Riverside Discovery Center’s splash pad reopened Monday, providing a popular summer attraction for kids of all ages.

Riverside Discovery Center Director Anthony Mason said the reopening of the splash pad proved to be “tricky and down to the wire,” as he worked alongside Panhandle Public Health Department to create health safety guidelines in order to reopen on June 1.

“We basically had to work with them to come up with what our capacity could be within their guidelines. ... It wasn't the splash pad itself but also the seating areas around it that had to be looked at,” he said.

A 20-person capacity has been put in place in the splash pad area, and seating areas have been spaced 6 feet apart.

Mason said the water is fresh water, which can make guests feel more secure and safe about health concerns.

“It is a continuous flow of water, the water is not recirculated. It actually goes out into our pond, just so people feel a little more secure and safe about it. The water comes out of the (water features) and goes down the drain and it is gone.”

Mason said he and employees are continuing to ask the public to be aware of social distancing.

“This is like a playground or anything else where people have a certain responsibility to regulate themselves and follow the guidelines that everyone is trying to stick to right now,” Mason said. “We are asking people to do their best to make sure their kids are still distancing. A lot of the kids come in groups, so they can still play with their group, but I suggest reducing crossing over with other groups and doing their best with distancing like that.”

Mason said he doesn’t expect to have many issues with guests following guidelines, but they will continue to have employees periodically monitor the area throughout the day.

“Generally speaking, our guests are very respectful and polite. A lot of the people who come out here have been coming for a very long time. Some people are new but I think we have got a great group of people that come here,” Mason said.

The Riverside Discovery Center has new extended hours for the summer months.

Riverside Discovery Center new hours are Sunday-Thursday 9:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

With new extended hours, Mason said hopes to provide guests with a few more hours in the day to enjoys the zoo’s features, such as the splash pad.

elise.balin@starherald.com

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