Let's start with the slide. After all, it's one of the first things you see as you approach the entrance of Mecklenburg County's newest Park and Recreation facility, the Northern Regional Recreation Center
, in Huntersville, about 25 minutes north of uptown. And it's also easily one of the coolest features among many very cool amenities this amazing place has to offer. Here are all the reasons you should go:
The 3-story spiral tube slide begins and ends in the recreation pool area and takes a corkscrew trip outside in between. From the parking lot, you can see the slide, encased in an artistic silo to the left of the entry doors (one of several pieces of functional art around campus). Inside, the slide accompanies other play features (a smaller slide, a lazy river, fountains and a water basketball goal) in the leisure pool area. This was where we spent our morning when we visited for the first time the other day, but not before checking out everything else on site.
In addition to the family-friendly pool, there's an eight-lane lap pool, where folks can take swim lessons, enjoy water aerobics and exercise.
In the non-aquatics department, there are cardio and weight rooms, fitness studios, courts (basketball/pickleball/badminton), and plenty of meeting space.
Northern Regional offers athletic programs including basketball, soccer, baseball, cheerleading, futsal, disc golf, football and martial arts. In addition to sports leagues -- and beyond the fun pool -- they offer tons for kids, including child watch, afterschool programs, camps, parties and preschool activities.
And then there's everything outside. Outdoor amenities include trails, water features, plant and animal wildlife and play fields. I understand that plans are in the works for horticulture classes and demonstration gardens. (I should note that one of my other favorite parts of the rec center is the expansive picture windows that allow in tons natural light throughout the facility.)
Northern Regional Rec Center opened over the summer and I'd hoped to visit sooner, but it was well worth the wait -- and now we'll be back frequently, for the slide and much more! Note
: The Meck Pass is among the best deals in town when it comes to family recreation. Mecklenburg County residents can get a monthly membership for $65, which includes the passholder, spouse and up to five legal dependents and grants access to all Meck County Park & Rec facilities
, including Ray's Splash Planet
. Otherwise, it's $8 for youth and senior residents ($10 nonresidents) and $10 for adult residents ($15 nonresidents). (Here are all the fees and schedules.
) If you're looking for a gym membership and/or easy entertainment for the family, you can't beat it. How to get there:
Northern Regional Recreation Center is located at 18121 Old Statesville Rd., Cornelius, NC, 28031.