Making a Splash

August 5, 2013

One of the highlights of our summer at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center is kicking off Eggstravaganza weekend with our annual Pool Show. Join us for this year’s show on Thursday, August 8 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, seating is provided, and the concession stand will be open. The show will begin as always with introductions of the Miss Gaylord candidates, followed by kids of all ages “Taking a Step on the Wild Side” as they entertain us with their choreographed songs. We hope to see you there – dressed in your camouflage! (Because of the Pool Show, the GAAC will close at 4:30 on Thursday – no afternoon swimming lessons, no 6:30 aerobics, and no 8:30 lap swim. Lessons will be made up on Monday, August 12.)

This week marks the end of our third and final session of Red Cross lessons. So many young people having been learning to swim with us this summer. At last count we had 535 registrations, which is 33 more than we had in 2012! A big thank you to our certified Water Safety Instructors who do an excellent job teaching everyone from toddlers to teens, and who are the reason our lesson program keeps families coming back year after year, and also brings in new families for the first time. Look for 2014 lesson information online in April and register early to get your preferred time.

We are also wrapping up our Five-Week Fitness Challenge, and several motivated swimmers have been working toward their goal of 25 hours of aqua aerobics or 250 laps in five weeks. If you haven’t joined us for fitness yet this year, it’s not too late. We have lap swim at 6:15 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. Aqua aerobics classes are held at 6:15 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:00 a.m. on Saturday. As we near the close of our summer, this schedule may be modified, so please stay tuned to announcements in the Hub, at the GAAC, or on the website for any changes.

Over the course of the next few weeks, about 75 percent of our staff will be leaving for college or beginning fall sports. This makes scheduling a challenge, since we usually have 16 people on duty during open swim hours. So, for the last two weeks of August, our hours will be reduced to the same hours we had the last two weeks of August in 2012. From Saturday, August 17 – Friday, August 23, open swim will be from 1:00-7:00 p.m., with twilight swim from 5:00-7:00. Saturday, August 24 – Friday, August 30, open swim will be 2:00-6:00 p.m., and admission will be $3.50 all afternoon.

It’s hard to believe we’re talking about end-of-summer events already, when it seems we’ve only just begun. There are three and a half weeks left to get the rest of your summer fun in at the G-double-A-C!


June 24, 2013

We’ve had some great swimming days and some not-so-great swimming days in June, but here at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center we’ve been making the most of every day we can. If you haven’t joined us yet this season, plan to join us soon! Our open swim hours are 12:30-8:30 every day. We also have lap swim and aqua aerobics classes Monday through Saturday (see schedule in this week’s insert), Red Cross swimming lessons, and several special events coming up in July.

Could you swim the perimeter of Lake Titlow (7 miles)? Could you spend an entire day (24 hours) doing aqua aerobics? You can during our Five-Week Fitness Challenge. Sign up and get started anytime between now and July 13. Swim 250 laps or attend 25 aqua aerobics classes in five weeks to complete the challenge and win a prize!

Our first session of Red Cross swimming lessons is nearly over, and our second session will begin July 8. We already have more than 200 swimmers registered for Session 2, but there are still a few spots open. Please call to find out if we have room at the time and level you’re looking for. The deadline to register for Session 3 lessons (beginning July 29) is July 15 and you can register online, through the mail, or in person at the GAAC.

On Tuesdays in July come and enjoy “Float & Float” from 5:00-8:30 p.m. Go for a swim and then visit the concession stand for a root beer float – only available for sale on Tuesday evenings!

Wednesdays in July are “Big Splash, Little Splash” nights. From 5:00-8:30 p.m., one child (12 years or younger) will get in free with each paying adult. This is a great opportunity to make summertime memories with your favorite kids.

Next Thursday is the 4th of July and we’d love to have you spend the day with us at the G-double-A-C. To help everyone celebrate the red, white, and blue, we’ll be offering bomb pops at the concession stand for just a quarter all day long until they’re gone!

We may be getting off to a slow start, but there are plenty of summer days left to get fit, learn to swim, or make a splash at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center!


June 3, 2013

If I had a nickel for every time someone called and asked, “Are you open yet?” … I could buy myself a pretzel with cheese at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center!

We’ve all been looking forward to this Wednesday, June 5 for a long time. It’s our scheduled opening day. The water is ready, the staff is ready, the concessions are ready – even the flowers are ready! But it seems the weather is not. Although we are hopeful, the forecast doesn’t look promising. Please call us at 237-2266 or check www.exploregaylord.org to find out if we’re open or closed for the day.

