Interactive Aquatic Strategies

“You can do it to a smaller scale, but you can also plan in advance for it. If you want a themed water play structure in your pool, but can’t afford it right now, you can put all the underground plumbing and all the pipe penetrations in the filter room for that aquatic feature and then just put concrete over it. One day, when you can afford it, you bust through the pool deck and put it in, because you knew in advance you were going to put it there,” says Prince.

Also, Prince says the layout needs to be conducive to effective life guarding. The plan should be open enough that there are few blind spots.

At Plainfield’s new recreation center, the main lifeguard “bullpen” will sit near the back of the facility where the water park features are located.

Enclosed with convex glass, the bullpen — when coupled with lifeguards on the deck — will provide full coverage, front to back. Life guarding strategies have to adapt to the new environment created by aquatic play park elements.

“You need to think about it in three-dimensional, 360-degree terms. With the interactive water play toys there are a lot of hidden spots,” says John Powers, parks and recreation director at The Woodlands, Texas.

“We’re not using traditional lifeguard stands — we’re using portable stands and/or standing guards, shorter time durations on shift so the lifeguards can stay fresh and we’re increasing our staffing.”

The Woodlands typically lays out its interactive spray grounds with a zero-depth entry that gradually deepens to usually no more than 18″-24″.

This scenario tends to cut down on kids running full blast through the spray ground, as is easier to do in an area that’s totally zero-depth.

The Woodlands has also been developing its spray parks in steps, graduating to bigger and better with each new pool. Each builds on lessons learned from previous pools, plus the resulting response from the community.

The Woodlands’ next pool project, called Crane Brook, incorporates a zero-depth entry spray park and water slides, that transition to a teaching area and a small lap pool. Powers says that its citizens wanted a well-rounded aquatics area that also included more deck space and shade.

“We think our operations on pumping and filtration might be a little less than a regular pool — there’s not as much water and it turns over a lot faster,” says Powers.

“We’re also anticipating larger attendance and revenue. Our projection is that its attraction will drive more people to buy season passes to all of the pools, which will help increase the overall revenue to offset the expense this one is creating.”

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Related posts:

  1. Aquatic Playgrounds
  2. The Science Of Safety In Aquatic Play Features
  3. For Added Aquatic Security
  4. Aquatic Management Training
  5. The Scoop on Spraygrounds

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