If you are looking for ways to beat the city heat with your child, start by visiting a free NYC public swimming pool — many of which can be found in every borough and are generally open for operation through Labor Day.
NYC public pool hours vary so check its website before heading over there. While doing this, take note of when they close for cleaning (usually an hour in the middle of the day). When I first began going to New York City public swimming pools, I would forget about the break and show up right before it closed.
Be warned: food and glass bottles are not permitted. They do allow plastic water bottles. The park security guards are no-nonsense employees, so don’t think you can get something past them. I’ve seen many parents and kids thrown out of the line for having something in their bag that they are not permitted to bring in.
NYC Public Pool tip: Bring a lock, come dressed to swim
You must also bring a lock with you – if you don’t have one, then you can’t swim. Also, you aren’t allowed in if you aren’t dressed for swimming. I’ve heard many parents complain that they weren’t planning on swimming and that only the kids were swimming, but again, the security guards don’t buy it. I usually don’t bring anything that needs to be locked. I carry towels, sunscreen, and water bottles with me. Before my kids were potty trained, I also brought an extra swim diaper.
Other things to know for NYC public swimming pools:
- All babies need to wear swim diapers.
- Other than swim shirts, only shirts that are completely white are permitted to be worn in the pool area.
- Stroller parking is available at NYC public pools, but they are left unguarded and nobody is responsible for them.
- All men’s bathing suits need a lining inside. That means no board shorts.
- Kids age 7 and older must use the bathroom of their sex. That makes it difficult for people like me who have kids of different genders. My advice is to have them wait by the door until you come back around to meet them.
- Floaties are not permitted unless they are attached to the swim suit.
NYC Public Pool tip: Swim lessons, lap swimming
New York City public swimming pools also offer free swim classes and morning and evening lap swim for adults. My kids have taken classes at the pool for 3 years and my wife and I have both used the early morning lap swim hours to get in some early morning or evening exercise. To learn more about the classes, click here.
Final tip? Don’t open your mouth while in the water at an NYC public pool. There are a lot of kids in there, after all.
A version of NYC Public Pool Tips this first appeared on One Good Dad.