Beatin’ the Heat… by Tina


A couple of weeks ago there was some discussion about where to go for some fun in the sun. Unfortunately for us DC residents, the closest beaches are still a couple hours drive away, making anything less than a full-day trip kind of not worthwhile. What DC does offer in terms of aquatic R&R is a great number of public pools. I can’t speak for them all, since I’ve only been to the one in Georgetown (3400 Volta Pl) but it wasn’t half bad and I’ve heard great things about Dupont (2500 N St).


What DC is lacking, however, is a water park. Now, some people think they are nasty (and I don’t know that I would disagree) but when I heard about one nearby in Gaithersburg, MD my brain immediately reverted to 10 years old and all I could think about were childhood days spent running wild at Splish-Splash (any Long Islanders out there will know what I’m talking about). So last weekend, Boyfriend, my friend Vicky, and I took the 30 minute drive out to Bohrer Park to see what we could find.


It turns out that the Water Park at Bohrer Park is actually just a pool with two big water slides, but let me tell you, it was a good time! I haven’t been on a waterslide in years, and once I got over the initial public-pool-bacteria-ick factor I was having a blast. We must have gone down the blue slide about 10 times each (the white one wasn’t as much fun). It literally shoots you through a 250 foot tube in about 5 seconds! Story continues after the jump.
After a little while we needed a break, and Vicky and I were having a photo-shoot under the ‘raindrop water umbrella’ when all of the sudden, over the loudspeaker came an announcement: “Attention all visitors, the pool will be closed for the next 30 minutes, please exit the water.” We figured they were doing some routine maintenance so we headed back over to the water slide where we were greeted with the same request. I asked the lifeguard what happened and all she said was “the pool is closed for 30 minutes.” I inquired further, “uh oh, did something gross happen?” She only nodded, and that was when we knew it was time to go. But not before stopping to snap a picture of the “excavation!” What we didn’t capture on film, however, was a grown man jumping into the pool fully clothed, shortly followed by the pool manager (also fully clothed) all in the midst of the waste removal process. I have no idea what was going on, but there was an awful lot of excitement and yelling!


Our day at the pool may have ended on a not-so-nice note, but all in all it was great fun. I guess the initial ick-factor I felt was there for a reason! So, maybe this account doesn’t have you champing at the bit to check out the pool at Bohrer Park, but they do have mini-golf, which is where we headed next and Boyfriend promptly kicked my butt…

Next on the agenda is a visit to the legit water park in Manassas, VA. That’s even more of a stretch for PoP blog coverage than Gaithersburg, but depending on how it goes, I may provide an update! Until then, stay cool kids.


14 Comment

  • Splish Splash wooo!

  • saf,a,1239,q,640223.asp

    Aside from the public pools, we have spray parks too. No waterslides, but cool things for kids I think.

  • The DC pools cannot compare to the public pools in Fairfax county like the Water Mine:

    There is absolutely not one reason in the world, other than incompetence, that DC shouldn’t have one or two public pools that equal or better the Water Mine. I do not take my kids to DC public pools where for an extra 20 minute drive we can go to that pool or even the Cameron Run Wave Pool:

    The era of the plain old public pool is as over as a company not having a website. DC pools universally suck compared to any other jurisdiction in the area. Sure, they might be as good as we had in the 1970s, but they really do look 25 years out of date.

    I actually hold the belief that such a public pool should be built on the site of the Army Retirement home in Petworth, seriously.

  • DCer, I know this isn’t what you had in mind, but this is gonna be pretty unbelievable- world class, even.

    It’s scheduled to be completed by mid-2009, and believe it or not, construction has already started. Wisely, they put it RIGHT next to Tenleytown metro. Here’s the Feb 2007 presentation.

  • SG– thanks for those links! That looks amazing!

    What a great investment for the city!

  • Cameron Run Regional Park in Alexandria. Wave pool, two kids pools. water slides and spray park!

    Upton regional Park in Arlington, not as big as Cameron Run, but just as fun.

  • We moved into DC from Gaithersburg, and thus have spent many hours at Bohrer Park when my daughter was young.

    I do appreciate the DC pools, especially since they are FREE to DC residents. I have been to several and we tend to use the one closest to us at Harry Thomas for outdoor, and either go to Turkey Thicket or Takoma Park for indoor. They’re clean, not crowded, and oh, did I mention, FREE? I’d rather do something local than get in my car and use gas.

    We’ve also been to the Hains Point pool many times.

  • Yes, that’s great news. You’re right it’s not what I had in mind, but I’m not going to turn my nose up at it either. I do believe that there’s some really short-sighted planning based on the world of 20 years ago though. DC is definitely behind even PG County in this regard, the Rollingcrest Splash Pool is an indoor water park:

  • DCer is completely on the mark about the outdated DC pools. It’s great that they are free, but other than the few that offer lap swimming, they offer little to do other than standing in the water and getting swarmed and splashed by uncontrolled kids.

  • As someone without kids, but who does like to swim, I think the DC pools are great! There’s always one close by, Hains point has the outdoor 50 meter thing going on- I don’t need slides or rides!

    I did have some little kiddies in town visiting last week though, and when I asked them what they wanted to do in DC (hoping to hear things like “see the constitution!” etc…) their only reply was “are there any water parks???” So- instead we went swimming a couple of times at the local pools and they seemed to have just as much fun. Amazing how thrilling underwater handstands and somersaults can be to a 5 year old…

  • I find myself liking the simplicity of the DC pools. I read and sometimes swim. My 10 year old daughter is happy to play in the water.

  • Banneker Rec Center on Georgia (right across from Howard) has one of the greatest public pools I have been too. All this talk about how crumby the DC pools here has me totally puzzled. Banneker is clean, has a seperate pee-pool (pool for the little kids), and tons of chairs to lounge on. It’s become a regular Saturday walk for my roommates and I!

  • Thanks Warder Kid — that sounds like a great rec

  • If people settle for mediocrity, they get mediocrity and the DC pool system is totally mediocre. If that’s “great” to you then I would suggest a drive to some seriously nice pools and it will be like difference between McDonalds and a sit-down restaurant. I haven’t eaten at McDonalds since 1995- people still tell me it’s “great” but I know they don’t understand.

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