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A few lucky children got a big surprise when they visited Barnett Park this morning. They were the first to get splashed by a tipping bucket the Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department added to its popular splash pad.

The youngsters had to wait a few minutes while city workers made some adjustments. But it paid off with wet, splashy surprises.

Part of the fun is that the water doesn’t always come down exactly where you think it will.

Parks officials decided to add the overhead splasher when they discovered they could not repair an alligator feature that was an original part of the splash pad that opened in December 2004.

The new equipment , officially called VersoSplash and manufactured by Minnesota-based Aquatix, cost just over $39,000 and was funded through the city’s Public Improvement Fund.

The Barnett Park splash pad is open every day but Wednesday. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it’s free to use.

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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