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Splash pads in Concord and Kannapolis offer children a fun way to cool off

Sarah Swarentruber, 10, foreground, walks around the perimeter as Amanda Hagler, a nanny, lifts Everly Lovitach, 19 months, into one of the water streams on the splash pad at Rotary Square and Market in Concord.
Sarah Swarentruber, 10, foreground, walks around the perimeter as Amanda Hagler, a nanny, lifts Everly Lovitach, 19 months, into one of the water streams on the splash pad at Rotary Square and Market in Concord. MARTY PRICE

The newest addition to downtown Concord, Rotary Square and Market, has a feature that may surprise unsuspecting visitors. In the middle of the open area is a sundial etched into the sidewalk with instructions posted nearby on how to read time.

As you face the dial, behind you is a green post. If someone places their hand on the post it turns on a multi-stream splash pad that serves as a fun way to cool off.

On a recent Tuesday, Marie Alexander was watching her daughter Isabella Alexander, 4, as she played in the water with about a half-dozen children. Alexander said she appreciates that the park is within walking distance.

Noting that there is no charge for the park, Alexander said, “This is great when you don’t have time or money for the pool, and they love it. They had their choice between this and the park; and they chose splash pad,” she said.

Mayor Scott Padgett is a big fan of the new park.

“It brings so much to downtown. When I drive by, it tickles me to see the kids having so much fun. I see all types of people, from all ages, enjoying the park,” he said.

Started by the Concord Rotary Club, “this was the ultimate cooperative project,” Padgett said. “So many entities working together, and it took every one of them to make this a reality.”

If you are looking for a splash pad with a few more features, head to Village Park in Kannapolis. The splash pad there has been in operation for several years and includes water cannons and drop buckets with other squirting stations throughout the area.

Concord resident Katie Atty brought her two sons, Parker, 3, and Cooper, 22 months, to the Village Park splash pad for the first time on June 9. The boys were having fun squirting each other with the water cannons and running through the spraying water.

At one point, Cooper lay on his side, looking up at all the water spraying above him with a huge grin on his face. Getting up after his brother walked past, he grabbed one of the water cannons and sprayed Parker in the face.

Parker enjoyed it so much that he stayed in place, letting his brother spray him time and time again as they both laughed.

Atty smiled at her boys and said, “It is only a 20-minute drive and $1 per person. It is well worth it. I am thinking we might do this once a week since they are enjoying it so much.”

Marty Price is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Marty? Email him at martyprice53@gmail.com.

Want to go?

The Rotary Square and Market splash pad is free. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays from March 15 to Oct. 31, provided there are no water restrictions in place. For information on Rotary Square and Market, go to www.rotarysquare.com/#!events/chc6 or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RotarySquareandMarket

The Village Park splash pad costs $1 per person, and the hours vary by season. The summer season hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday. For other seasonal hours, call 704-920-4339. For information on the Village Park splash pad, go to www.kannapolisnc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Splash_Pad.pdf

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