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Iowa City Area Pools and Splash Pads

It’s hot, it’s sunny, your kids are restless…IT’S TIME TO MAKE A SPLASH! The Iowa City area has some great pools and splash pads to cool off in, but each has its own pros and cons, depending on the age of your kids and what kind of experience you are looking for. Can’t decide which pool or splash pad to head to? Not sure what to expect once you get there? We’ve got you covered.

Pools and splash pads

Locations included in this guide:

  • City Park Pool (Outdoor)
  • Coralville Aquatic Center (Outdoor)
  • North Liberty Rec Center (Indoor and Outdoor Pools)
  • Mercer Park Aquatic Center (Indoor Pool, plus outdoor wading pool)
  • Coralville Rec Center (Indoor)
  • University of Iowa Campus Rec and Wellness Center (Indoor)
  • Robert A. Lee Rec Center (Indoor)
  • Fairmeadows Splash Pad
  • Tiffin Splash Pad
  • Tower Court Splash Pad
  • Wetherby Splash Pad
  • Penn Meadows Splash Pad
  • Weatherdance Fountain (Outdoor, in the Ped Mall)

Outdoor Pools

City Park Pool (Outdoor)

200 E. Park Road
Iowa City, IA 52245

(319) 356-5108

Hours

  • Adult lap swim:
    6:15-9 a.m. Monday-Friday
    Monday-Sunday 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

*The wading pool will be open Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. for families with small children (ages 5 and under).

  • Public Swim: Monday-Sunday 1-5 p.m.
  • Twilight Swim: Monday-Sunday 5-8 p.m.
  • Lap Swim (deep end): Monday-Sunday 1-8 p.m.

Full Schedule and Hours, including holidays and exceptions

Features

  • T-shaped pool featuring a shallow area on both sides of the ‘T’
  • 50-meter and 25-yard lap swim area
  • Two one-meter and two three-meter diving boards
  • Pool depth ranges from 1 to 14 feet
  • Small wading pool for use by young children being directly supervised by a responsible adult (16 years or older)
  • Not heated – temperature will vary between the low 60s through high 80s.

Cost

2 and under, Free
3 years and older, $4 (12-5 p.m.), Twilight Rate: $2 (5-8 p.m.)

Rules

  • A responsible adult (age 16 or older) may supervise up to four non-swimmers.
  • An adult (age 16 or older) must accompany children fifth grade or younger.
  • Children incapable of swimming the width of the pool in a competent form and without stopping are not allowed in the deep areas of the swimming pools.
  • Recommended height for a child to participate in the main pool is 3’9″.
  • Lifeguards are not assigned to provide coverage of the wading pools.
  • The wading pool at the City Park pool is not open for use during the noon lap-swim time.
  • More general pool information and rules

What Local Moms Say:

This pool is not as crowded as others tend to be (unless daycares are there). It is kind of an old-school pool. There are bathrooms/showers and plenty of seating. Older kids love the high dive. There is a playground right next to pool. I like that they provide free life vests for kids’ use. This is the only outside pool that has the wading pool separated from the large pool with a fence around it. For this reason, this is my favorite place to take really small kids. It’s so nice to be able to let your little ones splash around and have fun without constantly worrying that they are going to end up going “too deep”.


Coralville Aquatic Center (Outdoor)

1513 7th St.
Coralville, IA 52241

(319) 248-9330

Hours

June 3-Aug. 22
Mon – Fri: 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sat – Sun: Noon – 6:00 p.m.

Aug. 26-Sept. 4
Sat-Sun: 12:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Labor Day: 12:00-6:00 p.m.

Holidays
July 3: 12:00-6:00 p.m.
July 4: 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Sept. 4: 12:00-6:00 p.m.

Features

  • 11,000+ square feet of surface water
  • 25 meter, L-shaped pool
  • Diving boards
  • Splash deck with fountains and play structures
  • Zero-depth entry
  • On-deck shaded seating
  • Full service concession stand Open daily, noon – 6:00 p.m.
  • 3 slides (including an open flume body slide, a space bowl that circles swimmers and drops into an 8-foot pool, and a smaller slide in the shallow end for young children)
  • Bathrooms and Showers

Cost

$4.50 Until 6:00 p.m.

$3.50 After 6:00 p.m.

Free – Children under the age of 2

The Aquatic Center accepts cash, credit, or debit. No checks.

Rules

Toys and Flotation Devices:

Patrons may bring their own toys to enjoy at the pool. Flotation devices such as rafts may be used if they are small enough to hold only one person. The guards on duty reserve the right to clear the pool of all flotation devices when it inhibits their view and remove toys for the safety of other patrons. Flotation devices are allowed in the shallow end and four-foot to five-foot area. Please note that hard balls and squirt guns are not allowed.

