With five of Wichita's six splash pads already running for the season, there's been some limited chances for water play – but get ready to dive in on Monday, which is opening day for the city's eight public pools.
The splash park at Riverside Central Park opens Monday, too.
And if you were planning to rent a public pool for a weekend pool party, you better do that fast.
“It's very popular, and some locations have already booked for the summer,” said Brian Hill, director of aquatics for the city of Wichita Park and Recreation. The city offers two-hour pool rentals for up to 50 swimmers and non-swimmers.
The city provides three admission options to its pools, including season swimming passes for a family of four ($150) or an individual ($50), or coupon books for 50 admissions ($60) or 25 admissions ($40). The coupons can be used by either an adult or child. The passes and coupon books can be bought at any city pool or O.J. Watson Park. The daily cash-only rate is $2 for youth ages 17 and younger, $3 for adults or $8 for a family of six with at least one adult.
One day a season at each pool, swimming is free. The first free swim day is June 3 at Harvest, followed by College Hill, June 10; Orchard, June 16; Boston, June 25; Evergreen, July 7; Minisa, July 15; Linwood, July 21; and Aley, Aug. 5.
New aquatics programming this season are three-hour scuba diving workshops, a scuba certification class and junior lifeguard classes, Hill said.
Students in the Discover Scuba workshops, for ages 13 and older, will learn how to use scuba equipment and get familiar with the activity.
For kids ages 8-12, the Bubble Makers classes will introduce kids to scuba using the shallow end of a pool. Cost is $40 per workshop with various times and locations available. The more intensive scuba certification costs $410 and is for ages 10 and up, with final testing happening at Beaver Lake, Ark.
The junior lifeguard class for ages 11-14 is meant to help bridge the gap between swim lessons and learning to be a lifeguard, Hill said. Participants have to pass a pre-course skills test June 5 to take the class.
Last year, the city reduced the cost of youth swim lessons for ages 3-5 from $35 to $30, which resulted in higher numbers of kids taking lessons. Based on the better numbers, the city is offering lessons at the same $30 rate this year, Hill said.
“We were filling more of our classes, which is our overall goal: to help more kids learn how to swim,” Hill said.
Online registration for youth swim lessons closes Friday, May 25. Starting Monday, class registration can be done in-person at the College Hill, Harvest, Linwood or Orchard pools that offer swim lessons for youth.
Adult swim lessons, along with aerobics classes are also offered through Park and Rec.
Six of the city's pools will close Aug. 5, while the last days for College Hill and Harvest pools are Aug. 12 – well, for the humans. On Aug. 20, College Hill will hold its annual Dog Days of Summer swim.
The length of the season is determined by the city's $400,000 operating budget for the pools, Hill said.
For more information on pool times, rentals and classes, or to register for classes, go online to wichita.gov/parkandrec.
Wichita's six splash pads can be found in the following parks:
Buffalo, 10210 Hardtner
Fairmount, 1647 N. Yale
Lincoln, 1323 S. Topeka
Osage , 2121 W. 31st St. S.
Riverside Central, 720 Nims
Old Town Plaza. 301 N. Mead
The water playgrounds in the parks from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. while the Old Town one is on from 10 a.m. to midnight through approximately October.
Rock River Rapids, the waterpark at 1950 E. James St. in Derby features a slide, lazy river, a zero-entry pool and a lap pool. It opens for the season Monday.
Hours are 12:30 to 7 p.m. daily, with 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays set aside for children 5 and younger. Admission is $9 for adults ages 18-59 and $8 for everyone else. Tots 2 and younger are admitted free. After 5 p.m. admission drops to $5. Check the website, rockriverrapids.com for special events.
The YMCA's four outdoor waterparks open Saturday. They are open from 1-7 p.m. daily. The waterparks are free for members. For non members and guests a day pass is $10 per person or $18 per family. For more information go to www.ymcawichita.org