Don't look now, but it's time to jump into summer at Kalamazoo parks

Hey, is the pool open for the summer?
With the Memorial Day Weekend as the traditional kickoff of the summer season and the hope that Kalamazoo weather will stay warm, residents of the city’s core neighborhoods – those without their own swimming pools – will be looking for opportunities to cool off. 
The City of Kalamazoo has some answers for that, and it’s looking to kick off the summer season with a party.
Kik Pool, the city’s large public swimming facility, is set to open for the season – from June 8 through Aug. 14 -- at 1018 Walter St., adjacent to Upjohn Park. And Kzoo Parks, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, and Kalamazoo Public Schools have scheduled a Summer Kickoff event for 3 p.m. on Friday, June 10, at Upjohn Park, 1000 Walter St.
“We’re excited to offer some new programs and opportunities for youth this year, and what better way to start the summer than with a free party for the whole community,” says Kya Mitchell, Special Events Coordinator for Kzoo Parks, in a prepared statement.
The kickoff will feature carnival rides and games, including a dunk tank, an inflatable basketball bungee attraction, a zip line, a rock wall, a Dixie Twister, kickball, and a slip-n-slide.
Day passes and seasonal passes will be available for purchase at Kik Pool and at the Kzoo Parks office starting on June 8, 2022.Food and retail vendors will set up throughout the park to sell food and other items. They are to include Teresa’s Kitchen, Scott’s Pig Roast, On the Roll, Harris Wholesome Juice Bar, Specialty Cheesecake, and Kalamazoo Rocket Fizz. Water, pop, and apple juice are to be provided until supplies run out.
The Great Lakes Center for Autism Treatment and Research, and the Open Roads Bike Program are among local organizations expected to set up tables and provide information. Open Roads looks to engage and empower young people by teaching them bicycle repair and practical life skills.
The Summer Kickoff will end with the first of Kzoo Parks’ six-movie Summer Cinema series. It will be a free showing of “Shark Tale” at Upjohn Park starting at 7 p.m. It will be followed on June 24 by a showing of “Raya and The Last Dragon” outside the Oakwood Neighborhood Association office at 3320 Laird Ave.
As part of the Summer Kickoff, a free disc golf clinic is to take place at 6 p.m., just before the June 10 movie. Members of the Professional Disc Golf Association will teach participants the basic skills of disc golf. Portable baskets and discs will be available for participants to use.
At Kik Pool, day passes may be purchased at the pool starting June 8 and will be sold at the Kzoo Parks office, 251 Mills St. They will be available for $7 for those 18 or older and $4 for those ages 2 to 17. There will be no charge for youngsters less than 2 years of age. Season pool passes cost $75 for individual Kalamazoo city residents and $120 for non-residents. A season pass for a family (up to six family members per address) is $100 for Kalamazoo residents and $140 for non-residents.
A new splash pad in LaCrone Park is expected to be finished and opened this summer. An artist’s rendering is shown here. 
Other water recreation options, according to information provided by the city, include:
• The Florence Street Splash Pad, at 534 Florence St. It will be open from Monday, June 13, through Monday, Sept. 12, with water features available daily between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.
• Woods Lake Beach, at 2900 Oakland Dr. It will be open daily during the summer from 8 a.m. to sunset.
• A new LaCrone Park Splash Pad at 535 W. Paterson St. It is under construction but expected to be finished and open this summer.
Of the Summer Kickoff, Mitchell invited families and individuals to join the fun. “Connect with friends and neighbors,” she said. “Try something new and learn about all the fun things that are in store.”


Read more articles by Al Jones.

Al Jones is a freelance writer who has worked for many years as a reporter, editor, and columnist. He is the Project Editor for On the Ground Kalamazoo.