DALTON, Ga. — Gabriel Fernandez laughed as his mother pushed him in a swing on the playground at Haig Mill Lake Park Friday afternoon.
"He really loves this playground, and it's such a beautiful day," his mother Maria said. "With the warm weather, we've been coming here pretty often."
Built with $5 million from the 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST), the 300-acre park opened last September.
The park started its summer hours on Friday. It will be open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day through Aug. 1.
The Dalton Parks and Recreation Department has also begun renting kayaks Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 7 p.m.
But Parks and Recreation Department director Mike Miller said inclement weather could affect those hours. Summer storms, he says, will curtail kayak rentals for safety reasons.
Mayor Dennis Mock says he's excited about the kayak rentals, which allow visitors to paddle around the 126-acre reservoir.
"This is something new we are doing, and I think as more people find out about it, it's going to be really popular," he said.
The cost for a single-seat kayak is $10 per hour, and the cost for a two-seat kayak is $15 per hour. They launch from a handicapped-accessible ramp.
Those who own kayaks can bring them and launch them from the ramp, too.
That's what Ben Smith was doing Friday afternoon.
"I've come out here before," he said. "The lake is just beautiful, and on a day like today, it's really relaxing to be out there."
Miller said the recreation department has four two-seat kayaks and six single-seat kayaks and is considering buying two more two-seat kayaks and three or more single-seat kayaks. The department is also looking at buying one or two paddle-wheel boats, which riders peddle like a bike.
"These boats will allow up to four riders," he said.
The playground and kayaking aren't the only attractions at the park. There's a 3.5-mile hiking and bike trail that circles the lake, as well as multiple docks for fishing.
Dalton pool, splash pad now open for summer
Swimming is not allowed at Dalton's Haig Mill Lake Park because the reservoir is a source of drinking water for the city.
But the city Parks and Recreation Department offers other ways for residents to get wet -- and cool down -- this summer.
The swimming pool at the John Davis Recreation Center and the splash pad at the Mack Gaston Community Center both opened this week and remain open through Aug. 4.
Pool hours are Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m.; Friday family nights from 6:30 to 9; Saturday from noon to 5 p.m; and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $3 per person or $2 a person on Friday family nights.
Splash pad hours are Monday through Friday from 2 to 6 p.m., Saturday from noon to 5 p.m and Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. Admission is $2 per person.
The John Davis Recreation Center is at 904 Civic Drive, and the Mack Gaston Community Center is at 218 N. Fredrick St.