By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Dogs get their turn at the water park
0908soggy 1
Abby the chocolate lab and Margaret the goldendoodle play with a tennis ball during a visit to the Soggy Doggy Pool Party in 2014. - photo by Jennifer Jacob Brown

Two local waterparks are taking advantage of the end of pool season.

These pool parties won’t be for you to get wet, instead, they will be for your pups.

Soggy Doggy Pool Party

When: 1-6:30 p.m. Sept. 10;  dogs 35 pounds and under at 1 p.m., 36-70 pounds at 3 p.m. and over 70 pounds at 5 p.m.

Where: Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, 1545 Community Way, Gainesville

How much: $10 per dog; people free

“Patrons can bring their dogs to play in our outside Splash Zone,” said Zandrea Stephens, assistant division manager at the aquatic center. “It’s actually the last day that it will be open, and we take the chemicals out of the pool for the dogs.”

Stephens said the inspiration behind the pool party was simply to bring different people throughout the community together.

“In recreation, we try to find different things for the community, and we know that people cherish their pets,” she said. “We wanted to bring in a different type of people, not just the fitness people. So we’re bringing in pet owners.”

She said the response to this event has been great every year.

“Last year, we had over 110 dogs to attend,” she said. “People really love their animals.”

She expects to see another large crowd this year, and in order to accommodate so many people and their pups, the center is making a few changes to the event.

“Last year we only had two different categories,” she said, referring to when different dogs can enter the water. “So I had a small to medium category then a medium to large category. We had such a big turnout that it was sort of overwhelming.”

There will be three categories this year. Dogs up to 35 pounds will enter the Splash Zone at 1 p.m. while those 36-70 pounds can get in at 3 p.m. Dogs over 70 pounds won’t be able to enter until 5 p.m.
“That gives us room to try to get as many dogs in (each) weight class as possible,” Stephens said.

But there will be other activities going on when your dog isn’t in the water, including a chance to visit with some vendors and participate in contests.

“We have vendors here where owners can go and visit (them) and see what they have to offer,” she said. “They bring in what they have at their business pertaining to dogs. And they have giveaways (and) give out information.”

As for the doggy contests, Stephens said they are always popular.

“Dogs actually come every year to participate in these contests, whether it’s the racing (or) whether it’s the best dog trick,” she said. “Sometimes we do a costume (contest), and some of the dogs come in with a little bathing suit or something on.”

In order to participate in the Soggy Doggy Pool Party, a tag must be on the your dog’s collar at all times and a proof of rabies vaccination is required. There is a limit of two dogs per handler. The rain date is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Bark in the Waterpark

When: Oct. 7

Where: Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford  

This doggy event will get some paws wet, but it also offers various activities for members of the family who aren’t as furry.

According to Lanier Islands’s website, the event will include live music, food vendors, street performers, dog photo booths, pony rides, lake access, beach games and even a dog costume contest.

Pet-related businesses and charity organizations will also be on site, as well as “Dock Dogs,” which has been featured on ESPN, the Outdoor Channel and ABC and “brings teams of dogs and their handlers to compete in jumping, running and retrieving.”