What Local Moms Say

There are multiple options for multiple ages, including a fun splash pad and slides. The “toilet bowl slide” is really exciting for bigger kids who can pass a swim test to go down it! I love the zero-entry feature and slide for little kids, but the spray structure can be a problem for little ones if older kids get carried away with it. It can also be challenging to keep an eye on your kids if they go behind the spray structure. There’s almost always a lack of seating, and not a lot of shade to be found. Our kids always beg to eat at the concession stand here, but the food is very expensive. It can be a fun way to take care of lunch or dinner, but we always have to budget for it. We usually go in the evening on really hot days because it’s less crowded and it’s cheaper in the evening.


North Liberty Rec Center (Indoor and Outdoor Pools)

520 W. Cherry Street

(319) 626-5716

Hours

May 31 – Aug 23 Regular Hours:

Monday-Friday 12-9 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 12-6 p.m.

Check full schedule for holidays and other exceptions

Features

  • Zero Depth Entry (in both outside and inside pools!)
  • Large shallow area for small children
  • Gentle “Mushroom Spray Feature” in shallow end
  • Large umbrella for shade in the shallow end
  • Floatables & Floatable Walk: Buoyant sea animals for climbing and walking on.
  • Mini Slide Play Structure with interactive spray features for younger children
  • Two Large Water Slides: One enclosed and one open
  • Diving Boards: 1 & 3 meter boards over 14’ diving well
  • Bathrooms
  • Showers
  • Concession Stand

Cost

Adults (19+ yrs) = $4
Children (3-18 yrs) and seniors = $3
Infants (under 2 yrs) = FREE

Rules

  • Water wings, large floating toys and large rafts are not allowed. Noodles and coastguard approved flotation devices are allowed.
  • Must be 48” tall to ride the two large slides
  • Additional pool rules

What local moms say:

North Liberty is super fun, but always really crowded. I like that there is shade in the shallow end for the little ones, and the smaller slide in the shallow end is great for younger kids who aren’t big enough for the two large slides. We love all the activities built into the pool (slides, sea creature “monkey bars”, etc.) However, besides the big umbrella for the babies, there is almost no shade outside. Even though the outside pool doesn’t have a lap lane, the inside pool is usually pretty quiet and good for laps. When the weather turns or it’s a little crowded outside, so we just move inside to the indoor pool.  It’s usually not at all crowded there and it’s been a great space for getting our kids to practice really swimming, not just playing around in the water. Even though we live in Iowa City, when we want a family day at the pool, we consider it worth it to drive up to North Liberty.


Indoor Pools

Mercer Park Aquatic Center (Indoor Pool, plus outdoor wading pool)

2701 Bradford Drive
Iowa City, IA 52240

(319) 356-5109

Hours

Full Schedule for different sections of the pool

Spa Hours:

  • Monday – Friday 6 a.m. – 3 p.m. for adults 16 years or older
  • 3 p.m. – close for anyone 15 years and younger accompanied by an adult
  • Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. for 15 years and younger accompanied by an adult
  • The spa is not open for use during times reserved for swimming lessons.

Features

  • Deep section – 25 yards long; depth ranges from 4’6″ to 12′
  • Contains two one-meter diving boards.
  • Middle section is 25 yards long; depth ranges from 4’2″ to 4’6″
  • Shallow section – approximately 2’6″ to 4′
  • Outside wading pool – requires children to have adult supervision.
  • 12-person spa.

Cost

2 and under, Free
3 years and older, $4

Rules

  • A responsible adult (age 16 or older) may supervise up to four non-swimmers.
  • An adult (age 16 or older) must accompany children fifth grade or younger.
  • Children incapable of swimming the width of the pool in a competent form and without stopping are not allowed in the deep areas of the swimming pools.
  • Recommended height for a child to participate in the main pool is 3’9″.
  • Lifeguards are not assigned to provide coverage of the wading pools.
  • The wading pool at Mercer Park Aquatic Center is available for use during lap swim providing a responsible adult stays with the child in the wading pool at all times.
  • More general pool information and rules

What Local Moms Say

Mercer’s pool is good for lap swimming and for swim lessons, but it’s not the “fun pool.” It does have a nice big hot tub, which is great, and an outdoor toddler pool (which I frequently see ducks swimming in). It seems like they close the outdoor wading pool a lot, so make sure to call before going there to make sure it’s open. The outdoor wading pool is a fantastic place to bring small children, since it is totally separate from the large indoor pool, and the whole thing is just 18 inches deep. The inside pool does not have a good shallow area for young children, and they aren’t allowed to play on the access ramp, so I don’t recommend bringing young children here unless the outdoor pool is open.


