Summer break will be here before we know it, and soon we’ll all feel the urge to be poolside. Luckily, we’ve found the best spots to get your tadpoles comfortable and happy in the water. Read on for indoor and outdoor options that offer the best swim lessons for your tiny tots.

photo: Peter & Joyce Grace via flickr

Portland Parks and Recreation
Lessons are available at 12 Portland Parks and Rec pools (take note: Buckman Pool is closed until further notice). The five indoor pools are open all year and the seven outdoor pools are open from mid-June through the end of August. You’ll find a combination of instructors that have been around for a long time along with teens who have been trained specifically to work with PP&R. Portland residents love this option because the classes are affordable, the quality of instruction is great and a variety of times and locations are available.

Ages: 3 years and up
Cost: Starting at $92

Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation
Swimmers of all levels can find a class they need through Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation. There are 8 pool centers, two of which are open during the summer only. The Beaverton Swim Center keeps their indoor, L-shaped pool at 86 degrees (perfect for the youngest swimmers!) and they have two family changing rooms. This location is also the primary host for the Specialized Aquatics Program for children with developmental delays and physical limitations. One-on-one instruction and goal-setting are just a couple of the key strategies in this program.

Ages: 3 years and up
Cost: Starting at $102

photo: Matt via flickr

Children of the Sea
Water safety is a priority but a good time is imminent during these small group classes, offered during daytime and evenings. Parents swim with babies as young as four months and learn early water safety skills (such as how to respond if they accidentally fall into water). The instructors sing fun songs and have the little ones play on a water jungle gym, as well as an island that lets them jump into the waiting arms of a parent. Themed weeks and 2-week summer swim camps are just a couple of ways that swimmers are engaged and excited about coming back for more lessons.

Ages: 4 months and up
Location:10170 SW Nimbus Ave., Suite H-7
Cost: Starting at $185

DolFUN Swim Academy
With a holistic approach that emphasizes confidence and joy, DolFUN offers classes at two locations for infants through beginner adults and everyone in between. The use of songs and games, safety techniques that are creatively taught to encourage retention and highly-skilled instructors make this program unique and professional.

Ages: Infants and up
Location: Airport Learning Tree Day School
12029 NE Ainsworth Circle #100, Portland

Tualatin Location (summers only)
20553 SW 94th Ave., Tualatin

Cost: Starting at $92

photo: Gordon via flickr

Swimbabes is 70 years young and is well-known for its swim survival safety programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. The water is kept at 90 degrees (ideal for infants) and early survival techniques are practiced in case of a fall into water. The SynchroBabies program is specific to infants who are 0-7 months old and encourages them to be comfortable and safe in the water. Parents should take note that the facility is small and has a “no photos” policy but the program has a strong reputation and has been family-run for three generations.

Ages: Infants and up
Location: 10552 SE 52nd Ave., Milwaukie
Cost: Starting at $320

Cascade Athletics Club
Cascade Athletics Club has four locations, but only the main Gresham location has an area outside where you can relax in a lounge chair while your child learns to swim in a heated pool. The wide variety of classes include Parent/Child, Preschool and Youth swim lessons and are divided by 11 age groups and swimming abilities. Class sizes are typically one instructor for every 4-5 children if they are beginners. They also have a water park with a slide, splash pad, dump buckets and boats, so you can stay all day. Morning classes are offered outdoors and evening classes are held indoors.


Ages: 6 months and up
Location: 19201 SE Division St., Gresham
Cost: $58/child who is a member

Mittleman Jewish Community Center
Your kids will have no problem dipping their toes into this therapy pool, heated to a comfy 94 degrees. Parents also love it because at only 3-5½ feet deep, it’s great for the smallest swimmers. Classes are available for children six months to 13 years, and the variety of fun pool events held on a monthly basis will keep you coming back. Membership is not required to use the pool.

Ages: 6 months and up
Location: 6651 SW Capitol Highway
Cost: Starting at $90

Where’s your favorite swim school?  Let us know in the comments section!

— Marianne Walters