Recreation Directors at most water parks would be quite happy with a fully-equipped Splashpad®, or perhaps a series of colorful sprinkling and drenching features in a shallow wading pool. They'd probably also want a regular swimming pool for traditional aquatic fun. Perhaps they'd even want a spiral waterslide at the deep end for older kids (and parents).
The Tommy Garrott Aquatics Center in Gallatin, Tennessee, has all of those things, but it's gone "bigger and better" ... with not one or two, but three giant waterslides side-by-side at the deep end, a 35-foot elevated platform to "launch" excited kids on their choice of the waterslides, and a large designated "landing strip" at the bottom, as thrill-seekers shoot from the slides into the water.
"We've gotten a lot of very positive comments from folks about the aquatics facility," remarks David Brown, the Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Gallatin. He estimates that they are averaging more than 500 visitors a day ... "and more than 1,000 last Saturday alone."
Visitors arrive from nearby Nashville, and even from Kentucky - perhaps drawing from a radius of 75-80 miles, based on an informal check of license plates in the parking area.
"Even with daily admission fees, the facility is proving popular with folks in the community," Brown notes. "Of course, we offer a multiple-entry pass with a lower effective daily rate for local folks who want to enjoy the aquatics center more often."
Before the facility was built, the land was just an open field - a vacant lot - adjacent to the Gallatin Civic Center. "We designed the aquatics facility we wanted, one that we knew our community would want," Brown explained. "The City of Gallatin served as the general contractor too, soliciting bids from various suppliers and subcontractors."
The City utilized the NPPGov cooperative purchasing program to facilitate the buying process. Vortex was selected as a key supplier, with fixtures and features that are obviously engineered with play value and fun in mind. From the Splashpad® and wading pool play features to the three slides and platform structure, Vortex provided the "bookends" for a spectacular water recreation facility.
Anyone who needs visual proof of the popularity of the Tommy Garrott Aquatics Center only needs to visit the Facebook page devoted to the facility. Thousands have already "liked" it, and new photos and videos are uploaded daily ... adding to the hundreds already posted.
One visitor notes, "Today my husband, my 14 month old and myself had our first visit and I'm so impressed! They were packed!! But the facility is so large and spacious that you will always have a considerable amount of your own space, whether you're sunbathing or in the water."
"The way it's designed," she continues, "my little one who just started walking a month and a half ago, I'm perfectly comfortable with letting him do his own thing as I walk behind him. He walks into the water until he's comfortable and then plays. He loves the baby slide and sprinklers. I've never seen him more happy than he was today."
With an outdoor facility that includes party areas, kids' train slide, water tower, spray toys, umbrellas, splash pad, two concession areas, and plenty of room to relax, it isn't surprising that there is almost universal appeal for all ages.
The most dramatic features, though, are the three towering waterslides of varying lengths - 57-feet, 134-feet and 167-feet - that dominate the far end of the pool. The slides are color-coded, with yellow (in the center) providing a thrilling "speed slide" drop that dares kids to try it. Green and orange, on either side, are longer and "twistier," with curves and chutes to provide the excitement.
"The biggest complaints we get are that the pool is closed from 4:00 to 4:30 pm each day for maintenance," says Brown. "Once people immerse themselves in the play environment they just don't want to stop!"
Brown's plans for The Tommy Garrott Aquatics Facility, honoring the late Gallatin mayor and city councilor Joseph "Tommy" Garrott, include promoting the excitement more broadly, with outdoor advertising in a large portion of East Tennessee. "We are confident we can accommodate 1,200 visitors at a time, so there's no reason not to invite more people to enjoy what we have," adds Brown.