Beating the Claremont summer heat

For decades, the Memorial Park wading pool, which has been open since mid-June, has provided a cool haven for local youngsters.

To beat the summer heat, it’s common to find at least a dozen children, from tottering babies to kindergarteners, enjoying the perennial attraction. 

“It’s fun to watch the kids play—they really enjoy it. It’s nice that the city provides a way for families to cool down,” said Nicole Koorndyk, a lifeguard and summer instructor with Claremont’s Recreation Department. 

Hours for the Memorial Park wading pool, which will be open through August 10, are Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

There are 2 other city wading pools, open during the same hours but on fewer days. The wading pool at El Barrio Park (400 block of Claremont Boulevard) is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the wading pool at Wheeler Park (626 Vista Dr.) is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

As Claremont’s primary community park, Memorial Park’s wading pool—embellished with sea creatures hand-painted by community services staff —is the best known of these shallow-water oases.

On Monday, 3-year-old Maya and her twin brother Shaw hit the wading pool with their mother, Satoko Siegel. The Rancho Cucamonga family has been coming to Memorial Park’s kiddie pool since the twins were one.

“I like it because it’s a safe environment, the water’s always clean and someone’s always here watching the kids,” Ms. Siegel said.

Kelsey Demke of Rancho likes the wading pool because it tires out the 2 young Claremonters she’s babysitting this summer, 5-year-old Austin Bohrer-Burg and his 2-year-old brother Dean Bohrer-Burg.

Ms. Demke noted a couple of activities her charges have enjoyed this summer: Toddler Storytime at the Claremont Library (Wednesdays at 11 a.m.) and stopping by Bert & Rocky’s Cream Co. for an ice cream cone. The pool is obviously another favorite for Austin.

 “The water feels good,” he said, while a sun-browned Dean ran around on the grass wearing a swim diaper and a smile.  

Eleven-year-old Jared Rodriguez is a bit older than the pool’s target audience of 5 and younger. He took off his shoes anyway and waded in to help his mother, Leah Losser, supervise his 8-month-old brother Justin Rodriguez.

“It feels good dipping my feet in,” he noted.

Jared, who will start junior high this fall, said he likes being a big brother.

“I’m waiting ‘til he grows up. I’m going to teach him ‘the ways,’” he said, using air quotes for emphasis. 

Ms. Losser, a Claremont High School alumna, clearly enjoys teaching her children the ways of Memorial Park.

She recalls walking there every summer after her nap. Monday represented the first time Justin—who padded around in the water, holding his mother’s hands for support —used the wading pool. Ms. Losser also hopes to take the boys to Memorial Park for one of the annual evening movie screenings. “Happy Feet 2” will be shown there on Tuesday, August 7 during the grand finale of the Movies in the Park series. 

“It’s fun to be back in the park where I grew up, seeing them enjoying the same things I did,” Ms. Losser said.

Four-year-old Erica Williamson certainly enjoyed herself in the wading pool, which she said offers relief—and not just from the heat.

“I can’t swim in the big pool, because I’m very scared,” she said. “I like the little one.”

Memorial Park is located at 840 N. Indian Hill Blvd.

—Sarah Torribio


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