Dogs playing in the water at the Waterpark at Coconut Cove.
Photo by Palm Beach Parks and Recreation.
A Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department event will provide an entertaining reminder that the dog days of summer persist in South Florida even when the calendar says it’s fall.
Saturday, Oct. 8, is Waggin’ at the Waterpark at Coconut Cove Waterpark in Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park in Boca Raton from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
“We’ve had it here every year since 2015, except for 2017 because of a hurricane and 2020 because of COVID,” says Diana Rodriguez, the recreation facility manager at Calypso Bay Waterpark, which held its dog day Oct. 1. “The idea was a combination between the waterpark leadership teams here and at Coconut Cove, along with our supervisors.”
The canine splashdowns involve two 50-minute sessions for dogs weighing 45 pounds and up, with a 50-minute session in between for dogs weighing less than 45 pounds. All take place in roughly 1 foot of water in Coconut Cove’s interactive water playground and allow all varieties of dogs.
“These gatherings have become pretty common across the country,” Rodriguez says, “with seasonal facilities like waterparks closing their seasons to humans and having events just for dogs. And we have more large dogs than small, so we have two sessions for them.”
Rodriguez remembers more than 100 dogs participating in a single 50-minute session and more than 300 on a day.
Owners may accompany their dogs in the shallow water playground or watch from a seating area. All other areas of the waterpark are closed.
“It’s become one of everyone’s favorite days of the year,” Rodriguez says. “All the dogs have gotten along together, playing and chasing balls and each other through the water. Some of them are afraid to get in the water, but they end up playing with each other and their humans on the pool deck.”
Coconut Cove went to the dogs in 2016 with its larger interactive water playground.
“We’d started getting people inquiring about the event and requesting it,” says Andrea Walsh, the recreation facility manager at Coconut Cove. “It’s become a very friendly, fun event.”
Like Calypso Bay, Coconut Cove canceled its canine events in 2017 and 2020 for storm and virus reasons, respectively. But the Boca Raton park’s increased size makes for extra deck space for water-shy dogs and their owners and more possibilities for dogs that like the water.
“We have an open pool space attached to our playground,” Walsh says. “Some of the dogs will actually swim laps there.”
Waggin’ at the Waterpark features sessions at 10 a.m. and noon for dogs 45 pounds and up and at 11 a.m. for dogs lighter than 45 pounds. Coconut Cove Waterpark is at 20130 Regional Park Drive in Boca Raton (561-629-8840).
Adult owners must accompany the dogs and must provide proof of current rabies, DHLP and bordetella vaccinations, which can be submitted by email in advance. The fee is $10 plus tax for each dog, with a two-dog limit per adult.
Registration starts at 9 a.m. and reopens 30 minutes before each session if there is still room. Dogs must wear their collars and licenses in the pool areas.
For all rules and a registration form, visit www.pbcsplash.com.