From June last year to June this year, attendance at Jefferson City pools has increased significantly.
Attendance at Memorial Park Family Aquatic Center and Ellis-Porter Pool increased by a total of 4,899 people, with 3,168 more at Memorial Park Family Aquatic Center and 1,731 more at Ellis-Porter Pool.
Aaron Grefrath, assistant director of Jefferson City Parks, said he thinks fewer people went to the pools last year because there were so many unknowns about the coronavirus and how it's transmitted.
"That may have certainly put people on security mode as far as making sure they didn't want to go somewhere where it wasn't safe," he said. "I think that there were so many unknowns, and that's what affected it last year, essentially."
In June 2020, Memorial Park Family Aquatic Center's attendance was 7,282, including 2,463 adults and 4,819 children. This past June, attendance was 10,450, including 3,750 adults and 6,700 children.
In June 2020, Ellis-Porter Pool attendance was 3,720, including 1,451 adults and 2,269 children. This year, it was 5,451, including 2,351 adults and 3,100 children.
Revenue from admissions, concessions and swim lessons has increased by 66 percent at Memorial Family Aquatic Center and 62 percent at Ellis-Porter Pool from June last year to June this year, Grefrath said.
Grefrath said there were no issues recruiting lifeguards or swim instructors this year or last year.
"I think the biggest challenge last year with lifeguards was just trying to figure out what the safety protocols looked like for guards on the stands and in water and stuff like that," Grefrath said.
The parks department began recruiting early to make sure there was enough staff, Grefrath said. This year, the two pools are fully staffed with a total of 115 lifeguards.
"Most of our swim instructors are also hired as our lifeguards as well, so we've been very, very lucky and fortunate," Grefrath said.
Pool hours are typically 10 a.m.-7 p.m., unless swim lessons or special events are being held. Adult admission is $6.50 and youth admission is $5.50. After 5 p.m., $1 is taken off the admission price.
Season passes, which can be used at both pools, can be purchased at The Linc. They are $80 for children, $95 for adults, $80 for seniors and $190 for a family of up to four with $30 for each additional family member.
The City of Jefferson Parks, Recreation and Forestry is accepting registration for group and private swim lessons. For information on youth swim lessons, visit jcparks.com/activity/youth-aquatics. For information on adult swim lessons, visit jcparks.com/program/adult-swimming-lessons.