INDIANAPOLIS — Most pools are closed for the season by now, but an east side indoor water park just reopened to provide activities and fun at the pool year-round.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday with Mayor Joe Hogsett made the reopening of Indy Island Aquatic Center official. But kids enjoying the new 101-foot long water slide with translucent sections made it fun again.
“It has huge slide that can race you down,” said 8-year-old Connor Van Meter. “The slide is very fun. When you go down, it's like you're going down a torpedo."
"People can scream a lot on it,” said Jayde Anderson, another Indy Island guest. “It's fun! The water, it makes you go fast. It's like you're running, but faster."
A coral reef with a waterfall and spraying octopus are new too, along with almost everything else at the Indy Parks and Recreation facility.
"The winter months are tough enough as it is,” said Hogsett. “Indy Island provides a place for healthy recreation, regardless of the weather."
Indy Island opened 25 years ago, so it was definitely time for a facelift. The facility was closed for more than a year for the renovations, which include bright LED lighting, new pumps, updated electrical service, a new ADA-accessible lift chair and resurfaced walls and floors.
"It was overdue,” said supervisor Bryce Sherrell. “This facility had been here for years. And just with aging infrastructure, like everything that we had here, the update was necessary."
Indy Island is attached to Raymond Park Intermediate and Middle School. That provides 600 seventh and eighth graders in Warren Township P.E. class at the pool once a week.
"We have kids that don't even want to get into the pool,” said Jill Simala, P.E. teacher at Raymond Park. “They're scared, so I feel like it's a great step if by the end of the school year they're comfortable getting in the pool. They're comfortable putting their face in the water. They know how to blow bubbles. They might just walk around the pool. Our kids all year, last year and this year, have been asking me, 'When do we swim? When do we swim?’"
"When I see kids in the water enjoying themselves and having fun, it brings joy to my day,” Sherrell said. “It just makes me unbelievably excited and happy. So to watch kids coming in and witnessing the new facility, it's exciting."
Indy Island offers swim lessons, kayak and scuba classes and water safety and fitness programs in addition to open swim times to ride the big slide.