FORT RUCKER, Ala.--Fort Rucker community members no longer have to travel very far for a variety of ways to cool off during the hot and sticky summer months. The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation's (DFMWR) water park officially opened Saturday at Aviators' Landing.

Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley said officials first discussed the idea for the park last summer just after she arrived here.

"I believe the water park will enhance Family recreational opportunities, parties and other enjoyable activities," she said.

DFMWR Aquatics Manager Jon Cole said the park has "water amenities not offered" anywhere in the immediate area. The park, titled "Splash!" has a 35-foot by 45-foot oval spray area with 13 different water features, two water slides, a pool and a 1-meter diving board. Cole said a rock-climbing wall, which will reach about 10 feet above the water, was scheduled to be added to the pool this week. Food and beverages are served out of the park's Tiki Hut, which is surrounded by a pavilion of umbrella-covered picnic tables and chairs.

The many features provide something for everyone, park patrons said Saturday.
"If you don't want to swim, you have (the pavilion)., said Lakesia Brown, who attended the park Saturday with her three children. "The kids are having fun. It gives them something positive to do."

Many people said the park serves Fort Rucker community members well, especially children.
"Little children can't swim, and now they have something to play in," Lori Adams said. "It was a great plan to put it in."

The park's location is also a big draw, patrons said.

"It's like going to a water park in your backyard," said Sgt. 1st Class James Montez, who lives with his Family in Bowden Terrace.

Children differed on what they liked about the park.

Adams' daughter, Mikala, 5, said she enjoyed the water slides, especially the yellow one because "it was faster."

Colby Montez, 7, said he loved doing flips off the diving board, while his brother, James Jr., 10, said he loved the slides.

The park is open seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m. through Aug. 7. After Aug. 7, Splash! is open weekends only through Sept.27.

Daily admission prices are $3 for individuals 18 and over, $2.25 for ages 12-17 and $1.50 for ages 3 to 12. Children, 2 and under, are free.