Pool planning

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It is really very hot. What would you NOT have given, these past few days, to have glided through some clear cool pool waves?

So many people have asked me when the pools are opening that at this point I feel like I should mention that I am no longer a lifeguard, nor any sort of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation employee. I have no official knowledge or relationship to these most wonderful elements of our city infrastructure. That said, as this site may attest, I do spend a good portion of my free time sniffing around for information about them. And so [drumroll please]:

The pools will start opening Friday, June 19th.

We’ve got six more days to sweat it out. And – more importantly – to plan.

Pool season is brief. All told this year, it will probably be about eight weeks, and some pools might be open as little as four. If we want to make the best use of them, we might as well start thinking about how.

Some questions to consider:

  • What’s your closest pool, from where you can pad home in just a bathing suit and towel? How many days a week can you get there? Will you introduce yourself to the pool staff, maybe even thank them for their work?
  • What other pools do you want to visit this summer? Who will you invite to join you?
  • What reading do you want to get done with your feet in the water? How many laps do you want to swim? How many neighbors would you like to meet?
  • Are your kids ready to be signed up for swimming lessons? Do YOU want to learn how to swim, or how to float, or feel comfortable putting your face in the water?
  • What can you do to help everyone remember that the pools belong to all Philadelphians (including/especially boisterous dark-skinned and/or working-class children and teenagers) – and that taking care of them is all of our responsibility?

Some potentially useful tools and tidbits:

  • Parks and Rec’s list of pools (by section of the city).
  • The best map I know of (though some pools are missing, some are in the wrong location, and others are no longer open). Anyone know any GIS gurus who’d want to work on a new one of these?
  • Some destination pools to consider:
    • Kelly (next to the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park) Our biggest pool, and seven feet deep in the middle. There’s grass to lie on within the pool gates.
    • Francisville (18th and Francis, just north of Fairmount Ave): The poor man’s infinity pool, with a view of the skyline. This year home to a very cool event.
    • O’Connor (26th and South): “The Country Club,” people from other pools would scoff when I told them I worked there. That, or “the Taj Mahal.”
    • Athletic (26th and Master): It’s got SLIDES!!!! Plus a sprayground next door.
  • And once you’ve checked those out:
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