Thursday, November 16, 2017

Our Favorite Charlotte Indoor Pool

Let me tell you about our favorite Charlotte pool. When the weather turns unpleasant for outdoor adventures, we're always on the lookout for ways to burn some energy inside. We're members of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte and have visited nearly every indoor and outdoor pool in town. The one we like the most is at the Stratford Richardson YMCA on West Blvd. Here's why.

  1. It's warm! The pool deck is well heated and they keep the pool temperature around 87 degrees, which is comfy for a dip, especially on a cold day.
  2. It's accessible. The pool has a zero-entry section (think beach slope transition into the water) that doesn't get deeper than 3 feet. The littlest of swimmers can splash in inches-deep water, while bigger kids can play games and still touch. Just past the kid area is a bigger, deeper play area, though the entire pool, including two lap lanes, is no deeper than 5 feet.
  3. The staff. The lifeguards are friendly and attentive. And Mr. B, the aquatics director, is jovial, engaged and runs a tight ship.
  4. It's not too crowded. Unless there are camps or swimming lessons going on, you'll find you have plenty of room to play. There are regular adult exercise classes in the lap lanes, but we've sometimes been when we're the only ones playing the rest of the pool.
  5. It's easy to get to. The Stratford Richardson YMCA is on West Blvd., between Remount Rd. and Clanton Rd. There's plenty of parking close to the building.
  6. It's family-friendly. There are men's and women's locker rooms, but also two large family locker rooms adjacent to the pool. The pool is simple, but fun. There are two fountain features in the kid area, but they aren't always on (which I prefer! But you can ask the lifeguard to power them up if you're interested) and a basketball goal in the larger pool area. Life jackets, kickboards and pool noodles are available. 
Some things to know before you go.

The Stratford Richardson YMCA is open 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday, and closed Sunday. The pool closes 30 minute prior to the facility closing. Check the latest pool schedule for classes and activities before you go.

Even though it's indoors, the pool will close for 30 minutes in the event of thunder and lightening.

YMCA members can visit the pool for free. If you're not a member, you can tag along with a friend who is a member up to three times a year for free. Non-members who are not visiting as a guest of a member cost $20/per person.

The YMCA has a swim band policy for children. Kids can earn either a yellow or green swim band by participating in a swim assessment. Children 5 and younger with no swim band must remain within arms length of an adult at all times. Children 6-12 with no swim band must remain within arms length of an adult or wear a lifejacket with close adult supervision.

Kids with a yellow swim band can play in areas where they can touch without close adult supervision or a lifejacket. To earn a yellow band, swimmers must float on their back, float on their stomach and swim 15 feet unassisted.

Kids with a green swim band have full access to the pool. To earn a green band, swimmers must swim the entire length of the pool unassisted, jump in deep water and return to the surface, and tread water for one minute with ears and face above water the while time.

It's getting on toward winter, which means cooler temps and gray days. When cabin fever starts setting in, consider a trip to the pool. I guarantee it will help get the wiggles out!

How to get there:
The Stratford Richardson YMCA is located at 1946 West Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28208. You'll see the pool when you enter the building, but will access it through the locker rooms down the hall and to your left.

Don't forget to pack:
  • Swimsuits: No street clothes allowed. Also, if your swimmer is not yet potty-trained, bring a water diaper and rubber cover.
  • Lifejackets or floaties: Approved life jackets are available at the pool, but younger swimmers may prefer their Puddle Jumpers.
  • Towels: The Stratford Richardson YMCA does not provide towel service. There are showers in the locker room if you want to rinse off before heading home.
  • Pool toys: Noodles and kickboards are available, but you might throw in some rings or a ball for games. The YMCA prohibits blow-up floats.
  • Snacks: Nothing like a good swim to work up an appetite!

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