Columbia residents celebrate Memorial Day by the pool

Monday, May 26, 2014 | 7:18 p.m. CDT; updated 6:52 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

COLUMBIA — Dylan Foote wasn't expecting to find an action figure hidden in the climbing wall at Douglass Pool on Monday.

While playing in the pool with his younger brother, Finn, 6, and sister, Emma, 8, the 11-year-old climbed the rock wall in the pool and found the plastic toy.


Information about pool hours can be found on the city of Columbia's website under Parks and Recreation.

"I wanted to put it in the lost-and-found, but I asked my mom, and she didn't know where it was," he said.

When he found it, Dylan's first thought was, "Who put this here?"

The culprit was none other than the co-owner of Hitt Records, Kyle Cook, 29, who hid the action figure upon arriving at Douglass Pool when it opened at noon on Memorial Day.

Cook's goal for the day was to be the first person in the pool for the season.

"I tied my friend Steph," he said. "She tried to beat me. I had to jump in with my shirt on. I'm kind of a celebrity right now."

Dylan and Cook were two of the 100 people who came to the Douglass Pool on Monday, according to pool cashier Lorena Hardman. All Columbia public pools were closed Saturday because of rain, but reopened Sunday at noon and again Monday, according to the Columbia Parks and Recreation swim hotline.

Robin Hirsch-Jacobson said he was glad the rain came Saturday rather than Monday. He was at the pool with his son, who invited 15 of his friends to swim and play at Douglass Pool to celebrate his sixth birthday.

Although Hirsch-Jacobson doesn’t live in the area, he said he thought Douglass Pool was a good option for the party.

“It’s affordable,” Hirsch-Jacobson said. “There’s a good variety of activities to do.”

In addition to swimming, Columbia residents can also use Douglass’ water slide, challenge themselves on the aquatic climbing wall or run through jets of water on the spraygrounds, which remain open to the public even when the pool is closed.

Hirsch-Jacobson also frequents other Columbia pools, such as the one at Albert-Oakland Park, where there were 160 pool-goers on Memorial Day, according to pool cashier Mar'kiez Smith.

Yasmin Childs, 28, has been going to Albert-Oakland Park for Memorial Day every year since she was 13 years old.

She takes her three kids, who are 3, 6 and 7 years old, to Columbia's public pools at least three times each summer.

“It gives me a break,” Childs said. “It lets them play and run out some energy.”

Amy Barrett was another mother relaxing at the pool on Memorial Day with her two children. She chose the pool at Lake of the Woods Recreation Area because it allowed her to easily watch her kids.

Barrett, who has been a Columbia firefighter for 15 years, said it was her children's idea to spend Memorial Day at the pool. About 63 other people had a similar idea, Lindy Browne, pool cashier, said.

"It's not really a tradition," Barrett said. "For Memorial Day, it's really hit or miss because I work throughout the day as a firefighter ... This is the first one I've had off in a while."

Barbecue was on the menu at Barrett's house after their day at the pool, "the typical Memorial Day thing," she said.

"Otherwise, we're just going to get ready to go back to school tomorrow," she said.

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