A hippo that shoots water out of its nose.
Oh yeah, summer swim season is here.
The Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center and most other public pools in Douglas County are set to open today.
Lawrence’s Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky., will open at 1 p.m. today but won’t quite have everything it had hoped for on opening day. Aquatic Manager Jimmy Gibbs said a new shipment of children’s water toys that were scheduled to arrive last week were delayed. Now, the new equipment is scheduled to be installed next week.
The new features will include a frog and hippopotamus that shoot water out of their noses when children rock the ridable toys back and forth. A couple of water cannons controlled by hand cranks also are on tap.
“They just didn’t arrive on the truck when we thought they would,” Gibbs said. “But there will be some new features for the little ones this year.”
One other item that hasn’t arrived on time: A slew of applicants seeking to be lifeguards.
Gibbs said the city has hired about 120 lifeguards but is seeking another 25 to 30 people.
“We’re very short on lifeguards,” Gibbs said. “The applications just aren’t coming in like they used to.”
Gibbs said he’s not sure why interest in the minimum-wage positions have slowed, although he said the problem is exacerbated by the fact that several of the pool’s longtime lifeguards recently graduated college and have moved on to other jobs.
The current crew of 120 will be enough to safely staff the city’s pools, but Gibbs said that if that number dwindles because of attrition, sick days or other factors, the city may have to make a decision about closing certain sections of the pool to ensure an adequate number of lifeguards are on duty at all times.
The city hires lifeguards as young as 16 years of age. People interested in the positions can apply on the city’s website at lawrenceks.org. The city provides the necessary training.
One item not expected to be in short supply today is heat. Forecasts call for high temperatures in the upper 90s.
“We’re definitely planning on it being a warm one,” said Della Mullen, an employee with Eudora Parks and Recreation.
Mullen said Eudora’s pool during the offseason added a new shade feature to help patrons combat the sweltering temperatures. The facility also added a special lift to help people with disabilities enter and exit the pool.
Here’s a look at basic information for prominent public pools in the area:
l Lawrence Outdoor Aquatic Center, 727 Ky. Hours: 1 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. daily; Rates: $3 for children ages 5 to 17; $4 for adults; $3 for adults 60 and older.
l Baldwin City Municipal Pool: Hours: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Rates: $2; ages 2 and younger are free.
l Eudora City Pool: Hours: 1 p.m. to 7 p.m., daily. Rates: $3 for children 3 and older; $3 for adults; $1.50 for adults 55-69; free for adults 70 and older.