With schools opening their doors again for the new school year and Labor Day swiftly approaching, many popular summer hangouts are nearing the end of their operational season with Lake Saracen Splash Park being one of them.


Featuring programmable water jets, convenient on-site restrooms and changing rooms, picnic tables, and vending machines, Lake Saracen Splash Park served as a relief to many children during this summer’s scorching weather.


The park’s operating season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and according to Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Trudy Redus, families will be able to spend their Labor Day enjoying quality time with their children at the Splash Park for the last time this summer.


The park will be open Labor Day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and will remain closed until its reopening on Memorial Day.


Redus was unsure of the number of families she expected would come out and utilize the park during the holiday weekend due to before-school family vacations and the like.


The All-Inclusive Playground and Pavilion, situated near Splash Park, is another spot that Redus said parents can take advantage of on Labor Day. On-site grills located under the pavilion allow parents to prepare the meal while the children keep busy on the playground.


Despite Splash Park ending its summer season, Redus said the area will still be the site of a number of activities in the near future.


Two weeks after Splash Park’s closing, Parks and Recreation will be hosting their sixth annual 5K Run, Walk, Dance. According to Redus, the event is held in an effort to curb childhood obesity.


“Before, Arkansas was number one on the list for childhood obesity,” said Redus, commenting on the significance of the 5K Run, Walk, Dance event. “Now, we’re at number four.”


The 5K Walk, Run, Dance event will take place on Sept. 22 at Lake Saracen.


Also occurring that day, in conjunction with the walk, will be the seventh annual Sweet Potato Bake-Off, bidding farewell to the Lake Saracen Farmers Market for the year.


For locals looking for something to fill their free time, Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation holds Zumba classes every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Coretta Scott King Center.


For those who enjoy sports, free tennis lessons are available at the Bloom Tennis Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. All ages are welcome to participate.


Even with the variety of things Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation currently has to offer the community, Redus said that she would like to expand the offerings and add exercise equipment near the walking trail at Lake Saracen.


Due to the park being in close proximity to the lake, limited free space is making it hard to expand like officials would like but, according to Redus, Parks and Recreation is presently working to expand other parks around the city.