Abilene aquatic center expansion on minds of patrons, officials


ABILENE, Texas - After a grand opening on Thursday, the city of Abilene's new water park, Adventure Cove at Rose Park, is helping many of you get relief from a typical Texas June.

It's the city's answer to years of calls by residents for a water park, and Parks and Recreation Director of Community Services Lesli Andrews says the first few days indicate the park is turning out to be a success.

Swimmers agreed.

"The slides are great, especially the blue one," said 60-year-old Cecil Leetsch, adding that he made his way down the enclosed-tube slide at least six times Saturday.

The water park offers two slides -- the aforementioned enclosed one, and a partially-open slide -- splash pads, a pool, and a lazy river. That's in addition to a concession stand, bath house, and shaded rest areas.

Andrews said the Abilene City Council anticipated a demand for the park, so they decided to split the day into two sessions for the majority of the week. Tuesday through Saturday, Adventure Cove is open from 11 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. and then from 3:15 to 7 p.m. On Sunday and Monday, it's open from 1 to 7 p.m.

While you do have to pay for re-entry, most of the people we spoke to Saturday said they only planned on being there for one session.

But there's another reason for the split in the day. Andrews said it lets the lifeguards and staff take a break and rehydrate before the second session. It's also an effort to protect the city's investment after spending more than $6 million on the aquatic center.

"The heat is the biggest time we go through chemicals and things, letting the pool and system have a break is a good opportunity to keep things running longer," Andrews said.

Andrews said the city council will revisit the issue -- possibly in August -- to decide on combining the sessions and establishing all-day admission.

Another idea for the future is the possibility of expansion.

"When we built this, we did it with the idea of being able to expand," Andrews said. The plumbing infrastructure and site of the park was designed to allow for an expansion to the lazy river and the addition of more features.

That news made a splash with patrons, and they shared what they would like to see added.

"A wave pool or like a group swimming area where people could hang out and corral ," said Molly Wright.

"Maybe a few more slides, maybe some beach volleyball ," said Kendal Clonch.

"Something for lap swimming, something for stronger, muscular workouts," said Kathie Wright.

But until then, we'll see you at the lazy river.

Children aged two and under get in for free; kids under 48-inches tall pay $4; kids 48-inches and over pay $6; adults get in for $6.50. For rules and additional info, click HERE.