With the temperature rising this week, we’re looking for places to cool down

With the temperatures reaching the 90’s this week, it’s time to showcase where you can go to cool off and have some fun.

In Midland County, Sanford Lake Park offers the Splash Pad, built in 2007. It has 14 water features. The parks and recreation manager for Midland County, Patrick Clark, says, “Since the dams broke and the lake left, we’ve dropped the charge for parking.”

The Splash Pad at Sanford Lake Park has 14 water features.
The park is open from 9am-8pm, seven days a week. It's located at 415 W. Irish Street in Sanford. The pad is shut down if there’s severe weather. There’s no longer a concession stand but there is a vending alcove with a variety of vending machines. Park visitors can bring in their own food and beverages, including beer and wine, but no hard liquor. The park also provides fully functioning modern bathrooms as well as changing rooms. 

As to the splash pad’s future, Clark says, “We’re currently looking into upgrading it. We’re in the very beginning stages of that process.”  Current projections from the Four Lakes Task Force, which is responsible for the restoration of the dam and the lake, indicate the lake will return in 2025.

City of Midland Spray Parks 

In the city of Midland, there are four free offerings: the Gerstacker Spray Park in downtown Midland, Longview Spray Park in the southeast corner of town, Thrune Park in Midland’s historic neighborhood, and Kiwassee Lake in Stratford Woods Park on Midland’s east side.
The spray parks are favorites of young children.
The spray parks are favorites of young children. Gerstacker is located at 100 Ashman near the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, Tridge, and the Farmers Market structure. There’s ample parking below the Midland County Courthouse and the H Hotel.  Marcie Post, the assistant director of public services for the City of Midland says, “It’s a nice location being downtown. It’s accessible to people out along M-20 and all of Midland.”

Gerstacker opened June 1st and will remain open until October 1st, seven days a week. Water features are motion activated, dawn until dusk. This spray park is now 20 years old. It opened in 2002. There’s a portable toilet nearby. At the Farmers Market, there are bathrooms available for use. 

The Longview Spray Park is located at 401 Lemke, next to the Midland County ESA Early Childhood Center. It’s near the intersection of Bay City and Waldo Roads. Regarding the water features, Post says, “It’s pretty similar to Gerstacker in terms of what it has to offer.” There are portable toilets on site. 

Longview Spray Park is located in southeast Midland.
The third park with a free water feature is located in Midland’s historic neighborhood. It’s Thrune Park. It has a water feature for the youngest kids. It’s located at 201 Revere Street, between Main and Eastman. It has an interactive learning playing area. The park is fenced and gated.

Kiwassee Lake

The fourth free venue in the city is Kiwassee Lake inside Stratford Woods Park. It’s open for all ages. Kiwassee is a small, man-made lake with a beach. There are no lifeguards. There are restrooms near the lake. There’s also a walking trail around the lake, a picnic shelter, and volleyball courts, among other features.  The park, located at 3922 E. Ashman, is open from dawn until dusk. Post reminds us, “These are free places to cool off.” 

Plymouth Pool

The city’s fifth option to cool down is the Plymouth Park Pool, located at 1508 E. Wheeler Road in northeast Midland. There are fees to use the pool. It opened Memorial Day weekend and will stay open seven days a week until the Midland Public Schools first day of school on August 22nd. After that, the pool will be open only on weekends through Labor Day.

The pool features a zero entry depth. It includes an accessible pool lift, water slide, and special spray features.

The fees are:
$5 for youth, ages 3-17.
$5 for seniors, 60 and over.
$6 for adults, 18 and up.
Free, for children under the age of 3.

Plymouth Pool is located in the northeast corner of Midland.
It’s possible to save money by purchasing season memberships and limited memberships. Post says, “Our rates are so affordable for families. If they want to leave during the day, they can come back (that same day). They can bring food in, just no glass.”  Alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Plymouth has showers and locker rooms.

While pools in other communities have found it difficult to be open because of a shortage of lifeguards, that’s not the case for Plymouth. Post says, “We’re great with lifeguards.” She attributes that to their relationship with the Midland Dolphins and the high schools’ swim teams. The Dolphins develop swimmers for the swim teams at  Midland and H.H. Dow High Schools, both girls and boys. Post says, “We have a great community partnership with the swim coaches in the high schools.” It's created a great pool of older teens who've become lifeguards.

Open Swim is held every day from 1-8:30pm. Lap swim times are from 6:15-7:15am and 11:45am-12:45pm.  Plymouth Pool is trying something new in July, in response to requests. There will be a new adult swim on Saturdays from 9:30am-11:30am. 

Teen Nights will also start in July. Wednesdays: July 13, 20, and 27 from 8:30-10pm. Those sessions are free. The Rock Center for Youth Development will sell concessions.  

The season will conclude with a dog swim, Pooches at the Pool, on Saturday, September 10th. 


Read more articles by Ron Beacom.

Ron Beacom has served as the managing editor of Catalyst Midland since October 2020. He's also a freelance writer for the Midland Daily News and the producer/host of "Second Act: Life at 50 Plus" for WDCQ-Delta College Public Media (PBS). He's the co-producer of two WDCQ documentaries about the Tittabawassee River Disaster in 2020, "Breached! and Breached!2-The Recovery."