Sheffield Education Center photograph collage

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.

The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center is Ready to Open to the Public!

The Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center is excited to welcome visitors back to the facility in July. We will begin accepting reservations for visitation on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am-1:00pm, from July 13-August 15. If Austin Public Health staging continues to move in a good direction the site will return to its regular schedule and allow drop-in visitation after August 15.

Click this link to make a reservation. Please keep these tips in mind for your visit:

  • Each group member will need a ticket assigned to them
  • Please have tickets available for sign-in
  • Upon arrival, call 512-974-6350 to gain access to the site
  • Pets are not allowed on site
  • If you have any questions please contact us at anscprograms@austintexas.gov

Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan and Survey

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.

We would love community input to ensure the Vision Plan addresses the needs and wishes of our visitors to Zilker Park! The second survey in this series is now available: Zilker Vision Plan Community Survey #2. We'd love your feedback! 

What is New at the Beverly S. Sheffield Education Center

We want your feedback about the Beverly Sheffield Education Center and the Splash Exhibit.  Please fill out a survey here.  Additional info located here. Available now

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

Admission

Free!  Parking fees vary seasonally. 

Hours of Operation (with Reservation)

Monday - Closed

Tuesday - 10am - 1pm

Wednesday - 10am - 1pm

Thursday - 10am - 1pm

Friday - Closed

Saturday - Closed

Sunday - Closed

Location

Barton Springs Bathhouse

2201 William Barton Dr., Austin, TX 78746

 

Education

Programs are scheduled through the Austin Nature & Science Center

Phone: (512) 974-3888

Email: anscprograms@austintexas.gov

On Your Own Tours

It’s free!  A water fountain and restrooms are just outside our entrance.  The Zilker Playscape and picnic tables are close by.  Please note that the site is small and can only accommodate one class at a time comfortably.

Introduction

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.

Theater

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.

Aquaria

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?

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 in regard to 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.