Wilson Acquatic Center Closing for Maintenance & Spray Park Season is Almost Over!

Heads up moms!  The Wilson Aquatic Center is scheduled to close for its yearly maintenance / cleaning from Sunday, August 26 through Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Also, after labor day weekend (September 3, 2012) the sprinkler parks across the city will be shutting down for the 2012 summer season.

Violet enjoys the last moments of summer fun at Chevy Chase Rec. It's been fun, Summer 2012!

So get out there and enjoy them while you can! And get ready to head back to the Wilson Aquatic Center once it re opens in September!

For all the details regarding the closing and maintenance schedule for ALL the DC DPR Spray Parks, Outdoor pools, and Indoor Aquatic Centers, check out the DC Department of Parks and Recreation website.

Where to Play on a Rainy Day in Washington DC – Round Up!

The Hurricane is coming!  It’s time to batten down the hatches, and figure out what the heck to do with your kids!  Here’s a round up of my favorite rainy day activities in Washington DC if you need to get the little ones out of the house, most of them FREE!

Some ideas to beat the rainy day blues. Of course, there's always puddle stompin'!

Wilson Aquatic Center – The Aquatic Center is currently closed for it’s yearly “deep clean” but will re open Sunday, August 28th all refreshed.  Given that Sunday is supposed to be one of the more rainy days, this seems like great timing to me!  Check out my earlier post on the Wilson Aquatic Center to learn more about this fabulous, free spot.  It’s the perfect place to take your kiddos and really tire them out!

Rock Creek Park Nature Center – While not the most glamorous spot, it’s a great little gem for a rainy day.  There’s lots of things for your little explorer to look at and touch, and plenty of free parking.  Check out my earlier post on the Rock Creek Park Nature Center for more information.

The National Museum of Natural History – This museum has Dinosaurs, bugs, a huge Elephant, gems, and so much more.  Both my son and daughter loved being able to hold the bugs, and were amazed by the butterfly exhibit.  Check out the National Museum of Natural History website for more information on the current exhibits and hours.

National Museum of American History – If your little one loves trains, trucks, machines, and hands on activities don’t miss the Spark Lab!), then you definitely want to check out this Museum.  Check out the website for more information on exhibits and hours of operation.

National Air and Space Museum – There is something amazing about giant planes hanging indoors just a few feet away from you – even to an adult!  Air and Space is a guaranteed winner for kids.  Be sure to check out the How Flight Works exhibit which has lots of fun hands on activities.  Check the Air and Space website for more info.

Wisconsin Place Rec Center – This isn’t the most exciting outing, but if you are desperate to get your little on out of the house, this is a decent option.  Check out my previous post on the Rec Center to learn more.

Metro Train Ride – If your toddler loves trains as much as mine does, they might enjoy just a train ride on the Metro.  I know I’ve done this before!  Cameron really loves the “underground train.”  Seems silly…. but you never know what is exciting to a little one.  Kids under 4 ride free.

National Zoo – Yes, much of the Zoo is outside, but there are lots of indoor exhibits too.  Cameron’s favorites are the Bird House and Amazonia.  Check the Zoo website for more info on exhibits and hours.

Palisades Library – Did you know the Palisades library has a train table, and a whole floor devoted to the kids section?  It’s the best kids library I’ve ever encountered.  The library isn’t open Sunday, but it’s a good option for this Saturday (or any other rainy day!)  Check out the Palisades Library page on the DC Public Library website for more info.

All You Need to Know About Taking Your Toddler to the Wilson Aquatic Center

I’ve done many posts about the Wilson Aquatic Center in Tenleytown DC, but I still get tons of questions about it, so I decided to make one super post that will hopefully be very informative for visitors.  And since it’s winter out and the pool is FREE (to DC residents) it’s a great indoor activity for you and your baby / toddler / kids!

Here’s the important info: (If you have other suggestions / tips please leave a comment!)

