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What Doggie Paddle Day Can Teach Us About Promoting Recreational Venues

Doggie Paddle Day

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On September 11th, the pools at Pelican Bay Aquatic Center opened their doors to the galloping of lots of little feet, but it might not be what you think. Dogs (and their owners) from all around Edmond, OK converged on the water park to splash, bark, pant, and enjoy a day of frolicking at the first annual Doggie Paddle Day. For $10 per dog, they got the run of the park, which they aren’t normally allowed to enter. However, this was the last day prior to the park closing for the season. In addition to the four-legged fun, visitors enjoyed games, vendor tables and a food truck. “We created Doggie Paddle Day because these types of events can introduce a wider audience to the facility, which is a critical part of serving our community”, said Marina Wells, General Manager of Pelican Bay Aquatic Center.

Doggie Paddle Day and similar events may seem small in scope, but they are a key part of successful recreation center management. While many people will naturally find your community recreation center, developing events and programming for all residents brings in people who may not find it. Wells hopes that this and other community events will be the cornerstone to achieving even greater success in 2022 and beyond.

The lessons abound, however there are three important ones that Doggie Paddle Day can teach us about promoting recreational venues.

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Community Events Help Your Recreation Center Standout

Let’s face it, many community recreation centers are in fierce battles with private sector facilities that provide similar services. While there are other gyms, pools, or basketball courts in your city, recreation centers stand at the heart of the community and can capitalize on this by understanding the needs of citizens and building upon that knowledge with relevant events. Pelican Bay hopes to continue to build a unique connection with its community with events such as Daddy-daughter days and through celebrating Autism Awareness and honoring first responders.

Events Bring in New Segments of your Community to your Recreation Center

According to, nearly 50 percent of homes in Oklahoma City (Pelican Bay is 24 minutes away) own a dog. This is a large segment of the population and a large opportunity to introduce people who may be pet owners but don’t have children to the water park. The water park is not exclusively used or marketed to families, but as with most water parks, they are the ones who frequent the park. Doggie Paddle Day opens Pelican Bay to a new audience that may attend other events in the future or bring out of town visitors.

Events Can Attract Local Businesses

In the future, Wells plans to build more partnerships with local businesses who can support Doggie Paddle Day and have a presence at the event. Companies like healthcare providers and insurance companies, for example, have an objective of presenting their services to as many people as possible. Recreation center events provide the platform to engage the community in a fun way that shows true community integration.

Doggie Paddle Day is just one example of the work that Pelican Bay and other venues within the SF Network are doing to serve their communities. To learn more about the SF Network, visit their site at And if you are ready to elevate your community recreation center, call us at 727-474-3845.

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