Bradley Blanton, 7, braced as the 8-foot waterspout in the center of the park dumped gallons of water onto him and his friends.
Hours before, his mother, Sarah Hill, had decided to go to Victoria’s Lone Tree Creek Splash Pad after seeing an announcement it would be opening on Saturday, she said. The Victoria water parks had been closed since July 3 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had just seen it and thought nothing of it, but then he started trying to wash our car with a water gun, and I remembered,” the Victoria mother said with a grin as Bradley played at the park. “It was a spur of the moment thing, but we got his friend and came out here.”
Just out of the splash zone, Bonnie Kelly was setting one of the park’s benches for her daughter’s fifth birthday party. As the party for her fourth birthday was largely hampered by the pandemic, Kelly said she wanted to do something special.
“I was glad to see the parks were opening back up,” she said, remarking that the party would be was her first get-together since the pandemic began. “My daughter has not seen her friends in so long. I was still hesitant, but we are all vaccinated now, so I think it will be a good time.”
Hill and Kelly said pandemic shutdowns and changes at school have been challenging for their kids, but they are glad things are starting to get back to normal.
“Bradley was definitely getting a little stir-crazy,” Hill said. “It is a relief that fun kid stuff like this is starting to open back up.”
Victoria Parks and Recreation department officials said they will continue to monitor the presence of COVID-19 in Victoria and are implementing sanitation measures to ensure a safe reopening of the splash pads.
The splash pads will be sanitized every morning, and ultraviolet lights will be used to keep the water clean throughout the day, according to a city news release.
Families with young kids looking to beat the heat are invited to enjoy the new extended hours at the city’s splash pads.
The splash pads will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. through the end of October. To reserve a splash pad, visit www.victoriatx.gov/registration or contact Parks and Recreation at 361-485-3200.