By Loretta Tappan
With temperatures pushing into the 90s this week, your mind may be wandering back to the days of your youth and taking a dip at the local swimming hole. Or maybe you’d just like to be able to take your kids or grandkids to a nice, safe modern-day pool. Well, grab your picnic basket and stay cool in these Grant County locations this summer:
The Splash House, 2601 S Adams St, Marion, is a family-friendly water park that’s open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Regular hours are 11 am-6 pm, Monday-Saturday and 12-6 pm on Sunday. The cost is $8 for adults and $6 for children for residents of Marion; add $2 if you don’t live in the city.
The cost is up a bit over last year, but Carlos Rosales, director of the Splash House, says the hike was necessary to keep up with maintenance and says it compares favorably with a night at the movie theater or a going bowling.
Features of the Splash House include:
Lazy river ride
Kids play zone
Sand volleyball area
Visitors will notice a few changes in the Splash House this year. “We are restructuring our rules,” said Rosales, “We added the Snack Shack to kind of diffuse lines from getting so congested. We also just started building up our Surf Program and our Lazy River Program.”
Morning Lazy River Walk: Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:30 am, $2 per day. Must sign waiver.
Evening Lazy River Walk: Monday-Friday, 6-7 pm, $2 per day. Must sign waiver.
Surf Lessons: Monday-Friday, 6-7 pm, $50 for one week course. Registration required. Number of registrants determines if the class will be held on any given week.
Open Surf: Monday-Friday, 7-8 pm. Saturdays, 9:30-10:30 am and 6-7 pm. Must sign waiver. $7 to surf, $3 for board rental, $100 per month for surf season pass, with approximately 25 sessions each month. Wave pool is open for experienced surfers only.
The bowl slide is currently closed for maintenance, Rosales said: “We are hoping to get the bowl slide up and running by the first of July.”
Asked about his favorite part of running the Splash House, Rosales said: “My favorite thing here is all the jobs that I get to provide for kids. I remember myself, being young and looking for a job, we are told we need more job experience, this is a great way for kids anywhere from high school to college kids to gain that job experience. We start off the season with approximately 100 employees, and we end with somewhere around 70 as the school season picks up again or some kids go back to college early.”
The best way to connect with the Marion Splash House is through its Facebook page @SplashHouseMarionIndiana. For direct questions and more information, call 765-662-9931, option 4, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gas City pool
Another hot spot this summer is the Gas City Pool, located in the Gas City Park, 718 S Broadway, and open seasonally from 12-6 pm, Monday-Saturday and 1-6 pm, Sundays. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $2.50 for those under 18.
The pool has swim lessons available on Tuesdays ($2) and can be rented for private parties.
Asked a local resident, Heidi Turner Maine, for her thoughts on our local water parks, she replied: “I have been to both this year already. I will use the Gas City pool more than the Splash House because of price,” said Maine. “There are no differences between the pools from year to year. My opinion is if you want a small town, not-so-crowded pool Gas City is the place. With the Splash House you have tons of people in a tiny area, but the water park feel is what makes it a fun visit. I like that at both places you are able to leave the area to go have a picnic with the family and come back in.”
Another option to enjoy to enjoy Grant County’s natural water resource, the Mississinewa River, is the Indiana Wesleyan University canoe and kayak rental program.
“It’s not really new, but it is picking up steam,” said Tyler Huston, assistant director of experiential learning, “This will be my sixth year here at the university in this position, and we’ve had three or four kayaks all of those six years. But, within the last year and a half, we purchased six canoes and now we are up to nine kayaks as well, which allows us to serve 21 people on the river at a time.”
For people who aren’t familiar with the river, Huston said they are working on guide books that will include GPS coordinates of good points to enter and exit the river with the amount of distance from point to point. “We have 29 miles of the river from Grant County figured out,” said Huston. “The section of the river that we have pretty well mapped out is from the Matthews Covered Bridge, being the south-most point, to as far north as the Battle of 1812 site, which is a little over 29 miles.”
Their service includes a shuttle from the university to the entry point of the Mississinewa and a pick-up back to the university.
“If we get a request, we can figure out when they want dropped off and picked up,” said Huston. “We will provide the drop off and pick up in those 29 miles of the river. We only have a five-passenger vehicle so if it’s a big group, we will shuttle their drivers back and forth.”
Asked about his favorite part of this program, Huston said: “I feel, personally, the river is one of the best-kept secrets in Grant County. I don’t see a lot of people on it, but it is beautiful. It is a great escape. There are sections of it, too, where you can count three bald eagles within a period of a couple of hours. It makes for a really neat experience.”
To make a reservation, customers must complete a reservation form in the office, 4201 S Washington Street, Student Barnes Center. Huston recommends calling ahead at 765-674-6901 to set up a date and time with the number of people in your group.
The cost for rentals is $30 a day for a canoe and $20 a day for kayak, and includes life jackets, canoe or kayak, drop off, and pick up.