FORT SMITH, Ark. — Monday marked the unofficial end to summer as local pools and water parks close for the summer season. However, it didn't stop thousands from enjoying the last day Parrot Island Waterpark was open until next year.
Fall is still technically 17 days away, but Labor Day gave Kansas City resident, Noeu Chan and his family one more day to play in the water.
"We've been here quite a bit actually," says Chan. "We drive four hours each way and I'd say this summer, I'd have to say probably about every other weekend since Memorial Day."
That's how many times Chan and his family have made the trip to Parrot Island to work on their tan, spend time togethe,r and for Chan and his son to ride "Flow Rider", their favorite ride at the park.
But the Chan's weren't the only ones to enjoy the park today or all summer.
"We had a bigcomebackk last year, a really busy season," said Miles Epperson, Group Sales Manager at Parrot Island Waterpark. "This year, we're back even busier than pre-COVID. So, we're back to normal, welcomed in a lot of people, it's been a great summer."
Epperson tells 5NEWS that as of Sunday, the park saw over 93,000 customers since Memorial Day - one of their largestseasonss to date.
There were some concerns over high gas prices and inflation having people rethink visiting, but many, like Chan, say not so much.
Rudy resident, Cole Nevin and his family opted to buy a season pass after their second summer trip. He says it paid off quickly for their family and having the park within a 30-minute drive from their home made all the difference.
"We were able to come if we were shopping down the street or somethingandn say 'hey, let's go over there for an hour and hit a few rides and take the lazy river orwhateverr', you know what I mean? It just makes it a lot more doable for sure," said Nevin.
The park's closure only comes with one wish from a number of customers.
"I justwishh they would stay open like another month," said Danielle Ivon.
"I wish summer was longer, like a lot longer," says Gracie Tuck.
Parrot Island Waterpark will soon close their doors for the summer, but Epperson says the popular "Flow Rider" ride will remain open through October with reservations.
For Chan, the end of the season means a four-hour car ride home and a wait 266 days long until the unofficial start to summer 2023.
"Bummed is an understatement, but it is what it is. We'll go back to work and wait until next season to open back up again," said Chan.
Labor Day means pools and water parks are closed for the season, but there are still a number of splash pads open at local parks.
In Fort Smith, all splash pads have closed for the season, but in Northwest Arkansas there are still a few options.
- Bentonville: Fountains at Lawrence Plaza will remain open until Sunday, September 11
- Fayetteville: Walker Park will remain open until Sunday, September 18
- Springdale: Shaw Family Park, Randall Tyson Recreation Complex (splash pad) and CL Willie George Park will remain open until Sunday, September 25
- Rogers: All splash pads will remain open, weather permitting, anyone interested in visiting can call the parks department or visit their Facebook page to see if the splash pad is open
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