|The 50-meter competition swimming pool will be used both by paying guests and high school teams.|
It provides opportunities for aquatic workouts, splash fun for the kids, wild rides down water slides, or a lazy float down the river.
It's Drop Zone Water Park -- the new name given to the Perris-Menifee Valley Aquatic Center, a $24 million, 12-acre project that has been two years in the making, with plans dating back much further than that. When the complex at 2165 Trumble Road in Perris opens to the public on May 24, it will be the realization of a dream for Riverside County officials and a much-needed recreational opportunity for local residents of all ages.
"I grew up swimming and playing water polo since I was 7," said Cheryl Salazar, aquatics coordinator for the park. "This place is an incredible facility for water sports."
Once all the final inspections and clearances by county officials are completed, the Olympic-size pool will be available for use by the new swim teams at Paloma Valley and Heritage high schools. Mt. San Jacinto College is exploring the possibility of starting a women's water polo program because of this new venue.
The pool, which measures 50 meters by 25 yards, can accommodate races at both distances, using an integrated timing system and electronic scoreboard. The pool includes two 1-meter diving boards and one 3-meter board. There are grandstands for spectators during swim meets as well as plenty of deck space for guests when the pool is open for public use.
But that's just one of the attractions. Drop Zone Water Park, which is built with a skydiving and aviation theme, also includes:
-- An open-air water slide and a tube slide from the same platform (above).
-- A "Lil' Jumpers" water play structure for kids from toddlers to 10 years.
-- Ground Geysers that shoot up from the concrete to surprise visitors.
-- The Meridian Springs pool, which is shallow enough (4 feet) for youngsters to play and take beginning swim lessons.
-- Locker rooms serving both the big pool and the attractions on the other side of the park.
-- The Flow Rider: An attraction which allows guests to body surf and stand-up surf.
-- Beach volleyball.
-- The "Fill Station" snack bar and covered eating area.
-- Banquet rooms and cabana areas available for rent.
From May 24 until June 13, when summer break begins for students, the water park will be upon on weekends only. It will then be open daily through Aug. 17, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., then on weekends only until the park closes for the off-season in the fall.
Swimmers may buy admission to the competition pool only for $3 (adults) and $2 (children and seniors). A monthly lap swim pass costs $30. Private and group lessons will also be available for an additional fee.
Daily admission to the entire water park is $18 (adults), $14 (juniors) and $9 (toddlers), with children under 30 inches tall admitted free. Great savings are available with a season pass, however.
The facility is funded through Riverside County. Salazar said income is expected to cover much of the expenses, however.
Applications are now being accepted for seasonal positions as lifeguards, cashiers and food service workers through the park's website.
Salazar expects big crowds once the facility opens. Capacity for the competition pool is 627 and as many as 1,800 guests are expected to fill the entire park on a given day.
"People can't wait for this to open," Salazar said. "The construction workers are constantly answering questions from people who are peeking in. Even the workers are asking, 'Hey, we built this place. Can we get a discount?' "
|Guests can use boards provided by the park to body board or surf on the Flow Rider.|
|The Lil' Jumper area provides a playground for children as young as 18 months.|