1) You must have your ID – no exceptions!  Of course, your child doesn’t need one.  If you are not a DC resident, you have to pay a $4 fee to get in.  They don’t take cash, so bring your credit card.  You can also use a utility bill to prove your DC residency if you don’t have a DC licence yet (like me – eep!)

2) Your small child needs to be wearing a swim diaper AND a swim suit – they can’t just wear a swim diaper.  I am guessing if they just had a swim suit on there wouldn’t be any way for them to tell if there was a diaper on underneath.  Besides, who is to say your kid isn’t potty trained?!  If you are wondering where you can get swim diapers in winter, check on Diapers.com or Amazon.com.

3) There are men’s, women’s, and family locker rooms.  Both the women’s and family locker rooms have diaper changing stations in them (I’m not sure about the men’s…)  Children over the age of 3 of the opposite sex must change in the family locker room.  AKA, you can’t take your son into the women’s locker room.   I used to prefer the women’s locker room (the showers are generally warmer) but I got a lot of dirty looks for having Cam there (even though he is just 2)  so now we stick to the family locker room.  There they have large private changing rooms – there are 4 or 5 of them available.

4) There is stroller parking available at the base of the stairs that lead from the lobby to the pool – just outside of where the elevator lets you off.

5) Things to bring:

A combo lock for the lockers – they do not provide them.

You might want to bring flip flops / sandals for yourself and your child.  I’m not really a fan of walking barefoot in public places – but maybe that’s just me.

I also bring shampoo, conditioner, and some liquid soap.  The showers have soap dispensers in them, but they are often empty.  I just keep travel size bottles in my swim bag to have on hand.

I always bring 2 towels – one for me and one for Cam.  The pool is very warm, but it feels COLD when you get out!  I also got Cam another bath robe to wear post swim.

Toys – one father I’ve seen there a few times has a great set of bath squirter toys that are a big hit.  They also have a basketball hoop and a few balls, but those are often in high demand – so feel free to bring some of your own things.

The children’s pool itself is a “beach pool” meaning it starts at 0″ depth and gradually gets deeper, just like at the beach.  It tops out somewhere between 2 or 3 feet.  There are several water features – some water jets that shoot up, and some buckets that fill and dump which are often off.  They seem a little scary and loud for little kids, but older kids LOVE them.  You can always go talk to the people in the office and ask them to turn them off or on.  They are very friendly.

Then there’s a semi separate deeper area (5 feet?) that the less serious swimmers do laps and water aerobics in.  There is also a HUGE lap pool if you really want to get your swim on and go without your child.  And, there is a “therapy pool” (gigantic hot tub) that only adults are allowed in.

There is always a lifeguard on duty at the kid’s pool and the main lap pool.  They are very attentive and I always feel safe having Cam there.

Phew!  That was a lot of info – I hope you find it helpful.  I can’t stress enough how great this pool is – especially on a rainy, snowy, or cold day.  And, after you’ve gone swimming, hit up the Whole Foods across the street for lunch.  They have an upstairs seating area that has plenty of high chairs!

The Wilson Aquatic Center is open Mon-Fri 6:00am – 9:00pm; Sat,Sun 9:00am – 5:00pm.  It will be closed December 24 and 25 for Christmas, and December 31 and January 1 for New Years.  You can call them with any questions at: (202) 730-0583.  If you are interested in learning about classes at the Wilson Aquatic Center, check out the DC DPR website.

Wilson Aquatics Center Re Opens and Offers A New Schedule of Classes!

This Wilson Aquatic Center has recently re opened after a yearly deep cleaning.  I haven’t been back yet, but my mom has reported that it looks great and is nice and clean!  I can’t wait to take Cameron later this week.  Also, I just checked the DC Department of Parks and Recreation website to see what swim classes for Babies / Toddlers / Young Kids were going to be offered this fall / winter.

