San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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May 27th, 2008
Free and Affordable Fun on a Tight Budget

Summer is coming. Gas and grocery prices are rising. Are you asking yourself -“What am I going to do on such a tight budget?” Well, look no further than your community Parks and Recreation Department to keep you entertained this summer and throughout the year.

San Marcos Plaza Park will be the place for lots of free family entertainment throughout the summer. Beginning June 10, Movies in Your Park will return for another season. Every Tuesday night a free outdoor movie will begin at dark. In addition to the movies, the Parks and Recreation Department staff, along with Time Warner Cable will have pre-movie activities and giveaways.

If this is not enough, come back to San Marcos Plaza Park every Thursday Night for a free musical concert in the park. This annual music series presented by the San Marcos Performing Arts Association and the Parks and Recreation Department is a San Marcos tradition. The series will be highlighted this year with performances from Terri Hendrix, Air Force Band of the West quartet “Dimensions in Blue”, and Two Tons of Steel just to name a few. The series opens on June 5 with a performance by the Texas State Swing Band.

The Parks and Recreation Department boasts several hiking trails throughout the parks system. Including Prospect Park, Purgatory Park, Schulle Canyon, Spring Lake Preserve, River Parks trails, and Ringtail Ridge. You can hike alone with family and friends or join the San Marcos Greenbelt Alliance for guided hikes each month. Remember to stay on the path, leave no trace, and enjoy the beauty of nature. Motorized vehicle are not permitted in the parks and dogs must be leashed.

If you like swimming, Rio Vista Park will be open starting Memorial Day weekend. Season passes are available for Youths, Adults, and Families with prices ranging from $40 to $150. This is great bargain for families looking to beat the heat during the long summer days. Rio Vista Pool will be open for Family Swim nights every Thursday from 8-10pm. They will also host fun-filled Splash Jams for all ages on June 14 and July 19.

For the truly budget-minded and adventurous, take a dip in the San Marcos River at City Park or Rio Vista Falls. The river is a natural waterway and there are no lifeguards on duty. Swimming and tubing is at your own risk, so we always recommend lifejackets, river shoes, and adult supervision.

The San Marcos Nature Center is the place for kids and families to learn about native plants and wildlife. After an adventurous tour of the grounds and outdoor exhibits, continue across the pedestrian bridge to the Wildlife Annex located on Cheatham Street. You can enjoy the sounds of wetland wildlife, do some bird watching, and enjoy a picnic lunch or dinner.

If you are looking for active recreation, check out the San Marcos Skate Park located next to the public library. The skate park is open daily and participants are required to wear protective gear. If you are not brave enough to try it yourself, the regulars will entertain you with daring jumps and aerial acrobatics.

After you visit the Skate Park, walk to the lively San Marcos Dog Park for a look at some of our communities most beloved canine companions. This is a great place to meet new friends as you socialize with other pet owners.

The San Marcos Activity Center is also a great place for children, adults and senior citizens. For a minimal fee, you can workout in the weight room, swimming pool, or on the cardio equipment. Senior Citizens can participate in many free activities including Game Day, Bingo, and Luncheons. We also offer affordable classes for anyone interested in karate, belly dancing, aerobic fitness, tai chi, indoor cycling, and yoga.

The Activity Center is also home of the Walker’s Gallery. Community art exhibits change every six weeks and feature some of the best local, regional and national artists.

With all of these suggestions for free and affordable fun, we hope that you will take the time to enjoy all that the City of San Marcos Parks and Recreation Department has to offer. For more information about these programs and facilities, call 393-8400 or visit the city website at www.ci.san-marcos.tx.us

By LISA MORRIS
Recreation Manager – City of San Marcos

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