Outdoor Pools, Spray Parks Open Saturday

Pools, Spray Parks Reopen After Closure Last Year

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Photo from File, Courtesy of the DC Department of Parks and Recreation

This year, you will be able to jump into summer again!

“This year, because of what everyone is doing –wearing masks, getting vaccinated, we’re crushing the virus– and we can open up our pools and get ready for summer,” Mayor Bowser said at the ribbon-cutting or the newly renovated Woody Ward Recreation Center (5100 Southern Ave. SE) Friday, May 28.

The event not only opened the newly modernized recreation center, it also reopened the pool season after a year’s closure due to the pandemic, possibly the first closure in 70 years, said Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Delano Hunter.

For the first time in a year, kids will be able to play in the District’s 21 swimming pools and 33 spray parks when they open Saturday, May 29. That includes the brand new spray park at the new Eastern Market Metro Plaza playground (Pennsylvania Avenue at Ninth Street SE).

Outdoor pools are open weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Memorial Day, May 31 and 6 days a week starting Monday, June 28 through Labor Day. Indoor pools will open without capacity restrictions or reservation requirements as of Tuesday, June 1.

Spray parks will every day from May 29 until Labor Day, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The full roster of DC DPR summer programs will resume tomorrow, both online and in-person, said Hunter.

The modernization of the Woody Ward Recreation Center (5100 Southern Ave SE), formerly known as the Benning Park Recreation Center, was an $11 million project.

The center has been renamed in honor of Woody “Bubby” Ward, a standout community member, coach, youth mentor, and dedicated DPR recreation specialist who passed away in 2017.

The ribbon is cut on the newly modernized Woody Ward Recreation Center (5100 Southern Ave SE). Screenshot: Twitter/@mayorbowser

DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) Director Delano Hunter said that Ward is the first and only DPR employee who was not a Director to have his name etched on a building. “As a recreator, there’s no greater than to have a recreation center named after you,” Hunter said. “With the name “Woody Ward” on the building, we have ensured that he will forever remain etched in our minds and serve as a model for our youth.”

The Woody Ward Center is equipped with a new boxing ring and boxing circuit and an updated fitness center with new workout equipment. Other additions include a new gymnasium floor, new pool check-in, pool area drinking fountains, a new reception desk, and people counter to measure capacity. Upgrades included wall to wall mirrors in the dance room, a drop-down screen and projector multipurpose room and upgrades to the Arts & Creativity room. There is also a new kitchen with capacity to serve ready-to-eat meals.

Pool and spray park users who are not fully vaccinated must wear face coverings on the pool deck; all users over the age of 2 must wear them indoors. Learn more, find the pool or spray park near you, learn about summer programs and pool hours by visiting dpr.dc.gov