It looks like there are three options for varying ages:

6 months to 1 year 11 months – Saturdays 10 – 10:30

2 years to 3 years 11 months – Saturdays 10:30 – 11

4 years – 4 years 11 months – Saturdays 11 – 11:30

We're ready to get back in the pool!

All these classes start October 2nd 2010 and run through January 29, 2011.  Cameron turns 2 in November so he is just at the cut off line.  I am hoping to get him in with the older kids in the 10:30 class.  Fingers crossed, and see you there!!

FYI there are also classes offered for older children as well.  Check the DPR website for the full schedule of classes at the Wilson Aquatic Center.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

The Wilson Aquatic Center is Closing – Temporarily

Recently we were back in Washington D.C. visiting Cameron’s Grandparents and of course, the Wilson Aquatic Center!  FYI – During the renovation of Wilson High School the entrance to the Aquatic Center is closed, so you have to enter from the Nebraska Avenue side (near the athletic field).

Cameron is ready to get his swim on!

While there I learned that the Wilson Aquatic Center will be closed from August 23 – September 14 for maintenance and a deep cleaning.  According to the Department of Parks and Recreation website, here’s whats on the to-do list:

  • Remove and drain all pool water according to local or federal regulations.
  • Acid wash pool shell.
  • Clean all pool drains.
  • Service and perform maintenance on movable bulkheads.
  • Purchase and install new lighting throughout the facility.
  • Clean and seal all existing tile floors through-out the building.
  • Check hydrostatic relief valves.
  • Replace and recharge pool media for pool tanks.
  • Install and clean pool lights and pool shell lights as needed.
  • Pressure wash pool deck.
  • Deep cleaning of offices, locker rooms and lobby area.

Sounds good to me! Although it’s an inconvenience to have the pool closed, it’s good that they are taking care of it so it is there for years to come for us all to enjoy.

Posted from New York, New York, United States.

Wilson Aquatic Center – Stroller Parking and Baby Swim Classes

I was just back in Washington D.C. for a few days and of course Cameron and I went back to the Wilson Aquatic Center for some swimming.  Each time I go I see more and more parents with little kids, which is great!  The Center is really catering to families.  They have added stroller parking under the stairs that lead down to the locker room area (see pic – sorry it’s so blurry!)

A terribly blurry iPhone pic of the stroller parking area

There are also lots of “Learn to Swim” classes being offered, many of which are geared to little ones (5 months plus).  You can check the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation website for a schedule of all the classes available at the Aquatic Center (scroll down the page to the “Information” section.)  These classes are very affordable – $10 for Washington D.C. residents, and $50 for non residents.  When I was there last week there was a parent child class going on which included singing, having the kids jump in the water, and learning to go underwater without being scared.  Lots of the kids seemed like they were under 2.  So, if you are local to the Washington area, check out the classes!

Update on the Wilson Aquatic Center + Lunch at Whole Foods Tenlytown!

Cameron and I braved the snow and made a recent trip back to Washington, DC.  Of course, while we were there we went to the Wilson Aquatic Center (3 times!)  I learned a few new things I wanted to share.

Let's get this show on the road!

Let's get this show on the road!

1)Babies are now required to wear swimsuits and swim diapers.  We found this out the first day from one of the lifeguards.  He allowed us to stay, but said we should get one for next time.  We were able to find an ugly, but affordable swimsuit at Feline’s Basement in Mazza Gallerie.  Problem solved!

2)The Women’s locker room – which has warmer showers than the family locker room, and is much bigger, and has a swim suit dryer – also has a diaper changing station.  So if you feel more comfortable in there (I like it better, personally) try taking your little one to that locker room instead.

3)Be sure to bring lots of Quarters for the meters outside.  If you don’t have any, you can park at the lot that services Whole Foods.  If you get your ticket stamped it saves you a few bucks.

