Best swimming pools for kids
This Olympic pool is not only the largest one in NYC, but it was the first constructed during an impressive 1936 campaign by the Works Progress Administration that opened 11 new pools around the city that summer. That makes this watering hole the oldest in the city and when finished, was so grand that it was then used as a model for the other 10. Swimmers enjoy views of the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge and the river shore while getting spritzed by fountains that spray water 25 feet in the air. When the kiddos start getting too pruney, take a break at any of the other Astoria Park features: outdoor tennis courts, a track, basketball courts and playgrounds. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Head to this pop-up pool to bob around with the kids while enjoying one of the best views in the city. A mere 3.5 feet deep, the popular attraction is ideal for young children and their families. Be warned: Pool time is limited to 45-minute sessions, and you'll need to grab a wristband either on the hour or a half hour earlier, depending on your time slot (it's best to check the website for details before heading over). Good to know as well: 2018 will very likely be the last season for this particular pop-up (which was only supposed to extend through 2016), though it sounds like there's hope for a permanent Brooklyn Bridge Park pool in the future. Open daily 10am–6pm.
This West Village rec center has two midsize pools for families to paddle around in. The outdoor pool is free, but you’ll need to sign up for a membership card before you can use it, so be sure to bring ID. There can be lines to sign up, but it’s worth it to get an outdoor swimming spot that isn’t swarmed all summer long—plus, it’s the only one in the city that still has a diving board! Your little guppies will have a blast cannonballing into the 100-by-50-foot pool, while everyone will enjoy Keith Haring’s playful artwork “Carmine Street Mural,” which he painted on the back wall in 1987—it makes a stunning frame to a cool city scene. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Don’t fret over rumors of hours-long waits and hordes of overheated teens at this Williamsburg pool—since it reopened in 2012, the city has worked out some kinks and boosted the on-duty staff. Now, if you arrive early in the day, you’ll find a beautiful and spacious swimming pool with a safe, shallow area for youngsters and a deep end that reaches only four feet six inches. Families can also take advantage of an indoor rec center, complete with fitness equipment, basketball court and weight room. Open daily 11am–7pm.
The Candy Cane-esque ambiance of the pool's pastel yellow, pink, purple and blue is courtesy of Technodrome1, K&Co and Pliskin Architecture, according to Curbed, and it's certainly a scenic place to take a dip. Not only will viewers be able to play Marco Polo in this great space, they'll be on the island's waterfront amidst gorgeous summer colors. Various hours.
This Yorkville swimming hole is right at the edge of the East River, and visitors can spy Roosevelt Island from a pedestrian bridge linking John Jay Park with the East River esplanade across the FDR. The 145-foot-long pool itself is lined with leafy trees, setting a bucolic scene for a dip or poolside lounge. At the diving area, kids can practice cannonballs, pikes, twists and jackknives with impunity. Even when the pool is at capacity on weekend mornings, it still feels spacious. Show up with your brood around 5pm on a weekday and you'll have the place mostly to yourselves. Unfortunately, though, there's no baby pool and little shade, which means you'll find an older and rowdier crowd. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Swim around in what is probably one of the coolest watering holes in the city. The Floating Pool is situated on a movable barge that docks on Barretto Point Park in the summer. Cool factor aside, the 82-foot-long pool also offers amazing waterfront views from the East River and its surrounding parkland features plenty of lawn for picnicking and romping around. Open daily 11am–7pm.
With separate adult and kiddie pools, this somewhat under-the-radar Brooklyn attraction is ideal for children of all ages. The environment tends to stay relaxing and peaceful, plus it's right next to the Thomas Greene Playground where kids can climb the monkey bars and scale mid-size towers. You can head to the baby pool, or take a dip with the big kids. Gather the whole family, smear on some sunscreen, and jump in! Open daily 11am–7pm.
Families flock to this Alphabet City spot in warm-weather months to climb around on the tiny playground, shoot hoops on the basketball courts and—especially on summer scorchers—cool off in the pool. With one pool just three feet deep and another just one and a half foot deep, it's easy to keep an eye on little ones splashing around, and the clean water and attentive lifeguards make it even more parent-approved. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Cool down and cheer up at the pool in the Red Hook Recreation Area. You can sign up to become a member here. Whether you take the tots to the colorful water park, jump right in to the Olympic-size pool or enjoy the adult lap-swim sessions during the week, this friendly attraction is sure to please. In the mood for some post-pool-time snacks? Head to the ball fields for some tacos, offered every weekend. Open daily 11am–7pm.
This swimming pool was used by the U.S. Olympic Team when they were preparing for the 1952 Helsinki Games, but don’t let its impressive size deter you from dipping in with the kids–its depth goes no more than three and a half feet deep. Budding swimmers can kick it in the smaller wading pool while parents enjoy a breather during the school break. Open daily 11am–7pm.
In the wintertime this spot becomes the go-to ice skating rink for Uptowners, but once the summer hits, it’s converted into a blue oasis. The Olympic-size pool is a whopping 240 feet by 190 feet, but with a depth that clocks in at just under 4 feet, it’s a great spot for little swimmers. Tots can splash around in the smaller wading pool–it’s just 1.25 feet high so it’s a perfect introduction to what could spark and lifelong love of water. Open daily 11am–7pm.
Parents who'd rather steer clear of the hoardes at Staten Island's larger Lyons Pool can opt for this medium-size watering hole. Getting there takes a bit more time, but families who arrive by car won't have to schlep their pool gear far from the parking lot. While tots paddle around, the trees around the pool's perimeter provide plenty of shade for watchful parents. If you happen to have pint-sized skaters, there's also the Faber Park Skate Park. Open daily 11am–7pm.
With an 3.5-foot-deep Olympic-size pool, a shallower wading pool and a diving pool, this recreation center has summer splashing covered. The wide-open pool area allows for more breathing (and swimming) room than you might find some of the city’s hot spots and an adjacent sprinkler area with surrounding hoses is the size of a basketball court. And don’t let the fact that it’s out in Staten Island keep you away for the St. George Ferry Terminal is a few minutes’ walk to the facility. Plus, it’ll feel like you’ve truly taken a day trip out of the city! Open daily 11am–7pm.
At 40 feet by 20 feet, this East Village pool might be small compared to the others on the list, but it’s accessibility makes it truly worth it when you’re craving a quick dip. It’s shallow 3-foot depth is perfect for the kiddos and if they tire of wading around, they can burn some energy at the onsite playground, game tables and basketball and handball courts. Even Fido can join in on the fun! The park features bone-shaped pools for the pooches to jump into and cool down. Open daily 11am–7pm.