A splashing success: Splash pad opens at Memorial Park in Brainerd
A grand opening event celebrated the new splash pad Thursday, May 26.
BRAINERD — Squeals of joy rang through Memorial Park as mists of water sprinkled through the air Thursday, May 26.
Despite initially cloudy skies and temperatures that didn’t rise past the mid-60s, excited kids had no problem getting soaking wet as they christened Brainerd’s new splash pad.
“Under the Sea” played as the water came on for the first time.
“It feels amazing,” Brainerd mom Emily Rolfson said during Thursday’s grand opening celebration.
For the past seven years, Rolfson spearheaded a community effort to raise the $200,000 needed for a splash pad in Brainerd.
“It’s been a long time,” she said, “and I’m so happy to finally give it away to the community and just see it in action. It’s going to be great.”
The mild temperatures didn’t stop Tegan Bonde from running through the water in her swimsuit, especially enjoying the frog element that drew in many kids.
“You get to do, like, magic with the water,” she said of the bright green frog with water shooting out of its mouth.
A rock, flower and large tree branch in the middle of the pad added to the nature-themed elements shooting water at the energetic kids.
After splashing in the water for a while and soaking his clothes through, Chase Roberts proclaimed he was freezing cold but admitted it was fun while he was in the water and said maybe he’ll come back when it’s hot outside.
Moms watching their kids play were just as excited.
“It’s so awesome,” Sarah Shaw said. “It just shows what a lot of persistence with some really dedicated members of the community will do.”
As Nicole Bahma watched her son Jaxxon play, she, like Rolfson, reflected on the long road it took to bring the splash pad to Brainerd.
“Thank God for Emily and the hard work that she put into it,” Bahma said, adding her son couldn’t wait to try it out.
“He was anxiously waiting,” she said. “We’ve driven by and looked, and he’s been super excited. We plan on spending a lot of time here.”
Rolfson took a moment to thank all the donors who contributed to the project.
“Without them this thing really wouldn’t be a reality, and that’s important, so thank you all for that,” she said.
The splash pad will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day, or weather permitting.