Safety tips and information as lake season kicks off

It's not officially summer -- but it sure feels like it outside! There are some things to keep in mind when you're visiting a lake this summer.

“We are playing in the lake for the first day of summer. Our kids are so excited to be out here. This is one of our kids' favorite spots to come,” said one parent, Jeanie Call.

Lake season is finally here, and kids are counting down the hours until they can dive into the water.

“They're just ready to move and play and be outside and get done with school,” Call added.

Families who look forward to time at the lake say safety comes first.

“We always try to stand out in the water with the kids," said Laurie Elmore, another parent. "We don't come out for long periods of time because they get really tired, so we just come out for a couple hours."

Smithville Lake is open all year round, but the busiest time of year starts now.

“All staff on duty, have all shifts covered, all equipment running. We're prepared,” said John Davis, the Chief Park Ranger for Clay County, Mo.

Davis warns lake levels are low, so be extra cautious if you're taking out a boat this weekend.

“There could be a few rock obstructions that are there now that weren't there before, so you've just got to pay attention,” Davis explained.

You won't have the low water issue at Longview or Blue Springs lakes thanks to the recent rain.

“Make sure you have all your safety equipment, enough life jackets for everybody on the boat. Everybody under 7 years of age has to wear a life jacket,” Davis said.

Besides the usual "wear sunscreen and drink plenty of water" warnings, Davis said it never hurts to remind your loved ones to be safe.

“People are inside all winter and get too excited, and forget to be responsible and take precautions,” Davis said. “Be safe, be respectful of others, be prepared, let people know where you're going.”

If you're planning to head to an area lake this holiday weekend, we're here to help.

For more information from Jackson County Parks and Rec:

All of the beach rules and regulations are the same.  Hours of operation are 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. seven days a week.  The prices for the beaches are $6 for Adults 16 and older, $4 for kids 3-15 and $4 for seniors 62+.  Season passes are available.

We do have a new attraction this year, Rowdy Ribbits, an inflatable water park at Longview Lake Beach. I sent a press release about that this week. Hopefully you all will be able to attend the grand opening celebration on June 2.

Silverscreen on the Sand sponsored by 99.7 the Point will be shown on the following evenings.  Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and the movie time is 9:15 p.m. Cost per car load is $5. Concession are available for purchase. No outside food or drink allowed inside of the beach. Bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the movie on the beach.

  • June 15: Disney's Moana
  • July 13: Disney Pixar's Coco
  • August 10: Wonder

The water levels at Longview Lake and Blue Springs Lake are above pool level, thanks to the recent rain, so there will be no issues for boaters. Nothing has changed regarding boat and rental policies and as of last check, there were only a few pontoon boats available for rent on Saturday, with more available on Sunday and Monday. However, that could change. Folks are advised to call the Marinas. Marina hours are 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. seven days a week.

A ribbon cutting event on Saturday, May 26, will open the new beach house at Shawnee Mission Park and start the summer season with a free admission day, and more. The event, which will include comments from public officials, a DJ, and giveaways, will begin at noon. In addition, a free lunch of hot dogs, chips, water, and cookies, will be provided.

“When arriving to the new Shawnee Mission Beach House, the bright blue building with the wave form roof and fresh landscape is a very inviting place to come and spend some time in the sun, sand, and lake,” said Aquatics Manager Marshall McKinney. “The new facility has brand new bathrooms, concession area, shaded seating, and a new beach volleyball court. Whether you’re playing in the sand, soaking in the sun, splashing in the water, or playing a game of sand volleyball, this new facility has something for everyone.”

The Shawnee Mission Park Beach was closed for the 2017 season for construction of the new beach house. The structure features a design called “Tidal” because it features a large, upward sloping roof which provides shade over the building and the adjacent patio area. In November, that design was recognized with an award from the American Institute of Architects for Design Excellence.

The new facility also has: 1,344 square feet of space including restrooms, concessions, check-in area, and office space, a “rich blue” glazed block exterior, an outdoor shower with feet and body sprayers surrounded by a low retaining wall, stairs, and an ADA compliant walkway down to the beach.

Regular hours at the beach, which will be open daily through Aug. 12, are noon to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, and noon to 6 p.m. all other days of the weeks. Open water swim training opportunities are offered from 5:30 to 7:30 on Tuesdays.   Beach admission is $4 for Johnson County residents, or $4.50 for nonresidents for ages 12 and under; $6 for residents or $6.50 for nonresidents for ages 13 to 59; and $4 for residents or $4.50 for nonresidents for ages 60 and older. Admission for the Tuesday open water sessions is $5 for residents or $5.50 for nonresidents.

