As the temperature heats up, many Arkansans head to the pool to cool off, but the summer pool scene will look a little different this year. With state guidelines limiting capacity to 50 percent, pools across Central Arkansas are adapting their protocols, and some have chosen not to open at all.
Here is a brief guide on what to expect this summer:
City of Little Rock facilities: The city of Little Rock has not set a date for reopening splash pads or community centers, including the Jim Dailey Fitness and Aquatics Center and the Southwest Community Center swimming pool. The city is taking a cautious approach to reopening these facilities with Mayor Frank Scott Jr. telling the City Board of Directors last month that the city would be “guided by testing data and the healthcare experts” when making decisions on reopening the facilities.
Community pools: Some community pools have chosen to remain closed this season, including Marlowe Manor, Leawood and Cammack Village. Marlowe Manor and Leawood reached similar conclusions that the state’s requirement to limit capacity would have made it difficult to operate this year and would have required each pool to greatly increase membership rates. They each plan to reopen next year. The Cammack Village Pool announced on Facebook in April that it would not be opening this year due to the uncertainty about the virus.
Walnut Valley Pool (1205 N. Shackleford Road): One neighborhood pool that is open this year is the Walnut Valley Pool, which is accepting new members. Applications are available on Facebook and at the pool, which is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m Saturday and 1 p.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Memberships for nonresidents cost $135 per adult or $200 per family with prices increasing on July 15. Call 501-352-2602 for questions.
North Little Rock
North Heights (4801 Allen St.) and Sherman Park (624 Beech St.): Operated by the city of North Little Rock, these pools opened June 5 with a strict schedule to maintain cleanliness. The pools are open from noon-2:30 p.m. and from 3-5:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday with a 30-minute cleaning period between the two sessions. Patrons must line up at six-foot intervals, pass a COVID-screening and receive a wristband prior to entrance to the pool. Phone: 501-791-8538. Admission to North Heights is $2 per person per session, to Sherman Park is $1 per person per session.
Community Center Splash Pad at Glenview (4800 E. 19th St.): This city of North Little Rock facility opened on June 5. The splash pad is open from noon-1:30 p.m., 2-3:30 p.m. and 4-5 p.m. with a 30-minute cleaning period between each session. Phone: 501-791-8538. Admission is free.
Aquatic Park: Located near Holland Bottom Farm, the Cabot Aquatic Park (1245 Bill Foster Memorial Highway) opened on June 1 and is open from noon-6 p.m. daily. Operated by the city of Cabot, this water park includes a recreational pool, a dive and slide pool and a lazy river. The Aquatic Park is open to Cabot residents and nonresidents alike but will have a maximum capacity of 250 people due to COVID-19 restrictions. Phone: 501-605-1506. Admission is $10 for visitors more than 48-inches-tall, $9 for visitors less than 48-inches-tall. Prices drop to $5/person after 4 p.m. Discounts available for military and senior citizens.
Splash pads: The city of Conway operates two splash pads that are open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. daily. Located at Fifth Avenue Park (600 Fifth Ave.) and Laurel Park (2310 Robinson Ave.), the splash pads are limited to 10 children at a time for a period of 15 minutes. The Conway Parks Department says parents must attend with their children and must make sure their children maintain social distancing. Tape on the ground limits each activity within the splash pad to one child at a time, but the large water drop bucket will not be in operation due to the tendency of children to gather under the waterfall. Phone: 501-450-6186. Admission is free.
Magic Springs Theme and Water Park: Magic Springs opened on June 1 with the theme park at 30 percent capacity, the water park at 50 percent capacity and some activities within the park closed to guests. The park is encouraging face coverings throughout the facilities but is requiring them only in enclosed food locations. The park is reminding visitors to practice social distancing through signs and announcements and is providing hand sanitizing stations throughout the park. To allow for proper social distancing, the park has changed the configuration of some queues, so some lines may appear longer than normal. Phone: 501-624-0100. Admission varies.