The multimillion- dollar Rogers Aquatic Center welcomed its first visitors just in time for Memorial Weekend on Saturday (May 25). Lines began forming just before the gates opened at 11 a.m.
There’s everything from a lazy river to a children’s area with speed slides, bowl slides, rock climbing and a competition pool.
“Rogers is very excited to be the one to provide this to the community,” said Suzy Turek, the center’s manager. “We’ve got a lot of people coming in and still coming in. The life guards are excited.”
Turek said there are 76 lifeguards on staff, but only about 20 daily.
People of all ages came on the first day to try the water park’s attractions.
‘It felt like it fell out of my stomach whenever I was going down,” said Bentonville’s Kristen Suggs, 13, who tried the speed slide. “It was really fun.”
Josh Gross, 17, said the bowl slide caught him off guard.
“I thought I was going to go out on my feet and at the last second you go upside down,” Gross said.
The new aquatic center cost about $12 million, which was paid for by the 2011 bond issue.
“I will have to admit that we have come by several times and peeked through the gates so it wasn’t a total surprise, but certainly it’s such a pleasure,” said Lauren Leving who brought her son, Evan ,to opening day.
They both live just a few blocks from the water park.
“It’s awesome,” Evan Leving, 10, said. “I’ve always wanted one right next to my house and now it’s here.”
Price depends on height and place of residence. Rogers residents who are at least 4 feet tall pay $12 and non-residents pay $15. The center did offer a half-price discount for a 10-punch passes.
“I was shocked at the pricing and pleased that they offered the pass to allow for a reduced price,” said Lauren Leving.
Jon Leving who came with his family said he doesn’t mind the price.
‘I think it’s reasonable and it`s worth it from what you are getting for the quality of the park,” said Jon Leving.
Turek said the center will bring tourism to the area.
“It’s going to be a regional attraction and it’s going to support the city and its infrastructure,” Turek said. “It’s going to be a wonderful thing.”
The center also offers summer swimming lessons.