Quality (1-10): 6.5 – The pool is clear and clean and the landscaping is well kept. The poolside seating isn’t great, but this just isn’t that kind of place. Think nostalgic, neighborhood pool feel, rather than country club standards.
Child Friendly: Oh yeah.
Length of Stay: If you bring food and drinks, you could camp out all day. There are some shady areas to get a break from the sun. You’ll definitely want to stay a few hours to get your money’s worth.
Cost: Varies. Regular rates- Adult (13 and up) $15, Child (12 and under) $8, Under 2 Free. There are various special rates that can get you 1/2 price or cheaper. Refer to their website for full details and their Facebook page for special events, like $5 days.
Amenities: Concessions, picnic tables, grassy areas to play, bathrooms, game room (pool table).
Popularity: Holidays can be pretty crowded.
Tips: Bring in what you need from the car and the food and drinks you’ll want as you have to pay full price to re-enter the park if you leave.
Warning: Lots of Yellow Jackets around trash cans and eating areas.
As summer is wrapping up, it’s nice to have one last hurrah at the pool. Last summer we were introduced to Kool Park Pool in Hickory. (I won’t derail this post by telling you how much I am greatly annoyed when finding ‘C’ words spelled with a ‘K’: Kountry Kitchen. Kid’s Korner. Kool Park Pool. Why, why, must they do it? Ok, moving on.) So, this pool was built in the 1930’s and in a lot of ways it is like stepping back in time. They still have actual diving boards as well as a 15 ft diving tower that can keep the big kids happy for hours. There is also a 90 ft water slide and a huge wading area that makes it so easy to let the little kids play without standing right beside them. Did I mention this pool is huge? 235 ft x 85 ft huge and you can bring your own flotation devices or rent them from the facility.
This is such a great place to bring your own picnic lunch or snacks as there are about 100 picnic tables and lots of grassy areas to camp out on. There is a concession stand on site, if you like overpriced junk food 😉 and during some of the evening swim sessions there is a BBQ restaurant that sets up a cart and sells BBQ by the plate. I noticed a couple of birthday parties going on as well. It is a great site for coming with a group of friends, family, church group, etc. and I think there is a group discount on the pricing.
Oh yes. The price. The cost for normal summer hours is pretty high. Since it is a privately owned pool, with no city funding, it is not even close to city/rec or even YMCA pool prices. However, they have several options for reduced pricing, including evening swims, half price after 3 and certain weekends at the beginning and end of the season. We went yesterday, and since school has already started back, they’re only open on a few more weekends, but it cost $5 per person for the whole day. Not too bad.
There are some things to know before you go. First, when I said it was like stepping back in time, I meant it in more ways than one. The facility is tucked away in the middle of a residential area. You will think you are going the wrong way, but drive on, look carefully for the one, tiny sign, and veer right when the road forks at the end. They have dozens of wooden ‘sunbathing benches’ around the pool instead of the pool chairs that are normally at pools now. The wood looks like its been sitting there for quite some time and they are completely flat, horizontal plank benches. These work great for piling your towels and shoes on, but if you’re thinking of relaxing by the pool while you watch your kids, you should probably bring your own comfy chair. The biggest downside is that they allow smoking. Gross.
Also, the rules. A few things are a little strict- They will search all of your bags when you come in. (I think they’re mainly looking for alcohol.) If you leave briefly, even to go out to your car, they will recharge you to come back in. (I think they’re preventing people from going out to their car to drink alcohol. They must have had some issues in the past, because they’re pretty serious about this!) There is also a sign when you come in that no saggy pants are allowed! So, if you were planning on sporting that look, better throw on a belt before you go in.
However. There is not a lot of enforcement about what goes on in the pool. All those things that you constantly hear whistles for at the Y: running, cutting line for the slide, having more than one person on the slide, sliding down while sitting on your friend’s back like he’s a horse, wrestling around in the pool, having a gigantic raft sized floaty with 10 kids hanging off the side and throwing giant inflated beach balls- yeah, you can do all of that. I think it’s kind of refreshing and relaxing. Some people would probably have a conniption. (Confession: I had to google how to spell conniption.)
For the discounted price, this was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and my kids were
psyched excited (the almost 12 yr old said psyched was too extreme of a word for the situation!) to have Dad along to enjoy the diving boards with them. This may become an end of summer tradition. I wonder if they’d ever consider changing that ‘K’ back to a ‘C’ ? That’d be really cool.