Fischer and Maria Uricoechea, Sidewalk
The outdoor pool season
is in full swing right now – but don't blink or you'll miss it.
None of the area's outdoor public pools open before Memorial Day. None
remain open after Labor Day. And, school calendars being what they've
turned into, many pools close the week before Labor Day.
Outdoor pools in the Washington area range from lap pools for serious
aquanauts to water parks for rollicking kids to sections of theme parts to
facilities that offer something for everybody. Here's a baker's dozen
places where you can make a big splash in the summer sun:
East Potomac Pool, East Potomac Park, Ohio Drive S.W., (202)
727-6523. Along with a view of the Washington Monument, D.C.'s
largest public pool (50 meters) is right next door to a golf course, a
driving range and a miniature golf course.
Francis Pool, 25th and N streets N.W., (202) 727-3285.
Sunbathers galore bask in the convenient setting of a recently renovated
pool beside Rock Creek Park on the frontier between the West End and
Upshur Pool, 14th Street and Arkansas Avenue N.W., (202)
576-8661. One of D.C.'s newest and best-equipped pools is a favorite
of school-age kids from the surrounding Petworth neighborhood.
Bethesda Outdoor Pool, Little Falls Parkway and Hillandale Road,
Bethesda, (301) 652-1598. The Montgomery County Z-shaped pool includes
a six-lane, 50-meter course; a 25-meter course; 1- and 3-meter diving
boards plus a junior pool, a tot pool, a snack bar and an ample, shaded
Germantown Outdoor Pool, 18905 Kings View Dr. (at Clopper Road),
Germantown, (301) 601-1690. Serious swimmers can dive (off two boards)
into an eight-lane, 50-meter lap pool while fun-seekers frolic in the
shallow leisure pool and tadpoles wade into the tot pool.
Glenn Dale Splash Park, 11901 Glenn Dale Blvd., Glenn Dale,
(301) 352-8980. The relatively shallow facility – the depth of the
main pool is 3½ feet – features two water slides and kid-directed
novelties like float-on crabs, lily pads and a log crossing.
Rockville Municipal Swim Center, 355 Martins Lane, Rockville,
(301) 309-3040. At the center located beside Welsh Park, there's a
50-meter outdoor lap pool with diving boards, a recreation pool with a
beach and slides and a tot pool flowing with fountains. A snack bar offers
drinks and snacks, and two indoor lap pools are open year-round.
Six Flags America, 13710 Central Ave. (Route 214), Largo, (301)
249-1500. Adventure World has become Six Flags, but the Paradise
Island water park (included in admission) remains virtually unchanged.
Highlights include Crocodile Cal's five-story spurting treehouse, the
Tahiti Twister inner-tube ride, the Black Hole pitch-dark water slide and
the Kids' Cove 16-inch splash pool.
Summit Hall Farm Park, Summit Hall Farm Park, 510 S.
Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, (301) 258-6445. A twisting 250-foot
water slide is the major attraction, but smaller kids can slide down a
frog's back into a tot pool and dedicated swimmers can do laps. Dry-land
diversions include sand volleyball courts, a playground and a miniature
Great Waves, Cameron Run Regional Park, 4001 Eisenhower Ave.,
Alexandria, (703) 960-0767. Older children can ride the wild surf in
the splashy wave pool and zoom down four-story water slides. Younger kids
ride alligators in the play pool and the youngest slosh through the
"tad pool." No outside food is permitted, but you can buy pizza,
ice cream and the like. Batting cages and miniature golf are located right
Splash Down Waterpark, Ben Lomond Regional Park, 7500 Ben Lomond
Park Dr., Manassas, (703) 361-4451. The 11-acre water park goes after
youngsters with a pair of 70-foot water slides and two slick cannonball
slides; the long, languorous Lazy River; and a 25-meter lap pool. The
zero-depth beach area and walks on logs and lily pads are for the little
ones. Tennis, volleyball and a variety of snacks are also available.
The Water Mine, Lake Fairfax Park, 1400 Lake Fairfax Dr.,
Reston, (703) 471-5415. The main feature of the Wild West-themed
"Family Swimmin' Hole" is Rattlesnake River, a fast-moving,
tube-filled stream that circles the entire spread. Also appealing to the
mostly younger children (10 and under) who comprise its main constituency
are a pair of slides (Big and Little Pete), a menagerie of floating
creatures and Tenderfoot Pond for the ultrayoung. Bring in a picnic or buy
snacks on site. Admission includes unlimited carousel and tour-boat rides.
Waterworks Waterpark, Andrew Leitch Park, 5301 Dale Blvd., Dale
City, (703) 680-7137. The novelty attractions at this "innovative
aquatic playground for kids" just upstream from Potomac Mills
include an enclosed speed slide and open circular slide, a huge climb-on
hippo and a bilevel wading pool with slides, sprays and geysers. Also
count on beach volleyball and a full menu of concessions.