Splish Splash Water Park is opening a little earlier than usual this year.
On Saturday, April 1, the Calverton park will host its first-ever Polar Plunge to benefit the Special Olympics. Rather than sprint into an icy ocean, however, participants will take a dip in Splish Splash’s Kahuna Bay Wave Pool.
The event, which is also sponsored by the Riverhead and Southampton Town police benevolent associations, will mark the first time the park will be open before it officially debuts for the season on Memorial Day weekend.
“We’re looking forward to it,” Splish Splash general manager Mike Bengtson said. “We know the date is far away, but for this year it gives us enough time to get donations and have people sign up.”
For anyone who doesn’t think April qualifies for “polar” temperatures, we present the below photo, which was taken in Riverhead in April 2016.
Bengtson said the Kahuna Bay Wave Pool was chosen because there’s enough room to fit all the participants, along with a viewing area for anyone who opts against taking the frigid dip. Nearby bathrooms and changing rooms will be heated.
Check-in is between 10 and 11:30 a.m. the morning of the event. To register as a team or as an individual, visit www.polarplungeNY.org/splishsplash and click “Register Here.” Anyone who raises at least $150 will receive an official Polar Plunge sweatshirt. The more money that is raised, the more prizes will become available.
According to a press release, over 67,000 Special Olympics New York athletes train and compete in 22 different Olympic-style sports each year. Athletes and their families or caregivers are never charged to participate and each athlete costs about $400 to sponsor for a season.
“Over the course of the years that we’ve been here we’ve done a number of things with Make A Wish and for kids with disabilities,” Bengtson said. “We have a number of athletes come here from the Special Olympics throughout the summer … 100 percent of the money goes directly to them.”