Activity center

Activity center at Lake Monroe, city pools are now open

As in-person events gain traction and facilities reopen, some wonder if the pivot to virtual events and programming will continue.

For Jill Vance, interpretive naturalist at Lake Monroe, they will.

Most of the Lake Monroe facilities have already opened for the summer recreation season, but the two things that opened this weekend are the swimming beach and the state recreation area activity center. from Paynetown.

“We normally open this for Memorial Day weekend of the season, but it’s a little more exciting for me because with the pandemic we’ve kept the building closed all last year,” Vance said. “So we’re just going to resume our normal operating program so I’m delighted to reopen it. ”

Jill Vance, Interpretive Naturalist at Paynetown State Recreation Area at Lake Monroe, pictured in 2015

With the center closed for over a year, Vance has found a way to continue programming on Monroe Lake’s Facebook page through virtual programming, and she has no plans to stop.

“The goal was to continue providing interpretation and programming services to people when they couldn’t physically come and visit us, or at least maybe they could come to the park, but we weren’t in the park. a situation where we could do it in per person programming, ”Vance said. “So to continue to provide this service, to provide an interpretation of the history, flora and fauna of our parks so that people can always access them.”

For the holiday weekend, from May 28 to 31, the activity center is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Summer hours for the activity center are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Sunday. The center includes the naturalist’s office, craft and coloring table, children’s play area, live snakes, wall displays, board games, puzzle table, library, information, Hoosier Quest and a recycling center for aluminum cans and plastic beverage bottles.

Vance offers videos on topics such as the science of leaf color; the extirpation, reintroduction and current status of bald eagles in Indiana; and wildflower identification, with videos receiving thousands of views. His favorite, however, is a video series called Gone but Not Forgotten, which matches his passion for history and the history of cemeteries in particular.

“I made four videos in the series last winter to choose a person to profile essentially in conjunction with the cemetery they are buried in,” Vance said. “These had some really interesting stories and really piqued my personal interest. “

Vance has said the series will be on hiatus during the summer months, but that she hopes to restart it after.

Video programs won’t make up the bulk of the programming, but will continue as they reach important new audiences, Vance said.

“I have people watching from the west coast, the east coast, other countries,” Vance said. “These are not people that I would have the chance to see, period, during the regular programs. So that’s been very helpful, I think, in creating new audiences for us and getting people to come to that part of Indiana at some point in the future.

Vance said his plan for the future is usually to have one live event per month and post a video or two each month. There will be less in the summer with in-person programming, but she plans to have more videos in the winter.

Vance’s video programs can be viewed on the Monroe Lake Facebook page. Upcoming events are available at and Some upcoming events include Flora Field Day on June 1, Youth Fishing Tournament on June 5, Free Fishing Weekend on June 5 and 6, and Beginner Kayak on multiple dates.

The city’s swimming pools also open

The two outdoor pools of the City of Bloomington’s Parks and Recreation Department, Bryan Park Pool and Mills Pool, open on Saturday for the 2021 season. Pools have not opened in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The Bryan Park Pool, located at 1020 S. Woodlawn Ave., is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily until September 6, with shorter hours starting August 4, when Monroe County Community School Corp. resumes its activities.

Mills Pool, at 1100 W. 14th St., is open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. until August 3.

Admission fees for both pools are $ 5 per person for youth and adults. Children 3 and under are admitted free.

The Bryan Park Pool is featured in 2016. The two pools operated by the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department remained closed in the summer of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  They reopen in 2021 over Memorial Day weekend.

Season pass costing $ 50 which provides unlimited entry to Bryan Park Pool and Mills Pool for one person during the summer 2021 season. An Economy Punch Pass, valid for 20 admissions in total per identical or different people, costs $ 85. Economy passes and Seasonal passes can be purchased at Bryan Park Pool by cash, check or credit card throughout the season.

For more information on swimming lessons or waiver of pool admission fees, visit

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