Kids who love to swim could care less what the weather forecast is – they’ll ask to take a dip outside even though the skies are gray and the water is ice-cold. So what do you do with your tadpoles now that the rainy season is here? Simple. Grab their swimsuits and check out Tacoma’s newest indoor pool. Open year-round, and heated to a cozy 85 degrees, your crew can get their water fix without freezing their tooshies. Dive in for the deets!

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The Recreation Pool
The original pool at People’s Community Center opened in 1979 and remained a part of Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood until it permanently closed down in 2008. After undergoing a major reconstruction project, the facility has finally reopened and is quickly becoming the go-to indoor pool for South Sound families. Large floor-to-ceiling windows fill the room with tons of natural light, giving it a nice outdoorsy feel compared to the basement-like atmosphere you get with some indoor pools. It also has a unique L- shaped design that divides the pool into three distinct sections: a shallow area, a current channel and a lap lane area that transforms into two basketball courts and a water-walk play area during open swim sessions. 

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Splash-tastic Features
Your little ones will feel completely at home in this particularly shallow pool, with depths ranging from two feet in the shallowest part to just over five feet in the deep end. Wide steps give a gradual entry into the spacious kiddie area, and you’ll find the submerged bench around the perimeter is the perfect place for water bugs to practice their jumps from, or where mom and dad can have a seat to watch as the excitement unfolds.

The current channel is like a mini lazy river (minus the tubes) with jets that propel kids around in circles as if they’re spinning on a merry-go-round. The duo basketball hoops are perfect for half-court games, and balls are provided so you don’t have to bring your own. But the big draw for your older kiddos will be the water walking feature (Psst… swimmers must be age 7 or older, plus be at least 5 feet tall or able to pass a swim test to do the walk). Floating disks shaped like lily pads and log rounds create a path for traversing the pool. Kids can try to make their way across using their balance alone, or with the help of a cargo net suspended overhead.

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The Spray Pad
Sure to become your little one’s favorite place to play during the cold months ahead, you’ll find Tacoma’s first indoor splash pad is loaded with ground sprays galore and plenty of run-around room for big imaginations to roam free. There are colorful buckets that pour surprise showers and dozens of bubbling geysers to dance around in, but what we love the most about this spray pool is that it’s stationed right next to the pool so you can easily stay close to your little ones while keeping an eye on your older kids who swim.

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Have a Swim Party
If you’re hoping to make a big splash for your kiddo’s next birthday, the People’s Pool is offering a sweet deal on party packages through the end of 2016. Prices start at $40 per hour plus admission for parties held during afternoon and evening open swim sessions, and private parties are available Saturdays and Sundays from 4:30 p.m.- 6:30 p.m. starting at $85 per hour. Packages include the use of a large party room located adjacent to the pool and plenty of water fun for everyone.

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Good to Know
1. There isn’t a direct walkway between the locker rooms and the pool, but you’ll find three private family restrooms with showers located inside the pool area near the splash pad.

2. Towels are not provided, so be sure to pack some along for your crew.

3. Free lockers are available for guests to use, but you’ll need to bring your own lock to securely store your belongings.

4. In addition to open swim sessions, the facility also offers lessons, exercise classes and lap swim times – no membership necessary.

People’s Community Center and Pool
1602 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Way
Tacoma, Wa 98405
253-591-5321
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/peoples-pool

Cost: $4/Adults; $3/Youth (ages 5-17); Ages 4 & under Free

Open Swim Hours:
Mon.-Fri, 10:30 a.m.-noon (shallow end only for parent-child swim)
Mon., Wed., & Fri., 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m.
Tues., Thurs., & Fri., 3 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
Sat. & Sun., 12:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m. & 2:45 p.m.-4:30 p.m.

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Do you plan to give the People’s Pool in Tacoma a try? Tell us about your experience in the Comments below!

— Rachael Brandon (all photos courtesy of the writer)