If the weather is not fit for swimming, the Gaylord Library will be showing a free movie at 3:00 pm in their community room. They will be doing this all summer long, on any day (Monday-Friday) the Aquatic Center is closed. You can call 237-2280 to find out what movie will be showing.

So don’t let the weather stop you from having a fun summer day in Gaylord. There will be warm sunny days for swimming, and there will be cool rainy days for movie-watching and book-reading. Just keep saving your nickels for that salty pretzel with cheese at the G-double-A-C. I know I am!


May 15, 2013

If you’ve walked, biked, or driven past the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center in the past week, you may have noticed some changes – changes that are bringing us step-by-step closer to our opening day June 5! Thank you to city staff and volunteers who are working to make this happen. It takes many hands and much effort to wake the GAAC from its winter hibernation.

In addition to the preparations you see on the outside – umbrellas are up, rain gardens are cleaned out, pools are being prepared for filling – there are many preparations you can’t see as well. Additions are being made to the concessions menu, showers and lockers and walls and floors are being scrubbed, swimming lesson registrations are continuing to come in, and staff members are meeting and training and planning for an awesome summer of fun in the sun.

Nearly 200 children, toddlers to teens, have registered for Red Cross swimming lessons already, and we have room for so many more. Something very exciting to see is the number of new registrations we’ve received so far – 20% of our registrations are students who did not take lessons with us last year! If you haven’t received information about lessons, please check our website at www. exploregaylord.org. You can also pick up registration information at Gaylord City Hall, or call 237-2266 with questions.

Many of you have been asking about season passes – where, when, and how you can purchase them. Because of our key tag system, the best way for us to sell season passes is in person at the GAAC Admissions window. You will have an opportunity to purchase your season pass this Thursday and Friday, May 16-17, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Saturday, May 18 from 9:00 to 11:00 am. If you have key tags from last year, please bring them with you when you purchase your pass. (There is a charge for replacement key tags.) You can pay with cash, check, or credit card.

Why bother making a special trip just to buy your season pass in May, when you could buy it on your first visit to swim in June? Two reasons: First of all, buying it now will make that first swimming day go so much more smoothly for you and for us; and secondly, we are giving you 2012 season pass prices if you buy your pass before Memorial Day! Check the website or call for more open days to buy your pass next week if you can’t get there this week.

Just three busy weeks to go. See you soon at the G-double-A-C!


April 22, 2013

“The mercury says nearly 80 degrees …”

That’s how I began this column a year ago, and it hardly seems possible. As I write this on April 22, the mercury says it’s less than half of 80 degrees, and the radar says more snow is on the way. Nevertheless, preparations are being made to open the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center in just six short weeks, and we are excited!

Opening day is slated for Wednesday, June 5. School will be out and the fun and splashing will begin! If you are planning to purchase a season pass, you can make our first few days run more smoothly if you buy your pass in advance. Passes will only be available for purchase at the GAAC admissions window this year – not online, and not at City Hall. The open hours for season pass sales in May have not yet been determined, so please watch the Hub and the website (www.exploregaylord.org) to find out when you can come and get your pass.

Our Red Cross Learn-to-Swim program will be much the same this year as last year. You can find all the registration information on the website, and the same information will be sent home from school with elementary students in the area. Online and paper lesson registrations will be accepted beginning May 1.

It may not look or feel like it, but spring is here and summer always follows – no matter the weather. We live in Minnesota because we’re hardy and we love adventure. It may take some hardiness and an adventurous spirit to jump into the water that first week or two, but we’ll be there and we’ll be expecting you!

In the meantime, check www.exploregaylord.org for information and updates. Call 507-237-2266 or email gaacinfo@gmail.com with questions. Don’t forget that summer follows spring. And get ready for adventures at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center in 2013!


August 22, 2012

Numbers. My summer days have been filled with numbers: air temperature, water temperature, number of lesson registrations, number of people on a season pass, price of admission, price of a hot dog, height of a swimmer, depth of the water, opening time, closing time, total daily visitors, total lifeguards on duty … all important numbers. But now we are down to one last important number of the summer, and that is the number of days left to swim at the GAAC in 2012.

On Friday, August 31 at 6:00 pm we will blow the final closing whistle of the season, which means you have just ten days left to make your last splashes, swim your last laps, and take your last slips down your favorite slide. This week our open swim hours are 1:00-7:00 pm, with $3.00 Twilight Swim from 5:00-7:00 pm. Evening lap swim has been moved up to 6:30 pm, but all other fitness classes remain the same. Beginning Saturday, August 25 (and continuing through Friday, August 31), open swim hours will be 2:00-6:00 pm, with $3.00 reduced admission all afternoon. Whatever food we have left in concessions will also be discounted.

