Spring Lake is the headwaters (spring source) of the San Marcos River. Historically, the lake and surrounding shoreline were known as Aquarena Springs, a well-known tourist attraction, amusement park, and "resort" within the state for decades. The university purchased the lake and some surrounding property in 1994. Since then the old amusement park has disappeared and now the lake serves as an excellent location for research in aquatic biology. The City of San Marcos owns a more extensive area, known as the Spring Lake Preserve or Natural Area, near the northwest shore of the lake. For more information on Spring Lake, visit the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.