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New snorkel tours offer up-close view of protected San Marcos springs


30-THOUSAND FEET.LONG THE WORK 2-SALLY:WITH TEMPS STILL CLIMBING INTO THE UPPER 90’S… YOU MIGHT BE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO COOL OFF THIS WEEKEND.MAYBE FLOATING THE SAN MARCOS RIVER.2-JOHN:TEXAS STATE UNIVERSITY’S MEADOWS CENTER HAS A NEW OPTION — SNORKELING IN THE CONSTANT 72- DEGREE SPRINGS THAT CREATE THE RIVER.IF YOU MOVED TO CENTRAL TEXAS AFTER THE MID-90’S.. THIS IS WHAT IT USED TO LOOK LIKE.IT WAS CALLED AQAURENA SPRINGS — A THEME PARK FEATURING MERMAID SHOWS AND RALPH THE SWIMMING PIG.THE UNIVERSITY BOUGHT IT IN 1994 TO CONSERVE THE NATURAL RESOURCE.SALLY:AND HERE’S WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE NOW. IT’S NOW CALLED SPRING LAKE.. FED BY THE EDWARDS AQUIFER.THE MEADOWS CENTER WORKS TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SPRINGS.AND AS CHRIS DAVIS SHOWS US — THE NEW SNORKEL PROGRAM AIMS TO IMMERSE YOU IN THEIR ECOLOGY. POPULAR TUBING AND SWIMMING SPOTS LIKE THIS ON THE SAN MARCOS RIVER WOULDN’T EXIST WITHOUT..MATT DANIELSON: “OH THERE YOU GO.”THIS.MATT DANIELSON: “LOOK AT THE BASS, NOAH.”MATT AND MARTY DANIELSON BROUGHT THEIR GRANDKIDS HERE FROM AUSTIN.BOAT DRIVER: “I TOLD YOU GUYS, WE’RE GOING TO SEE SOME TURTLES TODAY.”IT’S DIFFERENT FROM MATT’S DAYS AS A TEXAS STATE STUDENT IN THE LATE ’70S.SNEAKING IN AFTER DARK.MATT DANIELSON: “WE NEVER DID ANYTHING MALICIOUS, BUT WE JUST WENT SWIMMING.”MATT DANIELSON: “I THINK THE SPRINGS ON A WHOLE LOOK MORE NATURAL, BETTER, I THINK, ON THE WHOLE.”THAT’S THANKS TO CONSERVATION EFFORTS.. BOTH OF THE SPRINGS.. AND OF THE MULTIPLE ENDANGERED SPECIES THAT CALL THEM HOME.MIRANDA WAIT: “WE’RE TRYING TO TEACH HOW TO BE GOOD STEWARDS OF THEIR ENVIRONMENT, OF WHERE THEY LIVE.”THE GUIDED SNORKELING TOURS ARE THE NEXT STEP. THE MEADOWS CENTER STARTED THEM QUIETLY OVER THE SUMMER.. AND PLANS TO RUN THEM ON WEEKENDS AT LEAST THROUGH THE END OF OCTOBER.MIRANDA WAIT: “YOU ARE IN THE EXPERIENCE INSTEAD OF ON TOP OF THE EXPERIENCE.””‘CAUSE I’D LOVE TO DO THAT.”MATT SAYS HE’LL BE BACK WITH HIS GRANDSON TO GIVE SNORKELING A TRY.HELPING IMMERSE THE NEXT GENERATION IN THE IMPORTANCE OF CONSERVATION.MATT DANIELSON: “WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE IT IS TO HAVE IN OUR, IN CENTRAL TEXAS.”CHRIS DAVIS KXAN NEWS.JOHN:THE TOUR IS CALLED SPLASH INTO SCIENCE. THEY’RE HAPPENING ON WEEKENDS IN THE EVENING THROUGH OCTOBER — AND MAYBE LATER, DEPENDING ON THE WEATHER.IT’S 45 BUCKS A PERSON.. BUT YOU DON’T NEED ANY GEAR.A SNORKELING SET AND WETSUIT COME WITH ADMISSION. YOU DO NEED TO BE AT LEAST 12 TO SNORKEL.. AND YOU HAVE TO PASS A SWIM TEST BEFORE YOU CAN TAKE THE TOUR.THERE WILL AN ADVANCED COURSE COMING IN THE SPRING.. PLUS SPOTLIGHT TOURS AT NIGHT WITH FLASHLIGHTS.SALLY:THE MEADOWS CENTER IS ALSO ASKING FOR DONATIONS TO REFURBISH ITS GLASS-BOTTOM BOATS.THREE HAVE GOTTEN NEW FIBERGLASS HULLS.. WITH TWO TO GO.THE COST IS 150- THOUSAND DOLLARS APIECE.. ON TOP OF COSTLY YEARLY MAINTENANCE.YOU CAN DONATE AT

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