Last fall, while out for a walk, I noticed a strange, round concrete pad surrounded by a ledge at a local park. Last month, while walking past the same park, I stopped to read the sign next to the pad. It turns out that my city has a wading pool program every summer in a number of city parks. How sweet is that? It’s not as convenient as the public pool across the street, but it is free. The pools are open weekday afternoons, with a few of the pools being open into the evenings and on weekends.
Last week, I took my kid to the round pool, but the ledge proved to be a problem–when my kid sees a ledge, she sees a challenge. Ledges are to be climbed. Also, the water was pretty cold for her that day. There was a college girl on staff at the pool handing out bubbles and sidewalk chalk, which a couple little girls were enjoying.
Today, I met up with some local mothers and we hit up a different wading pool. This place was sweet and full of kids. Mothers (and a few fathers) were eating lunch with kids in the shade around the pool.
The kids were mostly in the preschool age group and were generally playing nicely with the other kids. I wanted to take a bunch of cool pictures, but I don’t want to post pictures of other people’s kids swimming…the place was too busy to get many pictures without any kids!
I observed one instance of a crying child who couldn’t find her mother. Another girl asked her what was wrong and recruited her own mother to help until the family was reunited. The mother was about fifteen feet away the whole time, and may have watched the saga without being able to hear because the fountains were in the way. Did I mention there are fountains at this pool? Of to the side were a swing set and some slides and such. I didn’t see any sidewalk chalk or bubbles, but there were many opportunities for a kid to have fun.
My girl enjoyed this pool more because it has a gentle slope to the center instead of a climbable ledge. Even though this pool is called a “wading pool,” it’s more of a swimming pool for the under-5 set.
Looking for some cheap or free fun? Check with your city parks, or other local cities’ parks. Most city websites can be a pain to navigate, but if you search ,“[your city] parks and rec”, you’ll likely get straight to the parks page. You might find some fun for adults and older kids, too. Several other towns nearby us have band concerts on summer evenings with reasonably priced food vendors (occasionally free popcorn, too).