WAPAKONETA — If an effort to bring a bit of happiness to Wapakoneta during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wapakoneta WaterPark has invited people to let them borrow their inflatables — not to float on in the pool, but to display.
“My daughter, Megan, who is a teacher at Wapakoneta High School, and I started putting them up last Sunday evening (March 22), and then each night — not so much today because of the weather — but each day since we’ve added a few more to the total,” said Jack Hayzlett who manages the Wapakoneta WaterPark.
He got the idea from watching a television news report.
“A couple of weeks ago, I had seen something on the news about Christmas lights being put up out in Arizona. I kind of thought that was a neat idea that just gives somebody a smile. We originally thought we would do it in my front yard because I live right across from the waterpark and we said, why don’t we just do it at the waterpark because that way more people would see it?” Hayzlett said.
How big the display will be will depend on how many inflatables they can borrow. They’re looking for another 10 to 15 more.
“We started at the top of the waterpark slide and put the Santa Claus and the Christmas tree up there,” he said. “How many shows up is how many we will put up, and that way it becomes more of a community event.”
The inflatables don’t have to be Christmas related, either.
“On the Hamilton Road side we’ve got all Halloween blow-ups. On the Harrison Street side that goes through the park, that is all Christmas so we’ve separated them and in the middle is the tall slide that has Santa Claus at the top,” Hayzlett said.
If you did a double-take when driving or walking by the waterpark, you wouldn’t be alone.
“It just came to us that we should do something to give people a smile in March since everybody’s home, everybody’s going to be walking through the parks, and give them something to look at. Kids can’t play on the playground but they can certainly look at the blow-ups,” Hayzlett said.
The Wapakoneta WaterPark is located at 106 Hamilton Road, Wapakoneta.
The waterpark is scheduled to open May 25, with pool prep usually starting about a month prior.
“But who knows right now with the virus situation and everything closed and social distancing. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, but we’ll keep them up as long as people enjoy walking by it and looking at it and it isn’t in the way of getting the waterpark ready to open,” Hayzlett said.
If you would like to donate an inflatable for this display, send a message on the Wapakoneta WaterPark Facebook page or call Hayzlett at 419-230-4597.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.