Free admission to the beach will also be offered on the following Saturday, June 2, as part of JCPRD’s annual A Day in the Park special event.

JCPRD’s other beach at Kill Creek Park also opens for the summer season on May 26. Beach hours there are noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The KCP beach is closed on Monday, and open water swim training is offered there from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursdays.  Admission rates are the same as at SMP, and the Kill Creek Park Beach will also offer free admission as part of the A Day in the Park event on June 2.

Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee and Lenexa. Kill Creek Park is located at 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe. Both beaches will operate through Aug. 12.

Roeland Park Aquatic Center reopens May 26, for open swims, lessons, and events.

Staff at the Roeland Park Aquatic Center look forward to reopening the facility for the summer season, and to seeing participants they haven’t been able to serve for about eight months.

“RPAC has been closed since early October 2017 when we attempted to put the dome up,” explained Aquatics Manager Marshall McKinney. “This winter has been a tough time for the Roeland Park Aquatic Center as JCPRD (Johnson County Park & Recreation District) and the city of Roeland Park worked through the damage to the dome structure sustained during a storm in October 2017. The closure has been hard on patrons, program participants, and staff. When we open this summer we are excited to see patrons of the pool we have known, as well as meet new patrons that utilize the facility.”

The RPAC will reopen on Saturday, May 26, and will operate daily through Aug. 12 with hours of noon to 7 p.m. all days of the week except Sunday, and Sunday hours of noon to 6 p.m. Exceptions to these hours are anticipated on June 14 and 28, and July 5, when the RPAC will close at 3 p.m., and on July 4 and Aug. 12, when the facility will close at 4 p.m.

Open swim admission rates for ages three through 59 are: $6 for Roeland Park residents, $7 for Johnson County residents, and $8 for nonresidents. For ages 60 and older, the rates are: $5.50 for Roeland Park residents, $6.50 for Johnson County residents, and $7.50 for nonresidents. Admission for age two and under is free, regardless of residency.

Also available are seasonal membership passes to RPAC, and a “Super Pass,” which lets residents of Roeland Park, Fairway, Leawood, Merriam, Mission, or Prairie Village who purchase a resident pass to their respective city’s pool also purchase the Super Pass, which permits entry to pools in the other five cities.

In addition to the main pool, other RPAC facilities which will operate during the summer months include: a 120-foot corkscrew water slide, a family slide, a separate youth pool, “lemon drop” sprayers, and a vortex pool with a volcano water feature.

Preschool and youth swim lessons offered by JCPRD get under way in early June at both JCPRD and at the Prairie Village Pool. Lessons offer a progression of instructional courses which can take a swimmer from basic level skills to pre-swim team skills.

Preschool offerings include a Parent & Tot class for ages six months to two and one-half years with a parent, and an Aqua Tot Class for ages two and one-half to five. Youth classes for ages five and older are generally skill-based and are not age specific. Levels include Novice, Advance Novice, and Intermediate. All of these programs have classes beginning June 2, 4 and 18.

Swim lessons for preschool and youth involve eight 30-minute lessons for $60 for Johnson County residents or $66 for nonresidents.

The Roeland Park Aquatic Center is located at 4843 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park, and the Prairie Village Pool is located at 7710 Delmar, Prairie Village.

The Shawnee Mission Park Marina opens daily for the summer season beginning May 26 and continuing through Aug. 12.

Hours at the Shawnee Mission Park Marina are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the last rentals each day at 6 p.m. The marina offers boat rentals, including canoes, pedal boats, kayaks, and paddleboards. Fishing permits are also available at the marina. The Shawnee Mission Park Marina accepts credit cards, but not checks.

After May 26, Kill Creek Park Marina will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays, also through Aug. 12. The Kill Creek Park Marina rents the same watercraft listed above, and accepts cash only.

Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road in Shawnee and Lenexa. Kill Creek Park is located at 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe.

For more information about JCPRD aquatics facilities, which are also available for rental, call (913) 831-3359. During operating hours after May 26, call (913) 888-1990 for the Shawnee Mission Park Marina, or (913) 585-3652 for the Kill Creek Park Beach or Marina.