Barbara Bromley learned a lesson long ago about surviving the summer just about anywhere in the United States.
"The way you survive in Texas is, stay in the water," she said, watching her grandchildren at the Jacobson Park splash pad, or "sprayground." "It's true in Lexington, too."
Dozens of younger children flocked into the water at Jacobson, some positioning themselves directly beneath the bucket that periodically dumps tens of gallons of water over their heads.
"I promised them today I would bring them if it was pretty, because they love it," said Tonya Lightfoot of Lexington, who was at Jacobson with her grandchildren.
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Formal summer may be a few weeks off, but informal summer opened its watery gates at Lexington's pools and aquatic facilities this week.
"Poolapalooza" let around 400 pool-goers in within the first 20 minutes at Southland Pool, where admission was free from noon to 4 p.m. Games were available as the mellow sounds of Al Green wafted across the pool.
Grant Jenkins, 22, and Hayden Henry, 14, took turns doing literally splashy dives off the deep end diving board.
"The fact that it was free was pretty awesome," Jenkins said. "We've been having a blast. ... It's the finish to the dive that's more important than anything."
Henry was asked how he gets ideas for new dive moves: "I just practice on the trampoline a lot," he said.
The other pools that opened Saturday were Castlewood, Woodland and Tates Creek, which did not have free admission.
Splash pads, which are free, are already open at Jacobson Park and Masterson Station Park.
Pool passes are available for frequent pool users: $250 for a family pass for up to six individuals, or $50 for an individual.
—May 26. Aquatic centers opened: Southland (625 Hill N Dale Road), Tates Creek (1400 Gainesway Drive), Castlewood (323 Parkview Ave.), Woodland (190 Old Park Avenue). Admission $5 adults, $4 children.
—June 2. Neighborhood pools open: Shillito, Douglass, Picadome. Admission $4 adults, $3 children.
—August 5. Neighborhood pools close for the season.
—August 14. Southland and Castlewood close for the season at 6 p.m.
—September 3. Remaining aquatic centers and Shillito close for the season at 6 p.m.