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Fun starts in the parks

By Staff | Jul 7, 2012

With one shy of a total of 40 public parks, Cape Coral has a vast and diverse citywide parks and recreation system with many facilities attractions in and of themselves and all with different offerings.

The city is now celebrating National Park and Recreation Month and will continue throughout July.

There will be many activities throughout the month, with everything from a special main event called Discover Parks and Recreation Day and free boat trailer parking one weekend to free pony rides and a classic car show, and discounts on golf.

“National Park and Recreation Month helps to recognize the opportunities that parks provide for people to play, free of stress,” said Steve Pohlman, director of Cape Coral Parks & Recreation, in a prepared statement. “That could include a walk in the park, parents and children interacting on a playground, participation in competitive athletics or exercise programs that cater to senior citizens.”

“Cape Coral has 39 parks,” said Cape Coral Parks & Recreation Marketing Manager Michelle Dean. “Malaga Park is our newest park, recently renamed Founders Park.” It is at 929 S.E. 46th Lane in the southeast section of the Cape.

“The parks are free open play spaces and if you check our program guide you will see all the amenities of various parks. Some include playgrounds and picnic areas, some include exercise equipment and some have recreation facilities,” said Recreation Superintendent Keith Locklin.

Many don’t realize just how many parks are within city limits, he added.

Some of the key attractions include Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the Cape Coral Arts Studio in Rubicond Park, the Cape Coral Yacht Club and Coral Oaks Golf Course.

Sun Splash is a favorite water park to Cape Coral and many from the surrounding Southwest Florida area. It features many water racing slides, a peaceful lazy river and children’s water fun areas.

They have several special occasions a year, including one today. On Saturday, July 7, the park will host Nickelodeon’s famous SpongeBob SquarePants from noon to 3 p.m. Officials say to bring your camera as SpongeBob will be available for photo opportunities throughout the afternoon.

“It’s a big day. Last year was the first time we had SpongeBob, it was so well received we brought him back by popular demand,” said General Manager Sandy Grinder.

Regular daily admission fees will apply.

“In my opinion what also makes Sun Splash so popular is that we host two camps, a Slash-cater and a Junior Lifeguard. They will continue every week until school goes back. What is also cool about that is that we actually hire people that have actually gone through those programs.”

For details, call 574-0558 or visit SunSplashWaterpark.com.

They call it “Cape Coral’s Tropical Showplace.” The Cape Coral Yacht Club was built in 1958 and is one of the original landmarks of the City, said officials.

It is directly on the Caloosahatchee River in the Yacht Club Community Park. It sports a public beach, fishing pier, community pool and a ballroom for meetings and events.

Yacht Club manager Barbara Dickinson talked about the many things that attracts so many residents and visitors to the spot.

“I think obviously one of the main things is the beach; we are the only swimming beach on Cape Coral, other than the sunning beach at Four Freedoms Park. We also have the only community pool down here,” she said.

The aquatic side is the biggest draw, along the rental facilities.

“We’re a very popular spot for weddings, private parties and club meeting. We’ve been a community meeting place since we opened for over 50 years. It was 50 years this summer when we opened our doors to our ballroom,” Dickinson said.

Located in Rubicond Park in the south Cape, the Cape Coral Arts Studio provides a wide variety of fine arts and fine crafts to residents and visitors of all ages.

Cher Bell is the supervisor the Cape Coral Arts Studio.

“What we offer is a fine arts programs for all ages, and we try to accommodate people’s working schedules by being open evenings and on Saturdays,” Bell said.

“What’s also nice is we also have an arts store, where students and the public can come and get supplies for whatever project they are working on at any time.”

There is also a gift shop and educational art camps for kids ages 7 through 12. No memberships are required for participation.

There also a monthly bead show; the next scheduled for July 14.

“That is put on by a vendor called the Stone Age Emporium. It takes up our whole conference room. It’s a very popular, with free admission and we accept all credit cards; it runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” Bell said.

Coral Oaks Golf Course offers affordable golf experiences. Tee times can be made up to five days in advance, and PGA lessons are available for those looking to improve their game.

The course is an 18-hole, Arthur Hill – designed, championship course built within a century old oak hammock. There are eight lakes and 37 bunkers on the course which caters to all skill levels.

The City of Cape Coral Parks & Recreation Department also offers a wide variety of fun, entertaining and educational programs, classes and events. They range from pre-school/youth development programs to art classes, athletics, senior excursions and city-wide special events.

A special main event called Discover Parks and Recreation Day will be held at the Cape Coral Yacht Club on Saturday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There also will be many other activities throughout the month, with everything from free boat trailer parking at the city’s public boat ramps the weekend of July 28 and 29, to free pony rides, a classic car show and much more at the main event, and discounts on golf.

You can learn all about them, and about individual park amenities, by visiting the website capeparks.com.