On Tuesday, June 21, from 7 to 8 p.m., the Crystal Lake Park District is hosting a grand opening celebration of the new Acorn Alley Playground and Splashpad. The party will feature giveaways, summer music, treats and other summer activities.
The playground is on the west side of the park on Walkup Avenue at , just up from the Walkup/Route 176 intersection. There has been a playground at that end of the park since the 1960’s.
It is a “well attended, well used playground,” said Jenny Leech, Public Information Coordinator for the Crystal Lake Park District. The park is open from dawn to dusk daily.
The splashpad is basically a system of built in underground sprinklers and shooting jets of water over a safe surface. The splashpad will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, and closed between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. and 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Splashpads are becoming more and more popular in parks. The splashpad is free, and will “meet the need to stay cool, for everyone from small toddlers to older children.” Leech said. The park district wanted to include a water feature at the new park since Crystal Lake does not have a public pool.
The new playground has been in the works, “Probably for years.” Leech said. “It was part of a master plan.”
There will be some special guests at the grand opening. When Ann Viger, the Park Planner for the Crystal Lake Park District, was designing the park, she met with small focus groups of campers in the Crystal Lake Park District’s summer camps. The small groups were asked for their wishlist for a playground, and some of their suggestions have been incorporated into the design of the Acorn Valley Playground. Those campers have been invited to the Grand Opening.