NEW BEDFORD — Bundled up in towels, with wisps of their hair blowing in the salt air, sisters Niyah and Laisha Boone, ages 13 and 11, and their friend, Courtney Boies, 13, bore big-toothed grins.
The girls from Fall River and Swansea had just spent two hours Friday climbing and diving off a new inflatable floating water park called Altitude H20 that opened recently at East Beach on Buzzards Bay.
“I’ve been to something like this before, but it was in a pool,” Laisha said, her black braids dripping water onto a concrete pier. “This is next-level stuff.”
Laisha said her favorite part was jumping off one of the towers, against the backdrop of a clear blue sky. “It felt like flying,” she said.
“I wish they had this stuff when I was younger,” her mother, Rachel Boone, said. “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to the south coast.”
The colorful playground — with monkey bars, a trampoline, climbing walls, and balance beams — came as a welcome addition to the beach for many families, who sought relief from the scorching heat.
The city last month announced a partnership with Altitude Trampoline Park, a private company in Texas, to operate the 30,000-square-foot water park. Admission costs $20 for a 45-minute session and $30 for 90 minutes, according to the website.
New Bedford is the company’s first location in the Northeast, said Amy Goldman, vice president of sales. About 40 new jobs have been created at the park, including lifeguards.
“It’s hard, because I have to run through an obstacle course to save people,” said Ben Frenette, 16, of New Bedford, who is working his first summer job.
Since opening last Saturday, the bright yellow, green, and blue floating obstacle course has been a hit with people of all ages.
“They should have an adult night,” said Paulette Chiaraluce of Wareham, as she watched her grandchildren, Sophia, 11, and Collin, 9. “Wouldn’t that be fun? Then you don’t have to worry about hurting any little children.”
“Sometimes you climb all the way to the top just to fall down,” Sophia said of a steep incline that sent her plunging into the refreshing water. “It’s really, really slippery.”
Jeanie Catz, 49, and her 8-year-old son, Eli Sparling, who are regular visitors to East Beach, tried the park out on Friday.
An avid gymnast and swimmer, Eli tumbled across slippery, narrow bridges with ease. Catz displayed a valiant effort to keep up, inching across difficult passages on her bottom.
‘I’ve been to something like this before, but it was in a pool.’
“I’m a little nervous,” Catz said, before swimming from the shore to the structure. “ He’s more agile than I am.”
Once on the structure, Catz gained confidence and soon the two were laughing their way across the massive playground.
The two were making the most of Eli’s summer vacation, before he heads back to school mid-August. “We’re taking advantage of everything we can.”Sarah Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @sara_wu_