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Haggas: Ready to dive into summer?

What’s the recipe for optimum summer fun? Just add water!

With the opening days for Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Swanson Pool just around the corner (Saturday and May 31, respectively), the St. Charles Park District is unveiling some hot new pricing options that won’t have you diving deep into your wallet to make some waves this summer.

Perhaps it’s only fitting that the littlest swimmers can take advantage of a really big deal. For the first time this year, children younger than 3 will be admitted to both aquatic facilities free of charge. Ideal for families with toddlers too young to use more advanced amenities, the new “under 3 is free” pricing lets youngsters dip their toes in the splash park to their hearts’ content.

Another new feature available for the first time this year is the half-season pass. Valid from July 12 through the end of the season on Sept. 1, this pricing option should appeal to those guests who wait to take the plunge until later in the season when the weather gets really, really hot or for those whose end-of-school-year travel plans keep them away from the pool in the early days of summer.

Half-season passes are available for individuals as well as two-, three-, and four-person household units. And for those who aren’t certain about making any kind of season pass commitment, the cost-effective, 10-visit pass is a great way for infrequent users to test the waters.

Adjacent communities can also get in the swim of things with the favorable prices offered through the St. Charles Park District’s “Neighbor Rates” program. Available to residents of Campton Hills, LaFox, Wasco, West Chicago, Geneva, South Elgin, Wayne, Elburn, Batavia, Elgin and Maple Park, the “Neighbor Rate” is offered for both full- and half-season passes.

And to be sure the summer season goes off swimmingly, new child safety restrictions are also in place this year at both aquatic facilities, said Steve Muenz, assistant superintendent of recreation.

Last year, in keeping with manufacturer’s code specifications, the park district instituted a 48-inch minimum height requirement for children to access aquatic amenities such as the drop and tube slides. This year, that requirement has changed.

“There were a lot of kids, whether they were 5 or 6 years old, who didn’t hit that 48-inch mark,” Muenz said. “So, we went back to the slide manufacturers and asked if there couldn’t be some wiggle room.”

The solution was to drop the height requirement to between 42 inches and 48 inches, so long as the child was wearing a Coast Guard-certified life vest, which the park district provides free. The vests are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Parents are encouraged to provide their own vests, so long as they are Coast Guard-certified. 

“That actually works out better, because the child will have already been properly fitted for the vest and Mom and Dad know how to correctly put it on their child,” Muenz said.

For information about the hours of operation, admission rates, pool amenities and special programs at Otter Cove Aquatic Park and Swanson Pool, contact the St. Charles Park District at 630-513-4337.

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