As our communities continue to fight coronavirus and Covid-19, many of our summer activities that we count on are still up in the air. Especially when it comes to summer entertainment and activities, we just don't know when or if those places will open up this year or later this Fall. The City of Amarillo's Parks and Recreation Department is announcing several changes to the summer schedule this year.

The first announcement is that all city outdoor public pools that are run Parks and Recreation Department will not open for the summer season. This also includes the popular summer recreation programs held each year. However, in adherence with executive orders from the office of Governor Greg Abbott, the indoor pool at the Warford Activity Center will reopen on May 18. Splash pads will open pending additional guidance from the governor’s office, such as social distancing protocols.

Along with the Warford Center Pool, the city is going forward to open the Amarillo Zoo on May 18 with social distancing protocols and related guidelines. Small zoos, like ours in Amarillo, are struggling to pay bills as there has been no cash flow due to no visitors. And while the zoo is closed, the daily costs of taking care of the animals and the facilities remains in place.

"These are challenging times, and these decisions were not made without thorough consideration and analysis,” said Michael Kashuba, director of the Amarillo Parks & Recreation Department. “It is hard to imagine summer in the Texas Panhandle without going to the pool or participating in the recreation program. We realize that our community needs adequate recreation, now more than ever. Our staff is committed to exploring new ways to serve our city amidst the many challenges.”

The city also announced that Parks and Recreation staff will continue their work with the Amarillo Independent School District to provide lunches for the summer lunch program.