Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

NEIGHBORS >> Summer has begun

Leader staff writer

IN SHORT: The Splash Zone started off the summer season at full capacity on Saturday.

Just when you thought it was safe to go into the water, it is thanks to Splash Zone, Jacksonville’s outdoor pool complex.

Children laughing, adults sunning, lifeguards watching, toddlers dogpaddling, teens water-sliding under sunny skies at the Splash Zone.

At the ever-popular diving board swimmers perform an amazing array of dives. A few half-gainers, numerous belly-busters and several fabulous flips signaled both fun and fitness at the diving board.

Saturday kicked off Splash Zone’s second regular season. The three pool water-theme park is located on Martin Street just off First.

Before 2 p.m. on Saturday, Splash Zone reached its capacity of 353 people but a line of hopefuls formed outside the gate.
Diane Novotny, aquatics director for Jacksonville Parks and Recreation, had to shut the gates to admissions for awhile. With a birthday party for 50 people and regular admissions, the pool reached its capacity at 1:42 p.m., according to Novotny.

Through word of mouth, Kim Webster of Ward heard about Splash Zone and she brought her children here.

“I really like it and it’s a reasonable price,” Webster told The Leader.

Admission is $4 per person plus an additional $1 to use the slide all day long. Swimmers must be 48 inches tall to use the slide.

Children under 2 years old get in free.

Another out-of-towner, Bonnie Jones of Cabot, brought four children to visit the pool.

“This is the first summer I’ve brought them up here, and they’re having a ball,” she said.

Shirl Holmes, a Jacksonville resident of 20 years, lounged in a poolside chair and watched her two daughters take to the water like a couple of ducks. “It’s family-oriented and someplace to enjoy the day,” she said.

Meanwhile, Beth Sheppard, serving her first year as pool manager, says she is definitely pleased with the large turnouts the facility has already generated when it opened for a limited time over the Memorial Day holiday. On May 27, 422 came through the gates.

“That beat last year’s opening,” Sheppard said.