Area pools offer plenty of fun in the sun
Six pools, one day.
My goal: Seek out the unknown, the unique and the unusual in the world of municipal pools.
Oh, and find a good place to spend a day off.
Along the way, I discovered a personal prejudice for old oaks, explored my hygiene phobias and spilled Lik-A-Mid—that’s Fun Dip for you youngsters—all over my favorite t-shirt.
Best pool, hands down: Krueger Pool, Beloit
The Civilian Conservation Corps built the “Beloit Natatorium” in the early 1930s in an unused stone quarry.
The quarry’s wide bowl holds a swimming pool, diving well, extensive landscaped lawns and terraces and the stone building that’s home to the changing rooms, pool offices and concession stand.
Inviting tree-studded lawns slope down to the pool area.
On one side of the pool, a wall with stone spillways pours water out on to the swimmers in the lane below.
Pool features: Separate diving well and slide, lap lanes, large area for general play, swallow end with mushroom feature cascading torrents of water.
Poolside extras: Covered picnic area, concert pad with a variety of sprinklers, giant squirt guns and other water toys.
The runner up is…. Edgerton Aquatic Center
Best feature: Zero-depth entry pool for children with slide, assorted water features. It’s a great way to protect the tots from the barbarian hordes of tweens and teens.
Larger pool with lap lanes and diving well is on the second level.
Setting: Central Park, lots of mature trees, good playground equipment, picnic tables and a gazebo.
Saunder’s Creek meanders though the park and can provide hours—well, maybe 15 minutes—of entertainment for kids of the stone- and stick-throwing persuasion.
Nice setting—and hygienic, too: Veteran’s Memorial Pool, Evansville.
Best feature: The pool is part of Leonard-Leota Park, a jewel of green lawns and old oaks fringing Lake Leota. Water splashing over the dam provides pleasing background music. Stone buildings, creek walls and duck houses, all built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, add beauty.
Exceptional signage: The first sign visitors see says, “Parents: Please help us prevent a cryptosporidium outbreak.”
In the bathroom stall, a sign exclaims, “What’s the rush? Don’t forget to flush!”
Yet another poster warns against the dangers of saggy diapers. Fecal coliform was mentioned somewhere, too.
Now, try to think about swimming. Erase fecal-related thoughts from your mind. Leave them behind….
Pool features: Go early, and you can snag one of the four umbrellas that go with the lawn chairs.
Little kids have their own area within the main pool. Bigger kids have a slide, diving board and basketball hoops.
The pool store—hooray!—sells more than just candy. A 12-ounce soda and soft pretzel are $1.40.
Frozen candy bars, nice setting: Brodhead Municipal Pool
After visiting the signage-heavy Evansville Pool, Brodhead was a welcome break. Most of the pool rules are painted on the concrete in block letters: “Please Walk.”
And near the diving board, a sign warned, “Diving board weight limit: 250 pounds.”
Features: Two short slides. Note to adults: Slide users exit into 3-feet of water.
A small, square, fenced-in pool is reserved for tiny tots.
Setting: Right next to the Sugar River and a park cooled by a canopy of old oaks.
Also—and this is fabulous—the concession stand has frozen candy bars.
Hey, mom, watch me! Elkhorn Municipal Pool
Pool features: Two diving boards, attentive lifeguards and a set of bleachers outside of the pool’s fence. Parents can watch their kids without splashing-running-shouting insanity of the pool deck. Plus, their iPods will stay dry.
Setting: Sunset Park has a band shell, playground equipment with decently sized slides and plenty of area for play after a picnic lunch. Everybody knows you can’t go back into the water until at least a half hour after you’ve eaten.
Size isn’t everything: Rockport Pool.
Features: Olympic pool with separate diving well with a standard and a high board and separate, fenced-in area for kids.
The best part is watching the kids go to the end of the scary board, reconsider, run back to the ladder, reconsider, reconsider…. and then JUMP, shrieking into the water.
Rockport Pool is big—that’s great. But try finding a comfortable spot to sit: deck chairs or concrete, all in the sun.
Setting: Landscaping around the pool consists mostly of conifers and a grass expanses leading to the woods.
Local folks will get crabby if I don’t mention Peace Park—and the world’s tallest Peace Pole—and its playground.
Janesville alternative: The old-fashioned wading pool at Palmer Park. Its shady setting—it’s those old oaks—and extensive playground will make you want to stay all day.
Elkhorn Municipal Pool
Location: Sunset Park, West Centralia Street, (262)741-5114.
Season: Through Aug. 29
Hours: 1-8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
-- Adult lap swim: 11 a.m.-1 p.m., 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday.
Cost: 12 months and younger, free; 16 and younger, $3; adults, $5; seniors 65 and older, free.
-- Adult lap swim: $1.
Edgerton Aquatic Center
Location: Central Park, North Main Street, (608) 884-3232.
Season: Through Aug. 28
Hours: Noon-5 p.m., 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
-- Adult lap swim: 11 a.m.-noon and 6-7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Cost: 2 and younger, free; ages 3-59, $3.50; 60 and older, free.
-- Last hour of the session, $1
-- Aerobics or lap swim: $1
Brodhead Municipal Swimming Pool
Location: 1106 4th Street, (608) 897-8091
Season: Through the end of August
Hours: Noon-5 p.m., 6-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
-- Adult swim: 7-8 a.m. and 5-6 p.m. weekdays.
Cost: 4 and younger, free; children 5- to 17-years-old, $2 residents, $3 for nonresidents; adult, $3 for residents, $4 for nonresidents.
Veteran’s Memorial Pool
Location: Leonard Leota Park, North Madison St., Evansville, 608-882-2276.
Season: Through Aug 29
Hours: 12:45–4:30 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Monday through Friday; noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Cost: $4; children 4 and under are free
-- Last half hour: $1.50
-- Tuesday and Thursday nights: $3.50
-- Wednesday and Saturday afternoons: $3.50
-- Call for lap swim and water aerobic times
Location: 1700 Hackett St., Beloit, (608) 364-2890.
Season: Through Sept. 6
Hours: Noon-5:30 p.m. and 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
-- Lap swim: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
Cost: 4 and younger, free; resident youth 5-10, $2.75; nonresident youth, $4.25; resident teen, 11 to 17, $3.75; nonresident, $5.50; adult resident, $4.75; adult nonresident, $6.50; resident family of four, $10; nonresident family of four, $11.50.
Location: 2801 Rockport Road, Janesville, (608) 752-6747.
Season: Through Aug. 22
Hours: 12:30-7 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday; 12:30-5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; noon-7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
-- Lap swim: 8 to 10 a.m. Monday and Wednesday; 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and 5-6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Cost: $2.25 adults; $1.75 youth; seniors and children 3 years old and under are free.