I grew up in Florida, so the second the temperature climbs above 85 degrees I’m looking for a pool. I don’t know how to do Summer without water, and Austin *really* commits to Summer. I think in 2019 there were like 50 days above 100 degrees. It BAKES here.
Luckily, the Parks department has made a serious investment in public pools. They’re classified as either neighborhood pools, community pools, or “regional aquatic centers” — the difference, I believe, being which ones are free.
In the summer of 2021, at least, they’ve all been free, We’ve found a handful that are clean, have ample shade, and are very accessible throughout the week. The Parks website is necessary to bookmark, because they have varying times and days of the week that they’re open,
One of my favorites is Springwoods.
If the very notion of a public pool makes your nose inadvertently tip skyward, then you haven’t been to Springwoods. This pool is a beaut.
First of all, they have a large water slide that older kids would go nuts for. When I’ve gone, it’s been empty and yet the slide is open. It looks so fun, but I’ve yet to brave it since I’ve been on my own with either the baby or baby + toddler each time I’ve gone.
Ok, let’s talk essentials. The kiddie pool is great and has ample shade thanks to some trees on the left side (if you’re facing the lap lanes). There are picnic benches off to the side to put your stroller and bags, so if your baby is so inclined they can sleep in their stroller while you wade in the pool. The whole kiddie area is about 2 ft deep, so it’s a great space for toddlers to splash around safely. There’s also a waterfall mushroom in the kiddie pool in case you’re interested in getting wet past your thighs.
They are currently requiring masks if you’re not in the pool, so if you need to feed and leave the pool they will come by to tell you to mask up. Fun fact though — women can be topless in any pool in Austin, so if you’re breastfeeding you can actually do it in shallow water or on the side dangling your legs in the water. Or you can just pop that shirt off if that’s your vibe.
The parking lot is easy and plants you right in front of the pool. I’ve been a handful of times throughout the week and there have always been plenty of parking spots. Once you’re inside, there is no changing table in the ladies’ room, but the handicapped stall is fine assuming you have your own changing mat.
All in all, Springwoods is an excellent pool! Check it out before it closes on Labor Day.