My niece, Tori, who I babysit during the summers, and I have been spending this summer trying to find the perfect pool. Since I also have MaryJane, it's got to be a pool that offers fun things for Tori to do, plus nice shaded areas for MaryJane and I to hang out in that are close to the 'action' so I can keep an eye on Tori. Tori loves slides, which, thankfully, most pools now have so that's also a plus. So here's my brief reviews of the pools we've visited this summer:
Premier Athletic Club - Upper Arlington/Dublin area, Sawmill Road
$$$ - attendence with membership to club only
Premier offers three pools; two outdoor and one indoor, plus a two small kiddie pools. The main pool outdoors that is kid-friendly features a small curvy slide and a mushroom waterfall. All and all, it's just ok. Tori really enjoys it but I think that's because it's not that crowded.
Big Splash - Grove City, Southwest Blvd.
$ - $16 for the three of us
Big Splash has a nice kiddie area with a zero-depth entry into the main pool (which I love, since I'm carrying a baby around) and two nice size slides. There is a lot of shade to sit in, although it's not set up very well to keep an eye on kids in the pool. I usually end up walking around in order to watch Tori. All in all, it's a good value for the money.
Hilliard City Pool West - Veterans Memorial Drive
$$ $18 for the three of us
This pool was my favorite. Four large pools: one with a diving board, one with two slides, a lap pool, a huge kiddie pool/area with a setup that rivals the old Wyandotte Lake Christopher's Island area, plus there's even a lazy river. There are several grassy areas to sit surrounding each pool, and free use of rafts and life vests. The only problem was if Tori got bored of one pool and wanted to go to a different one, we had to relocate all of our stuff so I could keep an eye on her. I finally had to tell her to just pick one pool to play in. Overall, not a bad value for the money.
Reed Rd Water Park - Upper Arlington, Reed Rd
$$$ $20 for the three of us
Extremely expensive for what you get, in my opinion. There are two really nice slides, though, and a lazy river. There's a large kiddie play area with a zero-entry pool, and a diving board with a deep pool although all the pools are linked together so it's really just one big area. There is a 'lazy river' as well, but it's just a glorified circle. One thing that I thought was really cool, though, was the community aspect of this pool. Quite a few times, people offered up benches for me (since I was carrying the baby around, watching Tori slide down the slides) and during the rest periods, all of the men lifeguards would line up at the diving boards while the kids would sit on the edge of the opposite end of the pool, chanting "Get Us Soaked!" "We Want Splashed!" "Can-non-ball!" etc. The boys would try to get the biggest splash they could and soak the kids. It was quite hilarious to watch. If I had someone else to go with, this would probably be my favorite pool because it's not too big, there are good seating areas, and lots of stuff for the kids to do.
Hopefully all of this pool-hopping will give me a good idea of which pool to get a membership to next summer!