Cool down as temps heat up
Published: Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
Some students can spend the end of the school year waiting for summer only to be greeted with endless heat and boredom. But Gainesville's three popular pools offer summer activities to keep people of all ages refreshed and entertained.
H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool
When: Noon-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: 1001 NW 31st Drive
Cost: $3.85, $2.45 children, seniors and lap swimmers
Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool
When: Noon-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: 1100 NE 14th St.
Cost: $3.30, $1.95 children, seniors and lap swimmers
Andrew R. Mickle Sr. Pool
When: Noon-5 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Where: 1717 SE 15th St.
Cost: $2.45, $1.35 children, seniors and lap swimmers
Pool parties, splash pads and a new aquatic climbing wall are only some of the activities featured at the Gainesville public pools this summer.
For those looking to avoid water park prices, Gainesville's pools provide an inexpensive alternative. The Andrew R. Mickle Sr. Pool recently added an aquatic climbing wall where swimmers can climb the wall and then fall back into the water. The Dwight H. Hunter (Northeast) Pool and H. Spurgeon Cherry (Westside) Pool each have water slides and splash pads for younger swimmers.
The Gainesville pools have set attendance records for the past five years, said Jeff Moffitt, city of Gainesville aquatics supervisor. In 2008, 55,000 patrons went to the pools and in 2012 attendance more than doubled to 112,000.
The spike in attendance could be a result of pool renovations, Moffitt says. “I think we're in for another record summer. We're operating the pools at capacity now and unless we increase our hours, I don't know how much we can keep going up every year.”
To keep patrons safe while staying cool, the American Red Cross plans swimming lessons at all three Gainesville pools throughout the summer. At the Westside Pool, the American Red Cross also plans a junior lifeguard camp. The program, planned for students from sixth to 12th grade, starts June 24.
Noah's Endeavor for Aquabilities has swimming lessons available for children with special needs. The first Aquabilities session runs from July 8-19 at the Westside Pool.
For those who want to cool down and stay in shape, water aerobics classes are available at the Westside Pool. And those looking to put their endurance to the test can participate in the fourth race of the 2013 Gainesville Biathlon Challenge. The 5K run and 800-meter swim is planned for the Westside Pool on July 13 starting at 8 a.m.
An Operation Respect Yourself pool party will follow at noon July 18 with free food and drinks. The free event is hosted in conjunction with the Gainesville Police Department.
Moffitt says the pool party is a way to keep kids having fun and out of harm's way. “We want them to experience positive activities,” he says.
Michelle Weydert, city of Gainesville aquatic leader, says she has noticed an increase in Gainesville camps using the pools.
“A lot more camps are taking notice of our pools and all of our activities,” she says. “We have a lot of neat things available to the public, and I think the public is finally starting to recognize this.”