Is your little one a water baby? Finding the perfect pool to take tiny tots can be tough, but we are here to make it easier. Grab those swim diapers! The following Portland metro pools offer low (or no) chlorine for sensitive eyes, shallow depths for little legs and warmer temps for sensitive skin. Read on to discover our favorite places for babies and toddlers to splash around when the weather heats up.

Pool baby

happy pool baby: photo by M Sundstrom via flickr

Columbia Park Pool
Come on in, the water’s fine. The shallowest part of this pool is 1.5 feet, perfect for coaxing reluctant dippers, or just for sitting and enjoying the water with mom or dad. The water’s heated to a reasonable 86 degrees, and the locker rooms and decks are kept warm, too. That might make it a bit steamy for those not in a swimsuit, but there won’t be a shock to baby’s system when they get out of the water. If that means there’s a smaller chance of a meltdown, we’re on board.

Cost: $4.75/adults and seniors, $3.75/kids, 2 & under free
7701 N Chautauqua Blvd.
503-823-3669
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Kennedy School soaking pool: photo by Pui S. via Yelp

Kennedy School
Minors are welcome in this low-Chlorine option. The pool doesn’t get too crowded, thanks to a limit on the number of soakers at once. Note that this is a soaking pool, not a splashing pool. Kids are very welcome, but the relaxing atmosphere calls for a laidback floating session with a babe, not a splashfest. Check on the temperature to make sure it’s not too hot for those sweet chubby legs. Kids are ok until 6 p.m. After that, it’s time for the adults in the hotel or ‘hood to have some kid-free time.

Cost: $5/person. Free for those from immediate neighborhood, with ID.
5736 N.E. 33rd Ave.
503-249-3983
Online: mcmenamins.com

Pier Pool
Neighbors can’t wait for this favorite spot to open for the summer in early June. You’ll find two 25-foot pools here: a shallow pool, perfect for splashing with the whole family, and a deeper lap pool heated to 84 degrees. Just outside the fenced pool area are towering evergreens, keeping the poolside area shady, and avoiding some of that harsh concrete glare.

Cost: $4.75/adults & seniors, $3.75/child, 2 & under free
N Seneca St. & St Johns Ave.
503-823-3678
Online: portlandoregon.gov

East Portland Community Center pool

East Portland Community Center pool: photo by Jim A. via Yelp

East Portland Community Center
The East Portland Community Center is a hot spot for families looking to cool off. Family changing rooms and a clean locker room make changing time easy. A 3-lane 20-yard lap swim section heated to 88 degrees, just about right in a warm indoor pool. Check out preschool swim from on Fridays from 9:30-11:30 a.m., when only the littlest kids are allowed. It might not be calm, but at least those toddlers are in arms-length of their parents. (Preschool parent swim is also available at several other community centers, like Wilson Pool, Grant Outdoor Pool, Mt. Scott, and Matt Dishman.)

Cost: $6/adult, $4.75 senior/teen, $4.25/children (3-13), 2 & under free
740 SE 106th Ave.
503-823-3450
Online: portlandoregon.gov

Harman Swim Center
This westside indoor pool is kept at a comfortable 88-89 degrees to keep all ages swimmers happy and comfortable. Babes ages six months & up can take American Red Cross swimming lessons here, too. Open swims are currently held at a different time every day, so you should be able to find at least one that jives with your little splasher’s nap schedule.

Cost: $5/adult, $4/military, $3.50 youth & seniors, $4.50 out of district, under 1 free
7300 SW Scholls Ferry Rd.
Beaverton
503-629-6314
Online: thprd.org

 North Clackamas Aquatic Center

North Clackamas Aquatic Park: photo by Eli Duke via flickr

North Clackamas Aquatic Park
Whew, there’s a whole lot to do at North Clackamas Aquatic Park, and a lot of water fun being had. Bigger kids will be living it up in the wave pool and waterslides, while parents with babes splash around in the wading pool, heated to a comfortable 88 degrees. North Clackamas is a great choice for when the whole family wants to go out to swim. The older kid(s) can go get their thrills and swimming lessons with one parent, and the other can take it slow and easy. Or, take baby to one of the lowkey and affordable preschool swims for kids 8 & under.

Cost: $6:50. See website for details.
7300 SE Harmony Rd.
Milwaukie
503-557-7873
Online: ncprd.com

Firstenburg Community Center
Firstenburg’s zero-depth pool entry lets little ones dip their toes in. Your baby probably isn’t walking in, but it does allow a gradual introduction to the water for curious or cautious kiddos. Baby swim lessons are available, and if you would like to work out while you’re here, there’s a “child watch” program available. You could drop off the kiddo for half an hour, then pick them up and go on a family splashing session. Win-win!

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Cost: $7/adults, $5/seniors, $4/kids ages 4-18, 3 & under free
700 NE 136th Ave.
Vancouver
360-487-7001
Online: cityofvancouver.us/firstenburg

—Annette Benedetti

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