Coralville Rec Center (Indoor)

1506 8th St.
Coralville, IA 52241

(319) 248-1750

Hours

Indoor Pool Schedule

Features

  • The Indoor Pool is 25 yards long and 8 lanes wide
  • An additional shallow end (2.5-foot to 3.5-foot depth) for swim lessonsaquacise, open swim, and other programs
  • Aqua Climb, a 17-foot wide and 14-foot tall poolside climbing wall (climbers must be able to pass deep end swim test)
  • Separate wading pool (1.5-foot depth)
  • Whirlpool spa

Cost

$3.50 – Ages two and older

Free – Children under the age of two

Rules

Toys and Flotation Devices:

Patrons may bring their own toys to enjoy at the pool. Flotation devices such as rafts may be used if they are small enough to hold only one person. The guards on duty reserve the right to clear the pool of all flotation devices when it inhibits their view and remove toys for the safety of other patrons. Flotation devices are allowed in the shallow end and four-foot to five-foot area. Please note that hard balls and squirt guns are not allowed.

What Local Moms Say

The small wading pool is nice for kids, and it is gated off from the larger pool, which is great for little ones. It has zero entry, but the walk-down ramp doesn’t have enough room to play like the zero entry spots in North Liberty and Coralville outdoor pools. They also have a hot tub.


University of Iowa Campus Rec and Wellness Center (Indoor)

309 South Madison
Iowa CityIA 52242
 
(319) 335-9293

Hours

  • Monday-Friday 5:30 – 8 a.m. (Hot tub only)
  • 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Leisure Pool and Hot Tub)
  • Saturday and Sunday – Noon – 4 p.m. and 8 – 10 p.m.
  • Full Summer Schedule (including exceptions and holidays)

Features

  • Spa
  • Lazy river
  • Vortex
  • Zero depth entry
  • Water play features
  • Bouldering wall
  • 20 yard lap lanes
  • Basketball hoop
  • Bathrooms and Showers

Cost

$8 per day for non-alumni community members

Ages 0-3 FREE

Ages 4-18 $6 per day

Rules

Only U.S. Coast Guard approved floatation devices or those provided by Recreational Services may be used.

What Local Moms Say

This is the best indoor pool, hands down, but also the most expensive. The beach (zero depth) entry for littles is great, with a few little spray features for splashing in. There’s a fun climbing wall in the deep end. Mini lazy river & vortex, with tubes available for riding on, can keep kids (and mom) entertained for hours! The hot tub is huge! And kids can enter the hot tub, too, which is unusual. There is also a sauna, vests and noodles for kids, and a lap pool. Nice family locker rooms with showers. It can be pricey, especially if you have a large family, and if you aren’t affiliated with the U of I. The cost is cheaper for alumni and staff/faculty/students.


Robert A. Lee Rec Center (Indoor)

220 S. Gilbert Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

(319) 356-5100

Hours

Full Schedule including special hours and exceptions

Features

  • L-shaped pool featuring a 25-yard main body, 3 – 5 feet deep in this area
  • The bottom of the ‘L’ is a 10-foot deep diving well – no diving board
  • Wading pool area – requires children to have adult supervision.

Cost

2 and under, Free
3 years and older, $4

Family Swim Fridays 5-8 p.m., $1

Rules

  • A responsible adult (age 16 or older) may supervise up to four non-swimmers.
  • An adult (age 16 or older) must accompany children fifth grade or younger.
  • Children incapable of swimming the width of the pool in a competent form and without stopping are not allowed in the deep areas of the swimming pools.
  • Recommended height for a child to participate in the main pool is 3’9″.
  • Lifeguards are not assigned to provide coverage of the wading pools.
  • More general pool information and rules

Wading Pool:

  • Adult supervision required. No lifeguards assigned to this area. Open during public and lap hours, except during swim lessons; both day and evening.

What Local Moms Say

Robert A. Lee Rec center pool is mostly a lap swimming-type pool with a shallow end that is about three feet. There is a separate wading pool right next to it. There is also a rock climbing wall in the deep end. It’s is a pretty basic pool, good for lap swims, swim lessons, and more serious swimmers. I’ve never seen it with a lot of kids in it, or a lot of people in it at all. So, if you need a quieter place to go and are stressed out by big crowds, that’s a good one. But, the shallow end isn’t that shallow, so it’s not good for little kids. My six-year-old is just tall enough to stand there with her whole head out of the water.


