We typically see mascots in sports arenas and major theme parks, bringing joy to visitors. What if you want that same energy in your facility?

How can a mascot help me? The benefits are endless. Successfully weaving a mascot into programming and making it a part of community outreach will create many memorable moments for customers. It is an icon of your facility, bringing instant recognition to people who see it. They also can be used as comic relief during customer-service issues such as fecal incident shutdowns. The mascot's image can be incorporated into marketing materials of all kinds, as well as swim lesson completion cards. Creating promotions on social media with your mascot also can increase customer engagement.

• How do I pick a mascot? If your town has a claim to fame, use it. DropZone Waterpark in Perris, Calif. — the sky-diving capital of the world — has an aviation theme, as well as Jumper, a yellow dog who serves as mascot, donned in flight goggles, scarf, and Hawaiian board shorts. The most successful mascots typically are furry and have an open mouth: Children are drawn to furry animals, and an open mouth creates a feeling of openness and approachability. The coloring should complement your brand palette.

How do I select a costume? These vary greatly in cost, depending on uniqueness and materials. Generic animal costumes can sell for approximately $1,000. With a facility shirt, you can customize your mascot economically. If you want something more unique, custom costumes generally run $5,000 to $7,000, depending on if they are waterproof. Always invest in high-quality shoes and a cooling vest for summer.