Wapak waterpark to feature new ocean theme

WAPAKONETA — The upgrades may be more cosmetic than functional, but Wapakoneta City Parks Manager Jack Hayzlett hopes that the new “Ocean Life” theme at the Wapakoneta Waterpark will help put the “sea” in “community” this summer.

Along with representatives from the parks department, Wapakoneta City Council and even a visit from Ohio Rep. Angie King, R-Celina, the waterpark, located at 106 Hamilton Road, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday to show off the new ocean-themed aesthetic at the community pool ahead of its opening day Sunday. For Hayzlett, it was time to give the facility a facelift.

“I’ve had this vision for a couple of years,” he said. “I like to go to the beach every year and I enjoy the beach. I’ve been doing this for 15 years, and to me, when I come in here every day, it was looking old. To some, it is not so old because they don’t see it every day, but I wanted to jazz it up in some way on a relatively small budget. The way to do that is decorating as opposed to new features.”

The new decorating includes a beach-themed floor decoration around the children’s entrance to the pool, ocean-themed inflatables, multi-colored deck chairs along the pool and cabana-style umbrellas to provide shade. Hayzlett was able to add these new decorations thanks to “about $50,000” in funding from the city, he said.

“We worked with the auditor and with the rest of council to make sure that there was money in the budget to really see this to fruition to freshen it up,” 2nd Ward Councilor Jessica Muhlenkamp said. “I would say he did a lot with a little, but we did put forth more dollars than we have in quite a few years.”

Along with the new look of the pool, Hayzlett is also hoping that the waterpark’s new entry fees will help the facility become an attraction that families will want to visit repeatedly during the summer and turn it into a gathering place for the community.

“When you think about [last year’s rate of] $8 for adults and $6 for kids, can a family come here more than once a week?” he said. “So now at $5 for adults and $2 for kids [age 2 to 17], we’re hoping they can come here multiple times during the week.”

Starting Sunday, the waterpark will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. daily. Additionally, extended family hours will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and adult swim times will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. Children under 2 years old will be admitted free of charge.