Zilker park renovations bring fourth changes amongst visitors for the upcoming summer

With ongoing construction of the Joan Means Khabele Bathhouse at Barton Springs pool, visitors can expect summer to look different this year. As the construction started around Winter 2024, parking on the northside of Barton Springs pool is no longer available for public use. 

he bathhouse which opened in 1947 was open to the public as a place where people were able to freshen up during their visit at Zilker Park. Within the time it was open, add ons like the Sheffield Education center and Splash exhibit were added on to promote education about the springs, Edwards aquifer and wildlife like the Barton Springs Salamander that is housed in the pool. Austin City officials partnered with Austin Parks and Recreation to improve visitors’ experience by proposing renovations of plumbing system upgrade, structure repair, and improving access to the pool by redesigning the entryway. It has been about 70 years since changes to the Bathhouse were made.

Aquatics Program manager Aaron Levine has worked for the City of Austin since 2006 as an Aquatic supervisor and has then switched gears into overseeing operations for both Deep Eddy and Barton Springs Pool. With construction happening near the pool, Levine has continued to see crowds come to visit the cold watered spring.

“When the development around town starts to affect the aquifer, it starts to affect the pool as well,” aquatics program manager Aaron Levine said. “ The city rebuilding the Bathhouse and being able to maintain the facilities and redesign for the influx of people will allow more people to enjoy Austin’s Crown Jewel.”

As renovations continue, Sheffield Education Center and Splash exhibit will be closed until renovations are complete around Spring 2025. Temporary bathrooms and showers will be available for visitors to use near the construction site. 


Limited parking will affect how visitors will be visiting the main entrance to Zilker Park where Barton Springs Pool, The Zilker Theatre, and Playground are located. Parking lots near this area will only be available upon vacancy of the space. During the weekdays, visitors can expect free parking Monday through Friday, but pay a fee of $7 during weekends and holidays. 

Alternative forms of transportation are encouraged by visitors to use such as the free Zilker Shuttle, which picks up visitors at One Texas Center parking garage and shuttles them to the park. An additional resource is Austin’s Cap Metro city bus which travels through the park on Route 30. 

Large crowds can expect wait times to find parking alongside the park, however, surrounding areas around the Zilker Neighborhood like the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Casa De Luz Village, and the Botanical Garden are open to the community to visit.

Zilker Botanical gardens staff Yazmin Diaz who is in charge of admission of the gardens where she has seen visitors come to take a break from the large crowds.The Zilker Botanical Garden will be hosting their Orchid Photography workshop that is free for the public to attend, May 7 from 6:30-9 p.m. 

“ I have seen different types of people who come and visit the gardens. Surprisingly different age groups within my generation come and volunteer in the garden and helping clean up,” Zilker Botanical Garden staff Yazamin Diaz said. “ My favorite part of the garden is the Prehistoric exhibit because it is really peaceful and green.” 

Zilker Park’s inclusivity and accommodations to its community such as the restoration of the Barton Springs Bathhouse and usage of the open grounds for events such as The Trail of Lights, ABC Kite Festival, Hillside summer production, Austin City Limits Festival, and summer event Blues On The Green continues to bring visitors in. 

Owner of Vida Cosmica and Zilker Park goer Jessica Mondragon has hosted many events at Zilker park in midst of high volume crowds and limited parking.  Mondragon events such as her spiritual Yoga Women’s Circle continue to be held around the Zilker neighborhood because of the positive environment that she feels the park has. 

“ Zilker park’s open space invites visitors to create anything you want,” Vida Cosmica owner Jessica Mondragon said. “It gives us space and the freedom to be in each others company as a womanhood and inspired me to be an open container to experience.” 

For more information on the Joan Means Khabele Bathhouse Rehabilitation Project at Barton Springs Pool please visit https://www.austintexas.gov/bathhouse-rehab 

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