On hot Summer days...I really miss this place.
It WAS an Ocean of Fun
If you've been around Memphis for more than a dozen years or so, you'll no doubt remember Adventure River. Yes, at one time Memphis had its own water park.
It's hard to believe that these days. It's been over 10 years since even Maywood "The Beach Within Reach" closed. It's been about that long since Mud Island converted its pool at the end of the island to "Paddle Boats". Both cited insurance costs as the reason.
What is it about the City of Memphis that causes Insurance Underwriters to wince, laugh, and say "No Way" when anyone proposes any sort of water based recreation around here? Is Memphis so full of people who don't know how to act around water that it poses a greater risk than, say in Little Rock, which HAS a waterpark these days?
The City of Memphis prides itself in its network of outdoor pools that are free to residents. Only problem is, they're never open when you need them.
The summer swim season for City pools began on June 8th and ENDED on July 27th. I must have blinked and missed it.
That's right. Pools are now closed for the season in Memphis. Never mind that according to the calendar, we still have almost TWO MONTHS before the official end of summer (The Fall Equinox is September 22nd). Never mind that the average high temperature in Memphis during the month of August is 92 degrees, only one degree shy of the 93 degree average for July, according to National Weather Service data.
And then there is the mater of hours of operation for the City Pools. Tuesday - Saturday from 1 - 6PM. For those of us who have jobs and work during the week, we're either in the office or in traffic during almost all of those hours, except Saturday. That means that us working stiffs have a total of SEVEN DAYS PER YEAR in which we could potentially enjoy the outdoor City Pools. Not much of a perk for those of us hard working folks paying both City AND County property taxes around here.
The City pools are being operated like they're a summer camp program for at-risk youth or a glorified babysitting service or something. Open up a week after school lets out. Close about a week before school starts. The heck with everybody else who might want to go swimming.
There's a lot more to swimming than that. People in coastal communities know this. People flock from all over the country to enjoy the seaside lifestyle and recreational activities every year. Unfortunately, the only "flocking" that seems to be going on around here is a mass exodus from the city. Memphis just can't seem to keep ANYTHING.
To me, swimming isn't just a physical activity that's part of a well-balanced diet and exercise program designed to insure that you live long enough to be a bourdon to your children. It's an enjoyable, relaxing, beneficial activity in its own right. It's not about how many laps you can swim or how fast you can do it...it's about spending a day enjoying the sun near some nice, cool water.
It's pretty much a way of life in some places. It's just sad that there really isn't anywhere around here to enjoy it. Sure, I know I could drive to Little Rock and enjoy the water park there. I could drive to Arkabutla Lake or Sardis Lake and enjoy the roped-off swimming areas there. But unless you live in an apartment complex with a pool, have a pool of your own, or are the member of a club that has a pool, you're pretty much out of luck in Memphis.
If anybody has any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I've been looking for a place to swim around here for years. If I had my way, it would include some great music and a nearby friendly Tiki Bar...but you can't always get what you want.
Yes, I remember Dive-In Movies and fun summer days at Adventure River. I remember ROCK103 parties at the "beach" on Mud Island. Good times!
If all this talk about swimming has you feeling a little nostalgic, enjoy this vintage 1990's Adventure River commercial I found on YouTube. The jingle was written by an awesome Memphis musician named Danny Green. Enjoy!
Summer's Never Been So Much Fun...
...and if you're feeling REALLY nostalgic, I found these Retro Adventure River T-Sirts on sale online: CLICK HERE.
Stay cool and stay hydrated, my friend. We've got nearly 2 months of Summer left!