After a slight delay for some maintenance, the pH2O Water Park opened for the 2021 Season on Monday.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic may have presented some new protocols for that season, some of which will be carried over into this season.
“The governor had issued capacity control and we were limited to 50 percent last year,” City of Pampa Community Services Director Dustin Miller said. “This led us to breaking into sessions so people had a chance to get in and weren’t booked all day. This cleared time-slots for people to get in. Otherwise we would be full at noon and then full all day. It just seemed to work better and smoother. Smaller crowds was more manageable.”
As a result, the pH2O will stick to the two sessions: 12 to 3 p.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. (1 to 4 p.m., 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Sundays).
This will give the staff the opportunity to clean the park. The park will also try to implement some social distancing to keep guests from getting too crowded.
“We’ll probably try to go to 75 percent, I think that’s what most parks are trying to do,” Miller said. “Last year we were limited to 250 guests, so we’re going to shoot for 350 and see how that goes. It just works better. We’ve had customers tell us they like it better.”
The Center will still have concessions and it will look more like it did pre-pandemic.
“It was limited last year and we tried to do things prepackaged,” Miller said. “We didn’t have much food-handling just to ease customers’ fears. We’ll go back to pizza, nachos and all of the things we held off on last year.”
Prices at the pH2O will go back to regular pricing: Ages 0-3 free, 4-17 $6 and 18+ $7.
“It’s still not about making money,” Miller said. “But just like lumber and everything else, prices has gone up. Chlorine and everything is costing us more to operate.”
The Aquatic Center is offering season passes: $150 individual per season and family season pass (household of five) is $350. There are no reservations this year.
There will be some promotions coming up as it is the 10th year the Center has been open.
The impact the aquatic center makes on the city of Pampa and Gray County may never been seen on paper, but the businesses in Pampa feel it.
“Some people have tried to give formulas over the years to figure out the economic impact something like this has,” Miller said. “You’ll never know. People drive over from anywhere. They will get gas, something to eat on the way out, may stop at Walmart, Hobby Lobby, etc. We try to work with the hotels, as well, where we have a stay-and-play pass.”
For more information on pH2O, visit their website at www.cityofpampa.org under the individual page for the center or call 806-665-5730.