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Zilker Park

The 140-hectare (347-acre) Zilker Park, donated to the city by the German immigrant who gave it its name, is Austin's most popular public recreational area, dominated by its ancient spring-fed natural swimming pool, known as Barton Springs, which Native Americans believed to have healing properties. The pool is about the size of a football field with water at a constant warm temperature all year round.

Zilker Park has other attractions, too, including a botanical garden which features dinosaur tracks, a nature preserve, the Umlauf Sculpture garden and museum, canoes for rent and eight miles (13km) of biking and walking trails; there are sports facilities aplenty and amusements for children like the Zilker Zephyr miniature train and paddleboat rides.

The Zilker Hillside Theatre hosts musical concerts throughout the year, and the park also plays host to the Austin Nature and Science Center where exhibits and workshops run throughout the year. The Zilker Park's annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is a popular event, boasting a tree that stands 155 feet (47m) tall and is made up of 39 streamers each holding 81 lights, making for a grand total of 3,309 lights.

Address: 2100 Barton Springs Road

Website: www.austintexas.gov/department/zilker-metropolitan-park