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3 days ago, 03/26/2015 at 4:21pm

AquaGlideAquaGliding at the Beach Pool

With the warm weather returning, we decided to venture over to the Beach Pool this week to check out what’s new, and were we surprised! Along with their famous waterslide, fun and funky kiddie pool and lap pool for swimmers, the friendly folks in the Town’s Park and Recreation Department have added a new feature that is becoming very popular - the AquaGlide.

Part trampoline, part jungle gym and part slide, the AquaGlide is an inflatable obstacle course that runs the entire length of the big pool, taking up one of the swimming lanes. Officially called the ‘Aquaglide Adventure Series Challenge Track’, it was the brainchild of Aquatics Supervisor Paul Rapp, according to Pool Supervisor Louis Monaco - who is gradually taking over Rapp’s role at Beach Pool.

"We were in a meeting one day where we were brainstorming on ways to get more people to use the pool,” Monaco told us. "Paul said he’d seen one of these online, so we thought it would be great for everyone - especially for kids who won’t go down the big slide.”

Using funds from the Bay Oaks budget, the slide was ordered and installed, and Louis told us it has become quite the popular attraction.

"We only have one test for kids wanting to use it - that they be able to swim the length of the pool since we don’t allow life jackets on it because we don’t want it to get torn,” he said. "There are four flat mats, a trampoline, two climbing areas and a slide. It’s really sturdy - adults easily use it - so it’s popular with everybody.”

On the day we visited, the new addition was aswarm with both little kids from Bay Oaks’ after school program and college students on spring break, who raced each other across the obstacles and sunned themselves on the flat areas. Seeking to join the fun, I waited for a break in the action and gamely hurled myself across the first obstacle, much to the delight of everyone watching. Let’s just say that I hope there are no photos of myself floating around on the Internet of me face down in the middle of said obstacle with legs flailing in the air like an overturned beetle.

Monaco told us that the AquaGlide will be at the pool every day they are open until school lets out for the summer in early June, when the extra pool space it occupies will be needed by all the kids in the various summer programs. He also said there are more changes in store for the Beach Pool.

"Our offices just inside the entrance will become the space for the Bay Oaks Social Seniors (BOSS) program, so we will be moving into the former concession area, and the entrance to the pool will be changed to behind where our office is now,” he said. "We are also looking into repainting the flooring in the pool area to make it brighter, and we will be offering some concessions - ice cream, soda and candy - but, since we don’t serve food, we will continue to allow folks to bring their own food and coolers, just no glass and no alcohol.”

Beach Community Pool, 2600 Oak St. Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10am-6pm; Sunday Noon-6pm. Closed Tuesday and Thursday. Phone: 239-463-5759.

Keri Hendry Weeg