Living in Florida and being surrounded by water almost everywhere, we as parents of children know the importance of getting your kids in the water, swimming safely and most importantly, having fun and getting some cool exercise too!
FACT: Hillsborough County leads the nation in drowning deaths of children under the age of 4. ALARMING!
I wanted to share a few of my favorite places in the Tampa Bay area to cool off, learn how to swim, or just enjoy the h2O for the afternoon with the kids and friends for the summer!
Bob Sierra YMCA- Northdale
WHY I call this the “Adventure Island of Suburbia” Because going to the pool should be fun and the Bob Sierra’s YMCA Youth and Family Center makes it fun for even your littlest ones! It also should be something you can quickly pack up, leave the house and head over to without much thought! (I LOVE Adventure Island, but with 3 kids in tow, I just can’t do it all the time!) This is the perfect alternative! They not only have an awesome area for the littlest of walkers, but also a larger open pool that has slides your child can go down (but they DO have to pass a swim test and also be over the age of 5.) You have full access to a patio for lunch, showers (we ALWAYS leave clean) and a great staff of life guards that is even watching the littlest ones in the 6 inches of water. Super safe!
A membership is required, but they DO allow families to “try” out the facility a couple of times. So even if your not a member (yet) check this place out for an afternoon!
Seal Swim School
WHY Having 3 kids, the youngest being 2, I have used Seal Swim School personally for all my Mom and tot swimming lessons. My 7 year old competes in youth triathlons and my daughter at 6 is a super strong swimmer too! I love their lessons, facility and instructors for all kinds of reasons! The facility we frequent is in Lutz (they have 3 other locations in the Bay area too!) They are super clean, super warm and they really know how to interact with the children to make them WANT to swim and learn survival skills. I feel that the way they teach the children the steps to help themselves get out of a BAD situation also goes along with building their confidence about swimming underwater and feeling safe when they are in the water.
Sulphur Springs Pool and Park
$4, $2 for children and seniors, $25 for seasonal swim pass (recreation card required), $75 seasonal family swim pass (recreation card required). Swimming lessons are forming for March and early summer. Contact 813-931-2156 for more information.
ISR (Now available at The Interbay Glover YMCA)
WHY Beginning this month, the Y will pilot the Infant Swimming Resource (ISR) program at the South Tampa Y. ISR is a water survival program that trains children as young as 6 months to float, rest, breathe and swim to the wall. The six-week program is taught five days a week for just 10 minutes a day by certified ISR instructors.
The South Tampa Y’s pilot program will be offered to children, ages 6 to 36 months, of first responders, such as firefighters and police officers. Most of these first responders have witnessed the devastating impact accidental drownings have on families.
After the pilot program runs at South Tampa, the Y will expand pilot programs to the Campo Family Y and the New Tampa Family Y.
For more information about the ISR program, please contact Adam Klutts at 813.839.0210.
WHY A Tampa landmark! Opens March 10th, 2012! Adventure Island’s 30 acres provide water-soaked excitement for guests of all ages. I have personally had passes for my family since my son was 4. It’s a great fun place to go with the kids and run around to cool down. They have little splash pads with shallow water for preschoolers and babies. They have a intermediate play area for kids ages, 5-13 and then of course, the “rides” for those who are tall enough. There is also a pool that we swim in together too! The sand/ beach area is always a fun area to play in too!
We bring a cooler (see restrictions) and they also offer a dining meal plan too. From personal experience, the annual pass is the way to hit this park. We frequent it enough to get our moneys worth during the summertime. I come prepared with snacks, change of clothes, sunscreen and sand toys. Parking is free with your pass too.
Hyde Park Fountains at Kate Jackson Park
A great place to go to cool off under small fountains. Recommended for ages 0-4. Open seasonally May through October.
Curtis Hixon Park Downtown Tampa (In front of Glazer Children’s Museum)
WHY Another fountain in Tampa Bay that is a great place to bring kids to cool off! These fountains run seasonally and are fun for kids of ALL ages. Located in the heart of Downtown Tampa, you will enjoy all the scenery while cooling off after playtime at the playground.
Harbour Island Athletic Club
WHY Unless you live in South Tampa, you might not know about this AMAZING club! It is beautiful! Whether you are looking for professional instruction, learn to swim options or simply lap swimming you will surely enjoy our swimming complex. If you are not a member, which you must be to use the facility, you can try them out for 3 days! So why not take them up on it! It could be the best 3 days of your summer with the kids cooling down in pool! I am always up for a change of pace! http://www.harbourislandathleticclub.com/Contact_/Join_the_Club.aspx
Little Flipper Swim School
WHY LaFleur’s Little Flipper Swim School is designed with younger children in mind. During the formative years kids need to have an opportunity to swim “year round”. LaFleur’s has a state of the art facility and program for them (right here in Tampa at Anderson and Linebaugh near the Veteran’s Expressway). Check their website for details regarding pricing and schedule.
Photo: Courtesy of Marisa Langford.Activities, Fit Kids, play, Tampa