Erik Ugland, right, tosses the Frisbee as his son, Gus Ugland, 13, jumps off a pier at Hattie Sherwood beach. Tim Lyke photo
by Hannah Tetzlaff
Living in this unbearably sultry oven this July, I wish for nothing more than to jump into a cool lake.
Luckily, in Green Laker country, beaches, an aquatic center and splash pad are just a back flip, cannonball and swan dive away.
According to Green Lake Chamber of Commerce host Tina Moser, Big Green offers three public sandy beaches where humanfish may relax and swim.
The largest of the three beaches is located at Dodge Memorial County Park, off County Road K on the southwest side of the lake.
“That one’s a bigger beach [and] it’s got a bigger pavilion there [than the other beaches],” Moser said. “If you’ve got little kids, it’s got a swing set area as well.”
Along with swings and a teeter totter, kids may enjoy playing on bouncy toys or building castles in the sand.
If families become hungry after splashing around in the water or playing a round of volleyball on the lawn area, then they may heat up some brats and burgers on the stationary grills, located throughout the park, and have a family picnic in the pavilion.
Families interested in fishing and boating, as mine is, may set their vessels afoat from one of the three boat launches at the park, and cool down as they tour the lake.
Once the family decides to leave, parents and their kids may change out of their wet swimsuits at the bathrooms and changing rooms.
Moser listed Hattie Sherwood Beach, 451 South Lawson Dr., as another great sandy destination for families that’s only half a mile from downtown Green Lake.
After visiting ice cream and sub shops downtown, individuals may trek to the sandy beach.
It sports a pavilion and restrooms for the public to enjoy along with shallow, sandy water, which may be great for young kids to play in.
Since the beach is connected to a peninsula with a tree-lined, grassy area, visitors may picnic in the shade while watch the lake antics.
Farther down along the shoreline is a pier from which young and old fishing enthusiasts may cast out their poles in hope for a bite.
Among the tall trees and historic prayer towers of the Green Lake Conference Center, there lies a small sandy shore open to the public.
Located at W2511 off Highway 23, the center’s beach has a small dock where parents may sit and supervise their children as they play in the sand and water.
Near the beach, children may explore and host mock-battles in the playground area, which hosts swing sets, a jungle-gym and octoball pit.
Beyond the playground area are two beach-volleyball courts that groups may use along with a boat rental should families desire to go out onto the water.
After eating lunch at one of the picnic tables, families may explore the Worldwide Gifts shop, located by the beach, and see neat knickknacks from countries around the world.
Though it does not offer a sandy beach, Sunset Park (or “The Inlet” as we locals call it) boasts a sandy shoreline where boaters may anchor their crafts and swim in the shallow water.
Two boat launches enable boaters and fishermen to enter the water with their boats from the park.
Changing rooms and bathrooms are available for families needing a place to switch into and out of their swimming gear.
Another site that is popular amongst boaters for in-water activities is Norwegian Bay.
During the afternoon, boats dot the shallow bay as adults and children alike suntan on their crafts, play catch and splash around.
Beaches and lakes may not be for everyone, and if that’s the case, then individuals may enjoy the Berlin Aquatic Center located at 255 Webster St.
The center offers a pool with a gradual beach-like entry, floor water fountains, plastic squirting sea animals, water slides, diving boards, a mushroom waterfall and a water-basketball hoop.
As children swim and run through the water, parents may relax in the deck chairs while trained lifeguards supervise the center.
Should visitors want to spend the entire day at the center, they can grab food and drinks at the concession stand.
The center is open noon to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
To enter the aquatic center, individuals are required to pay an admission fee.
Children ages 3 and under are free while ages 4 to 17 are $2.50, adults ages 18 and over are $3.50 and adult seniors ages 62 and over are $2.50.
However, the center offers weekly specials, meaning families only need to pay $5 if they visit after 5 p.m. and have six members or less in their groups.
Adults may enjoy a discounted fee of $2 if they swim from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
To see other weekly deals or to learn more, visit www.cityofberlin.net/modules/web/index.php/id/63/aquaticcenter or call 920-361-5426.
Families who may desire a free option or a place closer to Ripon may visit Riggs County Park’s Splash Pad, N8137 Douglas St., Ripon.
The pad features waterfalls, water spouts and whirligigs.
It is free of charge and individuals need only push a button on a flower-shaped pedestal to turn on the water features.
“It’s there for the community [to use], and the county was happy to be able to put that project together with the impetus of the Ripon Noon Kiwanis,” Fond du Lac County Planning and Development Director Sam Tobias said. “It wouldn’t have happened without them. We’re glad to provide the Splash Pad home in the Ripon community.”
The pad is operational 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week from spring to fall.