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Pawnee Plunge prepares to open as jam-packed summer events gear up

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It’s a sign of the summer in Columbus when the Pawnee Plunge opens for the season, said City of Columbus Parks and Recreation Coordinator Betsy Eckhardt.

The Plunge is opening its doors on May 28, Memorial Day weekend. It will be open from noon to 7 p.m. daily at 560 33rd Ave.

“It’s a great opportunity for the community,” Eckhardt said. “The Plunge is one of the staples and one of the great places Columbus has to offer for both residents and people coming into town for tournaments or stay for family weekends so it’s important that the Pawnee Plunge opens.”

The pool has several amenities for folks to enjoy, Eckhardt said, including the lap pool, lazy river, waterslides, a kiddie pool area and the FlowRider. Columbus is the only place in Nebraska that has a FlowRider, Eckhardt said.

“There’s something for everybody of all ages,” she said. “Your toddlers will have fun, your teenagers will have fun, Mom and Dad will have fun and even Grandma and Grandpa. They’ll have fun if they’re taking the kids.”

Columbus Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Katy McNeil said she’s excited that the facility will be open to the public soon.

“The Plunge is a summer staple for visitors and residents alike in Columbus and Platte County,” McNeil said. “It’s a fun place for the whole family to splash and play! I know I have enjoyed many an evening at the Plunge floating in the lazy river and it brings visitors in from all around the state. With the lineup of baseball, softball and soccer coming this summer, it will be busier than ever. We have a packed summer of youth sports.”

The Plunge isn't the only stop for fun-seekers this summer; the city is going to have a packed schedule as it’s hosting a plethora of events.

Through the parks and rec department, the city is holding its summer concert series, Thursday night farmers market and movie nights at Frankfort Square. All three start in June. 

A new event this year is fitness classes – which begin later this month – at Pawnee Park, Eckhardt said.

She added the city “is ramping up” its summer park program, a day camp from 1-5 p.m. held at various local parks. It is held at different sites each week and costs $10, Eckhardt said. She noted the camp is a way for kids to learn and enjoy the fresh air over the summer.

Eckhardt said she was thrilled to host these events.

“It’s a blessing to have people come out and enjoy everything Columbus has to offer,” she said. “The parks and rec department is fairly new so we’re excited to be able to show the community all of the fun stuff that you can do in Columbus.”

Eckhardt said she’s looking forward to the summertime happenings.

“We’re excited for summer this year,” she said.

Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at


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