4)While getting my ticket stamped in Whole Foods (due to all the snow we couldn’t park on the street at a meter) I also got Cameron some lunch.  They have a great salad bar, hot food bar, and soups.  Cameron ate some squash soup, fresh mozzarella balls, peas, white beans, and pesto chicken salad.  Yum!  Upstairs they have a place you can sit and eat, which has 2 high chairs.  Unfortunately I didn’t have my phone with me – so no pics – but believe me when I say, there are lots of choices for mom and baby, and plenty of seating too!

The Wilson Aquatic Center in DC – Still Baby Fabulous!

While we were in Washington, DC recently Cameron and I (and Grandma) went back to the Wilson Aquatic Center for some winter time swimming. This time the water was much warmer and it was almost empty!  Here’s a few more tips that I picked up on my recent visit, as well as a few pictures of the family locker room (hey, it’s no spa, but it’s clean with plenty of space).

Let's go swimming already!

1) All the times I’ve gone the water for the shower in the family locker rooms was cold. You are required to shower before going into the pool, so Cameron and I braved the cold for a few seconds out of necessity.  This time my mom was with me in the family locker room and she said that the showers in the women’s locker rooms was much warmer. So if you go to the family locker room and the shower is freezing, duck into the other locker room with your baby. It’s much more comfortable!

If this shower is cold, try the other locker rooms.

2)The men’s and women’s locker rooms also have swim suit dryers.  The family locker room doesn’t have one.  But, there are diaper changing tables in the family room, which is really helpful.

I've got my swim diaper on and I am ready to go!

I've got my swim diaper on and I am ready to go!

3)The lockers in the locker rooms don’t have locks on them. If you are really worried about this you can bring your own lock to use.

Plenty of lockers, but bring your own lock.

4)If you a not a resident of Washington DC you have to pay a small fee to get in. They don’t take Cash – so bring some plastic! Also, bring your ID. They will check it!

5)I’ve never had a problem parking on the street, even though the Wilson Aquatic Center is right by the Tenlytown metro station.  Just be sure you bring lots of quarters for the parking meters!  There is a clock prominently displayed on the wall in the pool area, so it’s easy to tell how long you’ve been there so you don’t run out of meter time.

Need more info on the Wilson Aquatic Center?  Check out their official website.  Here you can find info about hours or operation, admission requirements, amenities, and costs.

Have fun swimming!  You can bet Cameron and I will be back next time we are in DC!

The Wilson Aquatic Center in DC = Baby Heaven!

I grew up in the Chevy Chase / Friendship Heights / Tenlytown area of Washington DC, and my parents still live there.  We just went down for the Christmas holiday and my mom insisted we check out the new Wilson Aquatic Center over by the Tenlytown stop on the DC metro with Cameron.  During the summer Cameron really loved swimming at our little local pool on Clermont, so I thought it was worth a try… I had even saved a few swim diapers in anticipation of our trip.

The Wilson Aquatic Center is brand new and is very family friendly.  They have family locker rooms with plenty of room for a few kids and parents to change.  Each locker room has its own shower, toilet, seat, sink, and diaper changing area.  There is an amazing “beach pool” that has a entrance like the beach (goes from 0 depth to a few feet) with some cool water jets and buckets that fill and drain.  This is a great area for babies.  There are basketball hoops, kickboards, and other floating things the kids can play with.  The life guards are very attentive.  There is also an area for the parents to swim lap in the beach pool, as well as a separate “therapy pool” (big hot tub) and gigantic lap pool with diving boards (this was a little advanced for us!)

The beach pool with water jets and other fun stuff

The beach pool with water jets and other fun stuff

Cameron checks out the main pool from above

Cameron checks out the main pool from above

For all the moms out there in the Washington DC area, or who will be visiting, you must check out the Wilson Aquatic Center!  It is FREE to DC residents, and 4$ per adult for non residents.  Be sure to bring your ID with you.



It was so much fun!  You can be sure we will be back next time we visit DC.  By the way, if you are wondering where you can get swim diapers in the middle of winter, check out Diapers.com or Amazon – they both have them in stock.