The Polar Bear Plunge

flock of penguins near sea

A tradition for our family has been starting each New Year’s Day with a Polar Bear Plunge! I can remember before our first thinking that those people were crazy, and I still really believe that!

We started about 12 years ago, when our local YMCA was holding one at their outdoor pool! My kids and I showed up with about 10 other brave jumpers on that cold morning, with temperatures in the high 30’s, and we all lined up for our turn to make a splash for the New Year. A local television station was also there, and not only was my cannon ball caught on tape, but so was the incident that followed later when my then 6-year-old daughter purposefully pushed me back in the pool! While I sat shivering with my husband and 1-year-old in the Chicken Zone, our two oldest continued to perfect their cannon balls in the 50 degree water! (The Arlington YMCA will host their 8th Polar Plunge on January 1st!).

We continued to visit the YMCA for two more years on New Year’s Day, until we heard about the Polar Plunge at one of our favorite pools, Barton Springs Pool in Austin! The beautiful, historic pool, built in the spring-fed Barton Springs Creek, is an Austin icon, and while lines to enter the pool can include hour long waits during the Summer, the pool is open year-round, thanks to the constant 72 degree spring water. Polar Plunges at Barton Springs are a BIG thing, and there’s usually no telling what you will see! We’ve jumped on freezing cold days and days when the water felt so good we ended up staying to swim for a few hours. Another plus is there is always a fun show to watch, and my husband is usually good to just sit back on the grass and watch! You’ll see plungers in fantastic costumes, bare polar bear plungers, usually UT students, who make tons of noise as the race down the hill to the chilly water!

We’re heading back to South Padre this year, for the huge Polar Plunge at Clayton’s Beach Bar in South Padre Island, in which you rush out into the surf of South Padre. We’ve done it a couple of times before and both years were cold, even though just days before we had been playing in the water! Here’s hoping that it’s a little warmer in 2022!

Last year we thought we had found a new tradition, the Dino Dive at the Blue Hole at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose! This is their 6th year to hold the event, and it’s a blast, with jumpers in dinosaur costumes!

Corpus Christi holds an annual Polar Bear Plunge on New Year’s Day on North Beach, and while it was cancelled for 2021, it will be back this year! The event requires a registration, which includes a t-shirt and a drink at Fajitaville, also on North Beach!

Surfside Beach is hosting a Polar Plunge on January 1st at 10am!

The annual Pfluegerville Pfreeze Pflop at the Scott B. Mentzer Pool is free with a canned food donation on January 1st at 9-10am! It’s a fun ride down the slide into the chilly water!

Not all Polar Plunges happen on New Year’s Day. NRH2O Waterpark in North Richland Hills, has their 2022 Plunge planned for Saturday, February 5th, with proceeds going to Special Olympics! It’s a fun water slide ride, too!

The Granbury Goosebump Jump will be held on January 15th at Granbury City Beach Park. This is their 2nd year for the event!

Keep Having Fun in the Texas Sun!


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