As our lifeguards and guest relations staff head off to college or get busy with high school sports, we are forced to reduce our open swim hours and make our fitness classes “self-led” rather than taught by an instructor. Thanks for your understanding as we try to accommodate our staff and our swimmers. We appreciate all of you who have made the GAAC your favorite place to stay cool, get fit, and have fun this summer. We’d love to have you join us for a few more days before we all say good-bye.

And now for some additional numbers. The GAAC was closed only four days this summer because of weather. Over 500 swimmers took Red Cross swimming lessons. In June our average daily attendance was 364, in July it was 455, and so far in August it has been 254. We had 47 staff members and 15 volunteers working hard to keep things running safely and smoothly every day. One thousand one hundred twenty-two people used the GAAC on 338 individual or family season passes. And finally, the GAAC will be closed just 275 days until reopening again for the 2013 season!


May 30, 2012

As I write this on May 25, we have already received a total of 266 swimming lesson registrations for the season. But by the time you read this, the May 28 deadline for Session 1 will have passed, and we are expecting more registrations to come in before then. So many people want to start their summer with a splash, learning to swim at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center!

If you’ve driven by lately, you’ve seen water in our pools, going through the process of being cleaned and heated for your arrival. Things on the inside of the building are shaping up too, and soon we’ll have the showers and lockers clean and all your favorite snacks ready to serve you at the concession stand.

We are still shooting for opening day on June 4 – please check the website often for any announcements concerning that plan. You can also find information about hours, rates, lessons, fitness, and season passes there. Go towww.exploregaylord.org and click on the GAAC link.

If you are planning to purchase a season pass this summer, opening day will go a lot smoother for all of us if you buy it in advance. The simplest way to do it is online with a credit card, but you can also fill out a form at City Hall and pay with cash or a check. There will  be someone at the Aquatic Center most afternoons this week too if you’d rather stop by to purchase your pass there. Our new barcoded membership cards and scanner may not be up and running the first week, as the company we are working with might not have everything set up yet, but we will do our best to make the check-in process as smooth and efficient as possible so you can get through the doors and into the water quickly.

So what other new things can you look forward to this year at the GAAC? In addition to staff members you’re already familiar with, you’ll see a few different faces greeting you at admissions, serving you at concessions, and ensuring your safety while you swim. You may also see some community volunteers helping out now and then in non-staffed positions. We’ve added areduced-admission twilight swim every evening from 6:30-8:30, and we’re hoping to organize some special events throughout the summer such as family swim, volleyball tournaments, and more.

Whether you’re planning to join us for lessons, fitness classes, or just for fun – as a season pass holder or for a day – morning, afternoon, or evening – weekdays or weekends – we eagerly await your arrival and hope to make your time with us one of the highlights of your summer. See you soon!


May 16, 2012

“I can’t wait until the pool opens.” I’ve heard it said several times already. And I must admit – I feel the same way. Our staff has been hired and we are busy preparing for a season of fun at the Gaylord Area Aquatic Center. There is much to do, but in less than three short weeks the doors will be open, the water will be sparkling, and swimmers of all ages will be enjoying plenty of recreation and relaxation at the hottest place to stay cool this summer.

Our first week of online swimming lesson registration was a big success. Some classes are already full or nearly full, but there’s still enough room for everyone. The registration deadline for Session 1 is May 28, so get yours completed soon!This week we will begin online season pass and fitness pass sales. Season pass holders will receive a bar-coded key tag and will be required to scan in each time they visit. Season passes will also be good towards unlimited lap swimming and fitness classes. Another option for fitness swimmers is the Fitness Punch Pass. You can purchase 10 or 25 visits at a time (for lap swim and fitness classes only), and recharge the pass if you run out.Our fitness schedule goes from morning ‘til night, so there’s no excuse to not fit in a water workout. Adult lap swim will be 6:30-7:30am and 8:30-9:30pm Monday through Friday, as well as 9:00-10:00am on Saturdays. Aqua aerobics classes are scheduled for 6:30-7:30am, 11:00am-12:00pm, and 6:30-7:30pm Monday through Friday, and also 9:00-10:00am on Saturdays. Senior aqua fitness classes will be 10:00-11:00am Monday through Friday.Please check the GAAC link at www.exploregaylord.org for more information, to purchase your passes, and to register for lessons. You can also get information at City Hall.Nineteen days until the splashes begin. I can’t wait!

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