East Lansing waterpark helps families beat the heat

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School’s out? Check?

Record-breaking heat? Check.

Water slides and swimming pools? The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center has you covered.

The ELFAC, located at 6400 Abbot Road, has been in operation since 2001. The seasonal center is open from early June through Sept. 3 and features body and tube water slides and picnic areas for younger kids and families.

“It does not mean you have to be a family to go use it,” said Timothy McCaffrey, director of Parks & Recreation of East Lansing. “But it is there to encourage the idea of family recreation being an important component, being an important value, I guess you can say, of the community to encourage families to recreate together and take advantage of the facility as a family unit.”

Garcia‘s family has their first trip to the ELFAC on July 10. Photo by Zimo Wang

Francisca Garcia, a Lansing resident who made her first trip to the ELFAC on July 10, bringing her daughters and nieces. She said the water is clean and the equipment and the pool together in one park makes it different from other parks in this area. She also likes that there are a lot of safeguards.

“I do not know if it is where it’s located or if it’s the fee,” she said. “But you can tell there is a different atmosphere than just going to a regular park.”

The ELFAC provides different interactive water features such as water slides, a splash park and zero-depth pool entry. While the parents lay out on the deck on lounge chairs, the younger kids can play in the water and wait in the line for water slides. Children’s screaming and laughing fulfilled the park.

Garcia said those features keep the kids busy.

“I do not have to worry about keeping them entertained because they have enough to do out there in the water,” she said.

Garcia’s daughter, Andrea Rosas, 10, said she likes the slide because it goes fast.

Dunn sits on a lounge chair to talk about her experience at the park. Photo by Zimo Wang

Peggy Dunn, a resident of East Lansing, brought her granddaughter with her spouse and had a lot of fun doing the water slide activity with her. This is not their first time visiting in the ELFAC. Last year, they also brought their grandson.

“So when there are two of them, they can play independently,” she said. “But when we have her here, we spent a lot more time with her in the water. Especially last year since she was not tall enough to do the slide.”

Dunn said she likes the bottom surface of the center because it is comfortable.

“And I like the zero-entry, where you can walk into the water,” she said. “You do not have to go off the side or dive or anything like that. I like that I see all the families out here together. Last time (two weeks ago) we were here, it was much hotter, and it was just packed with families. I thought that’s a nice thing.”

The East Lansing Department of Parks, Recreation & Arts has priced park admission differently for residents and non-residents, with a $4 differential.

“Residents have already partial paid for the facility as tax payers,” McCaffrey said. “Since they are taxpayers in East Lansing that have already paid for it partially, they get a better rate for using it than those are non-residents who haven’t paid through their taxes,” he said.

A sign with open hours is at the gate before customers enter. Photo by Zimo Wang

Amanda Orlowski, a 30-year-old mother from Lansing, brought her son with her friend to the aquatic center because her son loves it. They just had their first visit two weeks ago and came back shortly. She said ELFAC is family-friendly and a great place for kids.

“The price to come here is pretty cheap, so it is not too bad,” she said. “This one is really close to home, so it is convenient.”

For the ELFAC’s 2018 season, the center opens daily at 11 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. from June 18 to July 29, 6 p.m. from July 30 to Aug. 26 and Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. The park will be closed from Aug. 27 to Aug. 30. The center will close for the season Sept. 3 at 5 p.m.