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New pool's slides not for all kids

Posted: May 19, 2011 - 7:46pm  |  Updated: May 20, 2011 - 11:23am

I just received my early-bird invitation for the new pool opening in the valley, or what has been named the Dimond Park Aquatic Center. Wow — can you imagine the excitement of my 5-year-old daughter? Finally, after months of going to the Augustus Brown Pool (ABP) and looking at the billboard full of photos of the new pool slides with my daughter and other children aged 4 to 9, each with equal excitement talking about which slide they’re going to go down first and how they want the big buckets of water to pour on them, it’s going to open!

While the parents make small talk about how this will make our long cold winters a little more entertaining or how crowded it will be, there is one topic that never came up; not with the children, not with the parents, and not with anybody at ABP or the city office where I purchased a family annual season pass, and that is that you must be at least 48 inches tall to go on the slides.

What? Wait a minute. 48 inches tall — don’t you mean 42 inches? At H2Oasis, in Anchorage, the biggest and best slides are the “red diamonds”. As you can read on their website, the red diamonds are “High thrill or deep water attraction. Can be stressful to those who fear heights, high speed, or enclosed places. Do not use if you have any health limitations. Requires great rider control, swimming skills, and/or physical condition. Height requirements apply.”

There are two “red diamond” slides at H2Oasis. To ride the Master Blaster, you must be at least 42 inches tall and to ride the Body Slide you must be at least 36 inches tall. Wow. Even at Wet’n’Wild Hawaii!, in Honolulu, my 5-year-old, 44-inch-tall daughter could ride at least half of the slides! The average age of a person at least 48 inches is 9-10 year old. Well then, isn’t there a swim test? Absolutely not. What? But my daughter goes off the high dive at the ABP with no problem. Sorry.

After talking to the manager, a gentleman who moved here from Washington, D.C. in February, I found out it’s the company that we (as residents of Juenau) purchased the slides from, and there is no swimming test and it is required that you are 48 inches tall, not 42 inches tall, and of course there is nothing anyone can do about it.

That’s it, folks. It makes no sense to me that when purchasing slides “CBJ” didn’t purchase slides for all ages, or at least one for people at least 38 or 42 inches tall, like other aquatic centers and pools. I saw online that they have a toddler slide and then the “48 inch” slides. Where are the slides for kids between 4 and 10 years old? These are the same children who swim in glacier water, ski and snowboard, we teach them bear safety (for playing outside), gun safety, and boat safety, just to name a few things, and this is before they are 48 inches tall. Seems kind of illogical, doesn’t it? For crying out loud — lets dig a big hole, fill it with water, have a contest open to all heights for the logo where the winner gets a season pass, throw some cool slides in there, and not let pretty much all kids aged 4 to 10 year olds play on the “cool” slides.

From the Dimond Park Aquatic Center FAQ, on the website at http://www.juneau.org/parkrec/pdfs/20110322033935.pdf:

“Q: What does Dimond offer?

A: Dimond is called an Aquatic Center because in addition to a 8-lane lap pool, its recreation pool contains fun interactive “pool toys” such as flume slide, drop slide, bubble bench, tumble buckets, and interactive water sprays. Dimond is built for all abilities with a zero-entry feature in the recreation pool and a resistance channel for therapeutic swimming. A hot tub designed to hold up to ten people will open later this year. There is plenty of free parking, wi-fi, event rooms for parties, and family changing rooms. Like Augustus Brown Pool (AGB), Dimond has exercise equipment and a dry sauna.”

• Vercessi is a Juneau resident.

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