Mt. Vernon's Aquatic Zoo Opens

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By Evie Allen

MT. VERNON -- Mt. Vernon unveiled its new Aquatic Zoo, a water park project that's been in the works since 2009.

"This is one of the most exciting days that I have experienced in the city of Mt. Vernon, and I have been here all my life," exclaimed Mt. Vernon Mayor Mary Jane Chesley.
 
The nearly $6 million project received input from city leaders and citizens. Chesley says the water park is a big asset to the community because it will bring tourism dollars to the area.      
 
"They see this, they will stay overnight. They'll spend money here. They'll enjoy themselves and it's a perfect fit for us. It's a win-win," she explained.
 
The park is divided into three sections. There is the leisure pool, which allows swimmers to go into the water slide area and the lazy river. The splash pad is for climbing and slashing around. And then there is the 13 feer deep lap pool that has two diving boards.
 
"We're just excited about the number of people who have been contacting us. We started getting calls at Christmas time," explains Parks and Public Facilities Director George Bryant.
 
Lockers and concessions are also available. 
 
Bryant says the park is called a "zoo" because of the safari theme. The lions, zebras and giraffes are hard to miss as you stroll around the water park. The life guards are even called zoo keepers.
 
"I think it's pretty cool, that way we don't have to go all the way to another place to go swimming," said Kadence Chamness.
     
Before this water park, many of the guests say they have had to travel several hours for this type of recreation.
     
"It's cool. We don't have to drive a lot, so I won't get car sick," explained Kristen Stanton.
 
Bryant says the most important part to the water park is the kids.     
     
"This is my greatest joy. It's when I can see the kids. That's what it's all about."
 
Mayor Chesley says the water park provides around 60 summer jobs for young people. Tthe ground was donated by the Lincoln Park Foundation.
 
The Aquatic Zoo is open everyday until six o'clock.
 
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