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Last splash of summer
With school starting Monday, seasonal fun spots are forced to scale back their schedules
Rising Sugar Hill Elementary School first-grader Tyler Crumley, 6, of Gainesville stands under a bucket Thursday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

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Frances Meadows Center

Where: 1545 Community Way, NE, Gainesville.
When: New hours Aug. 9 through Labor Day;
Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday, 10 a.m.–8 p.m.;
Sunday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
More info: 770-533-5850



Cool River Tubing Company
590 Edelweiss Strasse, Helen
When: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., After September 5, weekends only weather permitting.
More info: 706-878-2665

Lake Lanier Islands Beach and Waterpark
7000 Holiday Road, Flowery Branch
When: Beginning Aug. 9 the Beach and Waterpark will be closed during the week but open on the weekends through Labor Day weekend.
More info: 800-840-LAKE

The splishing and splashing, screaming and fun at local water and amusement parks will slowly come to a halt as school kicks into gear Monday — well, at least during the school week.

In years past, August was the height of the summer season. With temperatures hitting the mid-90s daily, it would be a perfect time for a dip at the local pool or Lake Lanier Islands, tubing on the Chattahoochee River or getting your adrenaline fix at Six Flags.

But today, establishments that deliver summer fun have to make a few adjustments when students head back to school.

Terry Sims, owner of Cool River Tubing in Helen, said he wishes we could go back to the days when summer break was three months long.

"I tell you what, when school starts it just about shuts it (business) down," he said. "I think it (a longer summer) would be better for tax-based revenue, tourist attractions, all the way around I think it would be better for the economy.

"Used to be August was the busiest month of the year and now it’s June and July ... it makes it harder because you concentrate the weekends more and they are heavy."

Cool River Tubing is open through Labor Day every year.

"We open a few weekends, depending on the weather and the water level through September," Sims said. "I have stayed open some weekends in October."

Gainesville Parks and Recreation even sent out an e-mail blast on Wednesday reminding parents that the Splash Zone at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center will be open throughout the week beginning Monday.

"Don’t hang up your flip-flops just yet," said Julie Butler, marketing and communications coordinator. "We send out an e-mail to approximately 8,000 households and we will also be publicizing at the facility, and those folks who have passports with us with receive continued reminders that we are open."

Once school starts Monday, the center’s hours will change to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.

"Once school starts, we still have a lot of families out there that can come to the pool during the day," Butler said. "It’s still very hot and we provide that service, that still gives kids an hour or two to hop over after school if they can."

The indoor pools are open year-round at the aquatic center.

Also open year-round is Lake Lanier Islands, although they shift throughout the year from a summer beach and waterpark destination to keep the crowds coming.

After this weekend, the beach and waterpark at Lake Lanier Islands will close on a daily basis but will open weekends through Labor Day.

Six Flags Over Georgia will follow suit and close during the week and open only on weekends through Oct. 31.

"The main thing that we are doing is we are continuing to keep the events going ... whether it’s Sunset Cove Beach Cafe and Club that we opened this year, we still have Legends of the Lake concert series that will take place in August, at Sunset Cove we still do the full moon party," said Hallie Currigan, director of marketing at Lake Lanier Islands.

"It’s not a discounting philosophy. It truly is both a marketing push and keeping the customer engaged and provide numerous opportunities for them to come out on the island, not only through the week but especially on the weekends."