Hammond offers a myriad of outdoor activities for end of summer fun

Kellyn Vale
By: Kellyn Vale Last Updated: August 25, 2020

With summer winding down and schools starting up, many families are looking for one last opportunity for fun in the sun before getting back to the academic grind. Fortunately, the City of Hammond has plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy while the weather is warm. Just off of Calumet Avenue, Hammond’s Wolf Lake serves as a hub for activity and fun.

“Wolf Lake offers a lot of cool options,” said Phil Taillon, Chief of Staff for the City of Hammond. “We have canoes and kayaks there for rent, a huge pavilion that serves as a concert and entertainment venue, and the city’s original splashpad.”

Rentals are $10 per craft per hour, and run from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The last boat must be returned by 6:00 p.m. Starting September 8 through 30, rentals will run from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and the last boat must be in by 5:00 p.m. Rates will not change.

“It’s a lot of fun, and something that people can come back and do over and over again and still have a great experience each time.”

Through Labor Day, splashpad sessions begin every two hours starting at 10:00 a.m. September 8 through 30 the splashpad will be open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Access is free to the public.

“The splashpad is great for families, especially those with young kids,” Taillon said. “Families will bring their own chairs and relax while the kids run around and have a great time.”

The splashpad is certainly one of Hammond’s most popular attractions, drawing a lot of attention during the hot summer months.

“Even when we had a community pool in the city we never got close to the attendance level that we have with the splashpad,” Taillon said. “It’s a quicker way for kids and families to cool off and have some fun.”

Hammond is also a great place for walkers, runners, and bikers looking to do their daily workouts outdoors, as it is home to a collection of walking and biking paths that wind throughout the City.

“We have the most walking and biking trails per capita of any city or town in Northwest Indiana,” Taillon said. “We’ve created a cool system that runs all over with bridges, mile markers, and is always expanding. We’ve also made it very safe, and we’re proud to have accomplished that. If anyone hasn’t been on the trails I highly recommend they check it out.”

The splashpad, along with other areas, has recently reopened in light of COVID-19 with some new regulations and safety measures.

“We have people bring their own seating and encourage them to use disinfectant before and after setting up,” Taillon said. “We also have a lower capacity and turn off the water every hour for cleaning.”

As Indiana moves into the later stages of reopening, other areas in Hammond have continued to reopen as well, including the city’s Sportsplex.

“Since we’re in stage 4.5 for Indiana, the Sportsplex has begun to reopen with a few changes,” Taillon said. “We have limitations for how many people can be in certain areas, and social distancing and mask wearing is in full effect. We can now have a maximum occupancy of 250 people, and with that a lot of our programs have taken right off again.”

Sportsplex offers a wide variety of activities, and rec leagues, including basketball, volleyball, soccer, wrestling, and more.

“They’re doing a lot of wonderful things over there, always introducing a new sport or activity,” Taillon said. “Recently there was a tae kwon do tournament, and they’ve added wrestling and pickle ball to the available activities.”

“We’re always discussing new things to implement and keep people active, and not limit ourselves to what we currently offer.” he said.

To learn more about all the fun activities Hammond has to offer, visit: http://www.gohammond.com/departments/parks-and-recreation/