Into the Edwards Aquifer exhibit, rotating exhibits in the central rotunda, and partners with the Austin Nature & Science Center to offer educational programs. Our mission is to foster stewardship of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer through education.
Winter Closure Dates: Closed December 23-26, 2022, and January 1-2, 2023.
Normal operating hours are:
- Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
- Sunday 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan
The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan is a community-driven planning process to establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park. It is the first comprehensive planning initiative to encompass the park’s 350 acres and associated facilities. See the whole plan and more information here: Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan.
What's New at the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center
The Cave Project: Austin's Endangered Heritage: Come see our new Barbara Atwell art exhibit, featuring striking images of some of our most precious endangered cave and underground species! The exhibit is a project of the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve Program and Austin Water Wildlands Conservation Division.
Renovations and New Art Coming Soon - We'd Love to Hear From You! Help inspire artist Lys Santamaria with your own ideas and memories of Barton Springs for our Splash! exhibit from Art in Public Places. Survey available until December 22, 2022.
Sheffield Education Center Receives BSEACD 2017 EDUCATION AWARD
At its December 14, 2017 meeting, the Board of Directors of the Barton Springs/Edwards Aquifer Conservation District selected its 2017 Groundwater Stewardship Award winners. The District presents these stewardship awards every two years to deserving individuals, organizations, companies or agencies that have invested exemplary effort towards the protection and conservation of water resources in the District.
Please see their press release for details on all of the 2017 winners.
- Plan your Visit
Free! Parking fees vary seasonally.
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
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
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.
Define “aquifer” for your group—an underground storage place for water. Since the exhibit is designed to look like an actual limestone cave, challenge younger students to imagine that they are a drop of water entering into the aquifer. For older students, point out the “Aquifer Recharge Zone” sign at the entrance of the exhibit and ask if they have seen these signs around Austin. Explain that sign alerts people that they are entering a sensitive recharge area for the Edwards Aquifer.
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.
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?
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 aquaria 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?
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.