When the last class bell rings to signify school is out for summer, the first major vacation day of summer, Memorial Day, is just a few days on the horizon.
Containing all the student's excitement after getting out of school can be a challenge to parents especially when Memorial Day comes into play.
For those families coming to Pratt or staying in the area for Memorial Day, Pratt offers a wide variety of activities with something for everyone in the family, said Pratt Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jan Scarbrough.
One of the biggest highlights of the Memorial Day weekend is the opening of the Ellis Kinney Municipal Pool. This year, the pool opening will signal the completion of several months of renovation to correct a number of problems at the pool.
The fiberglass liner had deteriorated to the point that it was cracking and chipping leaving sharp edges that could easily cut little hands and feet.
Pool renovation included removal of the entire fiberglass liner, sandblasting the entire pool, replacing five sections of worn out pool floor, repairing a number of small holes, opening the wall between the wading pool and the rest of the pool to meet accessibility standards, painting the pool, removing and replacing all the caulking in and around the pool and painting the pool house in blue with stylized fish.
The renovation is finished and the pool is full with 600,000 gallons of water for all those joyous children who will probably find the water a bit cold on opening day Monday.
Kiddie wading pools are also available at Gebhart Park and Zerger Park.
Besides the pool, many families will take advantage of the 270 acres of parks and green spaces in the city limits of Pratt, Scarbrough said.
Lemon Park is always a big draw with its shelter houses, nature trail, open areas, volleyball court, walking path, horseshoe pit, ball diamonds, cooking areas and Lemon Park Lake.
For those with exercise on their mind they can play a game of tennis at the Walter Blake Tennis Court or even a game of basketball. Frisbee disc golf is available at May Dennis Park. Skate boarders and roller bladders can enjoy the skateboard facilities at Loren Minnis Park.
Sixth Street Park offers lots of wide open spaces, ball diamonds, picnic areas and the Pilot Club train is scheduled to be in operation from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day.
The Green Nature Trail by the water treatment plant on County Club Road is also a popular walking site, Scarbrough said.
For the patriotic of heart, the annual Memorial Day festivities at the Pratt Regional Airport will feature American Legion Riders Honor Guard with Christian Riders and Defenders, Ret. Air Force Col. William Wojciechowski, Lt. Col Matthew Bedwell (Kansas National Guard Iraq and Afghanistan tours), Sacred Heart School and Pratt Community College Encore! group will perform musical numbers.
Page 2 of 2 - Many will choose to head to the Pratt County Veterans Memorial Lake to camp, fish, grill and hike the Arthur Fincham Nature Trail.
The Barron Theatre provides an opportunity for entertainment in the evening along with enjoying a meal in one of the many restaurants in town.
Whatever the family decides to do, Pratt offers a variety of activities for everyone.
"It's (Memorial Weekend) a kickoff to a great summer season," Scarbrough said. "Come take advantage of our lovely weather and many beautiful parks and other activities."