Wednesday, July 30, 2014
|Dick Nichols Pool|
Here's the not-so-good news: Almost all of Austin's public pools are set to close after August 24, 2014, which is right around the corner. And then school starts up again. School! Go ahead and have a good cry about that fact (or do a happy dance, depending on your perspective); I'll wait.
|Ricky Guerrero Splash Pad|
- Dick Nichols District Park at 8011 Beckett Rd., 78749, has a kids' waterscape with a dolphin that spits water. Kids can press a button for about a minute of water play. (More on Dick Nichols Park below.)
- The Hill Country Galleria at 12700 Hill Country Blvd., 78738, has an interactive fountain that operates seven days a week during shopping hours, from 10 AM – 9 PM, but it's turned off when the weather is bad or when there is another event scheduled to take place in the Amphitheater. Call Guest Services at 512-263-0001 to confirm that the fountain is turned on.
- The Liz Carpenter Fountain at Butler Park (1000 Barton Springs Rd., 78704) is open year-round from 12 PM – 9:45 PM Mondays and 8 AM – 9:45 PM Tuesdays through Sundays (closed for cleaning on Monday mornings till noon). Be sure to check out the Free Fun in Austin review of this splash pad.
- The Ricky Guerrero splash pad at 1100 Brodie St. (not to be confused with Brodie Lane, which is farther southwest), open from 9 AM – 8 PM through September 7, 2014. Closed Wednesdays for maintenance.
|The playground next to Ricky Guerrero splash pad; see the cannon?|
So, those are the only splash pads and fountains I know of that are south of the river. However, South Austin also has a scattering of great public pools. Pearl and I also visited the pool at Dick Nichols Park, near our 'hood. We loved the cool fishy murals that greeted us at the pool's entrance as well as the ones painted on the walls inside.
|Cool fishy mural at entrance to Dick Nichols Pool|
The water in both the kiddie pool and the main pool was warm like a bath. It wasn't the most refreshing temperature, until we got out — then we were actually a little chilly in the breeze! We definitely enjoyed the pool at Dick Nichols Park, but here are a handful of caveats:
- I recommend wearing flip-flops or water shoes, especially if you're going to use the restrooms, which are kind of, well...as Pearl put it, when we walked through — "Dirty, mama, dirty!"
- There is not much shade anywhere inside the pool area, so be sure to bring your sunscreen and sun hat.
- There isn't really anyplace to put your things besides on the concrete or the grass, so leave your valuables at home, and don't bring anything you don't want to get splashed. You might also want to bring a chair in a bag if you want a place to sit other than on the ground or in the water.
- There is one picnic table inside next to the kiddie pool, and it is shaded. But just the one.
|Kiddie pool at Dick Nichols|
Most likely, the above caveats about the pool at Dick Nichols would apply to most of the public pools around town. Following is a list of all the neighborhood pools in Austin that are south of the river. All the city pools listed below are FREE and open daily for recreational swimming from 11 AM – 8 PM through August 24, 2014. (Most pools also have dedicated hours for lap swimming and swim lessons; check out the full city pools schedule for more information.)
- Big Stacy Pool, 800 E. Live Oak St. Big Stacy is good for bigger kids, but smaller children will really enjoy Little Stacy, nearby; see more info on Little Stacy below. One bonus to Big Stacy: It's the only pool on this list that is open past August 24. Through that date, its recreational swimming hours are from 8 AM – 8 PM on weekdays, and weekends from 11 AM – 8 PM. Then, from August 25 through September 30, the pool is open only from 6 – 8 AM on weekdays, for both laps and recreational swimming, and on weekends from 12 – 7 PM for recreational swimming.
- Dick Nichols Pool, 8011 Beckett Rd.
- Dittmar Pool, 1009 W. Dittmar Rd.
- Dove Springs Pool, 5701 Ainez Dr.
- Gillis Pool, 2504 Durwood St.
- Little Stacy Wading Pool, 2000 Alameda Dr. (Review)
|Ready to swim at Dick Nichols Pool|
Catherine A. Morris is a writer as well as a once-and-future teacher, musician, jogger and triathlete living in southwest Austin, Texas. Yes, most of her former passions and pastimes have given way, at least for now, to her current, main passion and pastime: caring for her two kids, toddler Pearl and baby Zephyr. Pearl and Zeph make Catherine and her husband laugh (and cry) on a daily basis, and give Catherine plenty of good reasons to seek out free, fun activities to keep everyone alive, engaged and happy from one moment to the next.