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June 19, 2013

Keep cool at local swimming pools, beaches this summer

By Mary Beth Almond
C & G Staff Writer

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Keep cool at local swimming pools, beaches this summer
Yelena Golovata, of Warren, takes a slide at the Troy Family Aquatic Center.

METRO DETROIT — Families across Michigan looking for ways to beat the summer heat on a budget can cool down at a variety of local swimming pools and beaches.

Pattie Koski, facility supervisor for the Southfield Sports Arena, said that as soon as school is out, many families choose to make a splash at the outdoor municipal pool at the Southfield Sports Arena, within the Southfield Municipal Complex, at 26000 Evergreen.

“Southfield is the best,” she said. “We see all age groups, everyone from 2-year-olds to 90-year-olds … and we’re constantly improving what we have. We are very customer-service friendly.”

The Southfield municipal pool is a 50-meter Olympic-sized swimming pool, complete with a dive well with a diving board, an Aqua Climb climbing wall in the deep end of the pool and a 120-foot two-loop waterslide. Toddlers and young children are sure to be entertained in the 10-by-10-foot, 3-foot-deep, kiddie pool — which features a variety of interactive water features, including a wheel, a pelican and three water features that operate on a hand pump similar to an old-fashioned well. After taking a dip in the pool or catching some rays on a lounger, pool patrons can head to the upper deck area to enjoy some snacks from home or some concessions available at the facility, including Little Caesar’s pizza. General Swim pool hours are 1-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday through Aug. 23. General Swim admission is $4 for residents younger than 18, $5 for nonresidents younger than 18, $5 for resident adults and $6 for nonresident adults. Season swim passes are also available for individuals and families.

As with any outdoor pool, Koski said, crowd size depends on the weather.

“Last year, with the heat, we were the best place in town to go to,” she said. “If it’s hot this year, we’ll be that popular again.”

Lake St. Clair Metropark, 31300 Metro Parkway in Harrison Township, is also popular destination for the summer, according to Allan Frazher, water safety supervisor at the park. Frazher said huge crowds always gather around the park’s one-mile shoreline on Lake St. Clair to beat the heat. Guests can do just about anything on site, Frazer said — including swimming, boating, kayaking, relaxing on the 1,000-foot sandy beach, exploring one of the many nature trails, staying active on the basketball and tennis courts, or strolling down the lengthy paved boardwalk. Park visitors can even take a dip in an Olympic-sized swimming pool — complete with diving boards, waterslides and a Squirt Zone for the kids — open from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

“It’s open to anybody to cool off on a hot day,” Frazher said. “We have a wide variety of individuals that come, from families to individuals to big groups of people that come.”

Park attendance is really dependent on the weather, he said.

“It has been a little bit slower to start, but hopefully we’re going to pick up here in the coming months,” he added.

There is a $5 cost per vehicle to enter the park property. While the park entry fee allows patrons to swim in the lake for free, Frazher said a $4 per person fee is charged to those who use the public pool. The summer hours for Lake St. Clair Metropark are 6 a.m.-10 p.m. weekdays, and 6 a.m.-11 p.m. on weekends. The pool area is open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

Another place families can go to keep cool this summer is the Troy Family Aquatic Center, 3425 Civic Center Drive in Troy. Open Memorial Day through Labor Day, the center offers daily and seasonal passes all summer. The center features a large swimming pool with lap lanes and a zero-depth entrance, kids spray pools with a waterfall, a water tree, a kid-sized waterslide, a tube slide and body slide, and a sand-filled area with a playscape and toys. Parents can relax on the lounge chairs on the sun hill or get some exercise on the sand volleyball courts. When everyone works up an appetite, the whole family can grab a snack at the food concessions on the shaded patio. The Troy Community Center also has an indoor aquatic area with a pool with lap lanes, slides, a leisure pool with water toys and a therapy pool that is open year-round for residents, nonresident employees and the their guests.

Check with your community’s parks and recreation department for aquatic offerings in your area.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond at malmond@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1060.