Friday, August 20, 2010

Take a dip in Astoria, Oregon

During our day away from the beach (and kite festival) Thursday, the girls and I really enjoyed our dips at the Astoria Aquatic Center. The indoor facility includes not only the six-lane, 25-yard pool complete with electronic timing system, but also a recreational pool with the "gentle river" feature, two water slides and a mid-pool area for lessons, complete with step to keep the littlest kids' heads above water between swims. There's also a wading pool for the toddlers, and large hot tub. The only thing lacking, really, was springboards. It's such a shame that diving has disappeared in so many communities.

Apparently the facility had some funding problems in past, but whether through revamp of their hours and facility or through community support, the aquatic center is on the upswing. Today, it has a lot going for it including fitness rooms, what appeared to be a small daycare center, and, perhaps most wise of all, a complete store that offered everything from swimsuits to goggles, pool toys and training equipment. Not to mention fabulous rec swim hours which encourage easy drop in visits for entire families. This summer, the pools were open daily from Noon 'til 8 p.m. Lap swimmers shared their lanes while big kids played basketball in a dedicated area of the "big pool." Rather than close the pools to recreational users to make room for lessons, this pool remains open throughout. Recreational users simply move out of the way when classes climb into the water.

It wasn't our cheapest swim. It cost the girls (ages 7 and 10) and me (age undisclosed) $12 for our swim. But we were welcome to stay for 8 hours, there were no mandatory breaks, the facility was nice and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. If you're passing through Astoria and need a good stretch for everyone in the family, stop in for a dip. You won't be sorry.

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