Honestly, what could possibly be better during the hot summer months than to cool off in a big ol’ swimming pool?
Go, ahead. We’ll wait.
Couldn’t think of anything, could ya? That’s because nothing quite beats a refreshing dip when the thermometer goes way up and the weather is sizzlin’ hot. (Our sincerest apologies to Cole Porter.) Of course, not everyone is lucky enough to have a pool in their backyard. Thankfully, there are public pools all across this great land of ours. Some are your standard chlorinated, Olympic-size pools with diving boards, but others are fed by fresh-water underground springs, or feature waterfalls, waterslides, lazy rivers, tide pools, and pretty much any other water park feature you can name.
So let’s dive in! (But, hey, only if diving is allowed, and only into the deep end. Let’s all stay safe out there.)
Republic Aquatic Center, Republic, Missouri
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The people of Republic, Missouri take their water activities very seriously. The town decided to upgrade its municipal swimming and make it the fully fledged Republic Aquatic Center. The facility’s various water attractions feature one- and three-meter diving boards, corkscrew and speed slides, a six-lane lap pool, and a floating walk traversing the pool. There’s a special spray-and-splash fountain area for the kids. And for slightly bigger kids looking to hang ten some 400 miles from the nearest ocean, there’s a thrilling surf simulator called “The Huna.” The facility also offers swimming lessons and water exercise classes. Admission is just $7.50, although you’ll need to spring for an extra $3 for an all-day pass to rude the Huna.
Venetian Pool, Coral Gables, Florida
Some pools are so spectacular, they’re worth making a special trip to, even from out of state. One such pool is the Venetian in Coral Gables, Florida. Much more than a pool, the Venetian is an aquatic destination, featuring a Venetian style bridge that leads to an island in the middle of the pool, swaying palm trees, and a cascading waterfall. The pool was created in 1924 on the site of a former rock quarry, and can hold up to 820,000 gallons. The water is fresh, drawn from an underground aquifer. The pool is actually emptied a refilled on a daily basis. The days when the pool is open and opening hours vary, so be sure to check before you go. Ticket for non-residents are $21 for adults and $13 for children, and are available ahead of time at the pool’s website.
Bay Aquatic Park, Broomfield, Colorado
Even when you’re up in the mountains, it can sometimes get hot enough that you might want to take a swim. If you happen to be in the Denver, the mile-high city itself, during a heat wave, you might want to head up to Broomfield, Colorado to cool things down. About an hour north of Denver you’ll find Bay Aquatic Park, a public swimming facility designed especially for families with kids 13 years of age and under. Once you’re there, you’ll find a leisure pool with zero-depth entry, serpentine slides, racing slides, an inner-tube slide, and a number of splash-and-play areas for children, including an interactive water play structure (basically, a jungle gym/playground setup with ample water features). Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for teens, and $5 for tots age 4 and up.
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Barton Springs, Austin, Texas
Out of the roughly 350 acres of Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, roughly three of those acres are taking up by the enormous fresh-water pool at Barton Springs. The pool is roughly 1,000 feet long, and made from natural limestone. The water bubbles forth from underground springs and typically boasts a temperature of about 70 degrees, so the pool is open to swimmers the year round. The pool ranges in depth from zero to eighteen feet deep, and attracts more than 800,000 visitors each year, including a healthy complement of students from the nearby University of Texas at Austin campus. There’s a educational center adjacent to the pool where you can learn about its history as well as that of the aquifer that supplies its temperate waters. Day passes for non-residents are just $9 for adults and $4 to $5 for kids.
Papio Bay Aquatic Center, Papillion, Nebraska
You may have noticed that most of the pools listed here are in the middle of the country. Yeah, it’s not just the folks on the coast who like to enjoy the pleasures of a swim. Middle America loves the water too. And nowhere is this more true than Papillion, Nebraska. Just outside of Omaha you’ll find the Papio Bay Aquatic Center, which features five acres of swimming and water recreation. The Papio Bay features heated water throughout the park, a zero-depth entry swimming pool, a children’s butterfly slide, two water slides, wading pools, and diving boards. For those not interested in the water, there are also sandy areas for such sporting activities as volleyball courts. Admission is only $6 for adults, and $5 for kids.
So, if you’re booking vacations this summer, be sure to pack your swim trunks. Because no matter where you go, there’s bound to be some refreshing water fun to be had once you arrive.
Do you have a favorite local swimming hole or aquatic park that we might have missed? Let us know in the comments below.