Location: 1000 Barton Springs Rd Austin, TX, 78704
Official Opening Date: August 2007
Located on the south shores of Lady Bird Lake, Butler Park is one of Austin’s first “green” parks. Designed by TBG Partners, the entire park is irrigated with non-potable water from the adjacent lake and landscaped with native plantings; all the maintenance equipment is fueled by alternative power sources to fossil fuels such as electricity.
Along with the impressive view of the downtown Austin skyline from the top of the observation hill, other major features of the park include a children’s garden, meadow, reflecting pond, as well as its most popular feature, the Liz Carpenter Fountain, a 6,100 square foot interactive fountain with nearly 100 programmable Choreoswitches™ by Crystal Fountains. The water jets can be choreographed to music with an accompanying light show, creating programmed morning, afternoon, and evening water shows. The Liz Carpenter fountain, which was named after Lady Bird Johnson’s noted writer and former press secretary, was what initially drew me to the park–unfortunately, the fountain was not running the day I visited.
Despite the disappointment of not being able to see the fountain in action, I still enjoyed the other elements of the park, particularly the historical aspects that ground the park into Austin culture and history. The park is named in honor of Michael Butler, the Irish immigrant who originally owned the parkland and ran a successful brick-making business in the late 1800s. In 1941, his heirs donated the land to the city for civic purposes. The fountain is named after Lady Bird Johnson’s writer and former press secretary, Liz Carpenter. The meadow after Willie Wells, a famed Austin shortstop, and the observation hill was named after Texas music legend Doug Sahm.