Need to knows:
Stroller or sling? Recommended sling
Baby friendly restrooms? Nope but in a pinch, there is a bench that could serve as a changing table for small babies
Parking validation? No need — free parking lot out front
I pity people who visit Austin on a Tuesday. If someone had an extended layover on a Tuesday and decided to venture out to make the most of a few hours, they’d be sorely disappointed. It would be like deciding to extend your weekend trip in Paris for an extra day, only to find out that the entire city shuts down on Mondays (sorry that was a bougie humblebrag that I’ve been to Paris a bunch).
On top of pretty much every museum and exhibition in Austin shuttering on Tuesdays, the majority of public pools are also closed.
Enter — Big Stacy! This downtown neighborhood pool bucks the trend and is open all day on Tuesday, which is a godsend in the blistering late August heat. If it’s not Tuesday, however, I recommend choosing any of the other bougie options — Springwoods, Walnut Creek, Deep Eddy, Govalle are a better fit for you. You’re too bougie for Big Stacy — on any day but Tuesday. You’ll want to be prepared to slum it if you find yourself at Big Stacy on a Tuesday.
The pool itself is pretty and clean, but the whole experience is not baby friendly as far as Austin pools go. The parking lot is just out front of the pool, but it’s small and people tend to park in haphazard ways. The set spots are all going in one direction which would seem to indicate a one way lot, but it’s not. It’s pretty easy to get blocked in there, so exert some caution with the spot you choose.
I’d recommend leaving the stroller in the car and baby wearing, because shade is sparse at Big Stacy and you’ll want to free yourself up to trek to the nicest shaded spot. There are benches surrounding the pool, but they’re in direct sunlight. People spread towels on the grass surrounding the pool, not unlike nearby Barton Springs, and if you get right up to the fence there’s a tiny bit of shade. I’d recommend going up there. It’s not too steep and worthwhile to grab your shade where you can.
The pool itself is very warm in the summer heat due to the lack of shade. There is no kiddie pool, but they’ve roped off a bit on the far right lane for kids since it’s 3 feet deep. If your kids are older than a few months, definitely bring floaties since 3 feet is as shallow as it gets. There aren’t even steps or a ledge to prop little ones.
No food or drink is allowed at Big Stacy, so plan accordingly. If you need to feed the baby I’d recommend doing so on the grass in whatever shade you can find — again, it’s hard to come by there.
There’s just two single bathrooms, and they’re just slightly prison-y. There’s a sign that says you have a 5 minute limit, which isn’t strictly enforced but would be stressful with a small baby. There’s a bench that could serve as a changing table, but you’ll obviously need to bring your own pad. It wouldn’t be ideal with an older, wigglier baby — definite safety hazard. The sink/soap/hand dryer setup stressed me out. I instinctively reached for the silver button to the right because I thought it was soap, but it blew hot air. The wire dangling under the soap was decidedly not bougie enough for me.
If you find yourself with a baby on a hot Tuesday, then Big Stacy is definitely one to check out. On non-Tuesdays, however, there are better pools for you and your taste and you should definitely choose one of those.