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Austin pools are free and open longer this summer. Why isn't Barton Springs included?

Children swim in the shallow section of Deep Eddy Pool on a sunny day while people lap swim in the background.
Karina Lujan
Looking for ways to escape the heat in Austin? The city is offering free admission at public pools through Oct. 1.

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Austin city pools were originally set to close this Sunday. It’s a sign that summer is nearly over — or at least summer vacation (it’s still hot, y’all) — and school is about to begin.

But with the record-breaking heat, the city was poised to get creative about how to keep residents cool, and at an affordable price.

The answer: Keep some pools open and make them free.

While most of the city's 45 aquatic facilities will close this weekend, 11 pools will remain open after Sunday. Entrance fees are waived at all city pools Aug. 9 through Oct. 1 with the exception of Barton Springs Pool, the popular spring-fed pool that sits in Zilker Park.

Here's a list of city pools where you can take a dip through Oct. 1 as the heat rages on. The pools below are open from noon to 7 p.m. on weekends. Parks and Recreation officials say all city pools, with the exception of Deep Eddy and Barton Springs, will close at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 13, so lifeguards who are students can rest up for the start of the school year.

The city also operates five year-round pools. Check the websites below for their daily hours. Splash pads will also be extended through Oct. 31.

Why isn't Barton Springs Pool included?

Ashley Wells, aquatics program manager for Austin's Parks and Recreation, said this is a much needed service the city is able to provide right now.

“We are experiencing unprecedented heat and the department is able to provide increased access to water and reprieve from the heat, so we are honored that we can help in this small way,” Wells said.

A man jumps heads first, sideways into Barton Springs Pool as people swim nearby.
Amaya Austin
There are free hours at Barton Springs Pool. You'll just have to get there early to take advantage of them.

Fees will be waived for each of the pools, except Barton Springs.

Council Member Alison Alter has helped spearhead the free pools plan. She said several community members mentioned the challenges they face finding relief from the heat, and pool fees can be costly, especially for large families.

“If I had it my way I'd make our pools free all the time, but right now we just desperately have to provide this relief,” Alter said.

While she said providing free entrance to Barton Springs would be great, the decision not to include it in the list is for crowd control. Barton Springs is a popular pool, and the city has to be careful about capacity.

“Part of the reason we have fees in the first place is to have some crowd control,” Alter said. “We do have to be mindful that our lifeguards can only handle so much."

She said that it is possible that other pools will also face capacity issues but the goal is to focus on heat relief for families.

You can swim for free at your own risk — when no lifeguards are on duty — in Barton Springs Pool daily from 5 to 8 a.m. (and until 9 a.m. on Thursdays).

For more information about pools and splash pads including hours of operation, visit

Luz Moreno-Lozano is the Austin City Hall reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on X @LuzMorenoLozano.
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