Dublin water park reaches pre-pandemic attendance as heatwave scorches the East Bay

For the first time in two summers, families were splashing and sliding around once again at Dublin's The Wave Water Park Thursday, looking for an escape from the triple-digit temperatures.

The Wave, Dublin's city-run community water park, re-opened on Tuesday after being shut down all of last summer. As temperatures escalated over Wednesday and Thursday, so did park attendance, reaching nearly 500 visitors on Thursday, according to Danny Weber, the Wave's aquatic supervisor.

"That's about our weekday average pre-pandemic. So definitely with the heat, we're seeing people come back today," Weber said.

Jenny Torbeck said she knew Thursday was forecast to be the hottest day of the week and decided to bring her two sons ages six and three-and-a-half to the water park.

"In the water, it feels fine, you wouldn't even know it's 108 or whatever crazy temperatures it is today," Torbeck said.

Parents said they're grateful to have more activities available this summer, remember what life was like a year ago when avoiding the heat meant sitting at home.

"We were here two years ago, and then we missed the last year of course because of Coronavirus, so we're happy to be back," John Keating, who brought his family from Danville to the water park, said.

Like many businesses reopening and building back capacity this week, the water park is short some 30 lifeguard swim instructors, and is limiting how long some of the slides are open due to low staffing, Weber said, hoping to hire more staff soon.

Nearby, Livermore's community center served as a cooling center, offering water bottles and an air-conditioned place to sit, but only saw a handful of visitors on Thursday.

Dozens of Bay Area cooling centers have opened in the past couple of days, but they're still limiting the scope of their services, and mandating social distancing and mask-wearing, per state shelter guidelines.