A summer tradition is nearly upon Ottawa: swimming at the Forest Park pool, 310 N. Locust St., Ottawa.
The Ottawa Recreation Commission, which runs the public pool, has been busy getting set for opening day May 25. The pool will remain open until Aug. 5. The ORC is planning new activities and longer hours on certain days this summer.
The pool hours are 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and noon to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Memorial Day and Independence Day hours are noon to 6 p.m.
New this year are four Tropical Tuesdays where there will be themed evening swims. The hours for those Tropical Tuesdays are 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. The dates for Tropical Tuesdays are June 5, June 19, July 10 and July 24. Regular public swim admission will be charged on Tropical Tuesdays.
Brandon Stortz, ORC recreation manager, said the Tropical Tuesdays were put in place to meet demand. He said at one time there were evening swims at the pool, but were poorly attended.
“What we are trying to do is open it up four nights to public swim,” he said. “The hope is it will be well attended. It will be a special type thing where folks can come in and swim with their families. We will theme it in a tropical type of way. We will make it a fun atmosphere. We want it to be something folks can look forward to instead of another day at the pool.”
There also will be a fitness swimming class on Wednesday nights, Stortz said.
Each Friday will have a special theme as the pool celebrates Friday Fun Day. The themes include: Pirates Day, Royals Day, Christmas in July, Olympic Day, Star Wars Day, Western Day, Minions Day, Shark Day and Superhero Day. To go along with the theme days, there will be special music, decorations and costumes.
Stortz said many of these days were popular last year. He said two of most popular ones were Pirates Day and Christmas in July when Santa Claus made a visit.
Lap swimming will add an evening session this summer. The sessions are noon to 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., except on Tropical Tuesdays or Memorial Day and Independence Day.
Stortz said the public asked for another time to lap swim, so the ORC added the night time slot.
“The plan is to have the deep end roped off and that is where people can do their lap swim,” Stortz said.
Swim pass cards can be purchased at the Goppert Building, 705 W. 15th St. Ottawa. There is no expiration date on the cards and they are not limited to individual or family use. They can be used by anyone within a group in the same age category.
Reservations for pool party rentals will be accepted by calling (785) 242-1939 or visiting the Goppert Building. Rental times are 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.