Splash Pads

Fairmeadows Splash Pad

2500 Miami Drive
Iowa City, IA 52240

Hours

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Features

  • 16 different water play stations
  • Bathrooms
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Shade
  • Adjacent playground
  • Benches

Cost

FREE

What Local Moms Say

There is no parking lot, so you have to park on the street. There is tons of shade, so you can sit in the shade and still supervise your kids. There is a playground right next to it that is totally shaded by big trees. It’s not the nicest playground, but the school next door has a newer playground, too. There is a picnic shelter nearby, next to the playground, but it’s not right near the splash pad. There is a bathroom building right next to the splash pad, but it does block the view of the playground, so you can’t supervise both the playground and the splash pad at the same time. It’s spread out, so even when it’s busy, it doesn’t seem as congested as others.


Wetherby Park Splash Pad

2400 Taylor Drive
Iowa City, IA 52240

Hours

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Features

  • 15 water sprays
  • Bathrooms
  • Picnic Shelter
  • Adjacent Playground
  • Benches
  • Some shade

Cost

FREE

What Local Moms Say

There is a sandbox & playground close for those that don’t want to get wet. There is a bathroom, but no lock or changing table. Picnic tables & pavilion are right nearby. There is lots of shade and some benches around the splash pad, too. Wetherby is sometimes really crowded, especially around lunchtime when it is a location for free summer lunch.


Tiffin Splash Pad

Tiffin City Park- 809 E. Marengo Road (Splash Pad)

When driving towards Tiffin on Highway 6 from the east (from Iowa City), Tiffin City Park and splash pad is the first thing on the left side of the road on the outskirts of town.

Hours

Park Hours: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily

Features

  • 5 water spray features
  • Splash area is fenced in
  • Playground adjacent to splash pad
  • Covered picnic shelter just outside the splash pad fence

Cost

FREE

Rules

No running or sliding

What Local Moms Say

Please be cautious! It is extremely slippery! Its surface is a softer landing than concrete, but SO many kids fall down here! We highly suggest water shoes–they help a lot. It is fenced in, so supervision is easy here. The actual splash pad area does not have any shady areas. There is one picnic shelter for shade, just outside the splash pad fence. Other than that, there’s not much shade. This is a smaller splash pad, with just 5 water features, so it’s better for littler kids. Bathrooms are a distance away and sometimes locked. Kids ignore the “no running or sliding” signs and often run into littler kids. The water is really cold. But there is a great playground right next to it, so it’s fun to play there while the kids dry off.


Tower Court Splash Pad

1124 Tower Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52246

Hours

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

Features

  • Playground equipment
  • Picnic tables

Cost

FREE

What Local Moms Say

None of the moms we polled had been to this one yet…so it just might be the perfect one to try when you want to avoid the crowds! Let us know what you think!


Penn Meadows Splash Pad

(North side of Penn Meadows Park off of east Penn Street)

Hours

9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily  through Labor Day weekend

Features

  • Next to a playground
  • Big rocks for sitting on

Cost

FREE

What Local Moms Say

It’s cute but small. The floor is nice because it’s not slippery, but it does hold onto wood chips and since it’s right next to a playground, the non-slip flooring can get kinda gross. Last summer I think the big complaint was that the rocks they had circling the splash pad (that double as benches for parents) were too close and moms were worried that kids would run into them and get hurt. The city listened and put a sidewalk type area around the splash pad to widen it and then moved the rocks back, so hopefully that lessens some worries.


Ped Mall Weatherdance Fountain

210 S Dubuque St.
Iowa City, IA 52244

If packing up all the necessities to visit one of these pools or splash pads seems like too much work, but you still need a simple summer excursion to help you cool off, head to downtown Iowa City. Nestled in the center of the Ped Mall is the Weatherdance Fountain, a simple series of water arcs just begging to be enjoyed. Run under the tunnel of arcs if you want to stay mostly dry, or go ahead and get soaking wet, then dry off playing at the playground right next to it. It’s Iowa City perfection.


Did we miss any details? Do you have anything to add? Please let us know! Comment below and we’ll do our best to keep this updated.

 

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6 Responses to Iowa City Area Pools and Splash Pads

  1. Stephanie Coleman June 1, 2017 at 8:57 am #

    Just wanted to add that there is now a splash pad in North Liberty. We tried to go last weekend and couldn’t find a place to park because it is by the ball fields but it looked nice. Thought maybe you could add it to the next one. 🙂

  2. Dalyn June 4, 2017 at 3:32 am #

    They redid the ground cover for this year at the Tiffin splash pad so it is not slippery anymore. This also prevents the big kids from sliding as it is textured and a non-slip type surface.

    • Dalyn June 4, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

      We scoped out the Taylor “splash pad” it’s more like a sprinkler but small kids would love it! The playground looks newer and fun as well. It does have shade by the structure, but in the water part there is not much.

      I was disappointed with the description of the splash pad on Miami. I misunderstood that the play area was really shady but the water part is Full sun.

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