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Outdoor swimming pools in the South Sound

Some local spots are free

Playing in the waves at Tacoma’s Kandle Park. Photo courtesy Kandle Park

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The weather forecast for the foreseeable future is going to be HOT! With high temperatures forecasted to be in the upper 80's and 90's, the mission for the day becomes: STAY COOL!

And what better way to accomplish that mission than to head for the pure refreshment of an outdoor pool. While the South Sound may not boast very many public outdoor pools, they are there if you know where to look. Here are a few outdoor swimming pools in Pierce and Thurston counties worth checking out:


Stewart Heights Park, located at 402 E. 56th St. in Tacoma, features a 160-foot water slide, a Lazy River, and a zero-depth, beach-style entry. There's also a Bubble Pool, a Water Play Structure, Water Basketball and Tumble Buckets. All of this for about half the cost of Wild Waves. The park is open through Labor Day weekend. Full sessions run from noon to 5 p.m. daily, half sessions run from 2:30 to 5 p.m., and evening sessions are from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., weather permitting. Admission for a full session is $10 for ages 18 and older, $8 for ages 5 to 17, and 4 and younger are free. Season swim passes are also available for purchase. The passes cost $75 for the first one and $70 for each additional pass, and passes are good at all Tacoma Parks and Recreation Pools. The Stewart Heights water park may be rented for parties of one to 60 people. Two hour rentals are available from $35 and up, plus a discounted admission, depending on the size of the party and whether the rental is for a weekday or a weekend. Five-hour rentals are also available beginning at $55 plus discounted admission. Admission on the 4th of July and Labor Day is free. For more information, contact the Stewart Heights Park at 253.573.2532, or check out their website

Tacoma's newest water park, Kandle Park, located in North Tacoma, has two entrances: One at 5302 N. 26th St. and one at 2323 N. Shirley St. The first wave pool in Pierce County, Kandle Pool Park also features "... a gradual beach-like entry, so it's easy for people of all ages and abilities to get in on the action. A separate shallow tot pool and sprayground ensure a fun time for the whole family." ( Like Stewart Heights, the pool is open through Labor Day. Public swim hours and admission are the same for both Kandle Pool Park and Stewart Heights Pool. Kandle Pool Park is also available to rent for parties of one to 40 people. Two-hour rentals begin at $20 plus a discounted admission, and five-hour rentals start at just $40 plus a discounted admission, depending on the size of the party and whether the pool is being rented for a weekday or a weekend. Just like Stewart Heights, Kandle Pool Park offers free admission on the 4th of July and Labor Day. For more information, contact Kandle Pool Park at 253.404.3920 or check out their Facebook page (

Just outside Tacoma, in the city of Fircrest, is the Fircrest Pool, located at 555 Contra Costa Ave. The pool is open daily from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. through the weekend after Labor Day. Admission for Fircrest residents is $2.25 and $4.50 for non-residents. Season passes are available at a cost of $50 for first pass and $32 for each additional pass for residents, and $98 for the first pass and $64 for each additional pass for non-residents. Fircrest Pool also offers a 10-punch pass card option which costs $20 for residents and $40 for non-residents. Along with the swimming pool, there is also a wading pool for the little kids, and both pools are available to rent for parties at a rate of $175/ hour for residents and $225/hour for non-residents. For further information, upload the Fircrest Pool information sheet or give them a call at 253.564.8188.


Although not technically a public pool, Tanglewilde Recreation Center, located at 414 Wildcat St. in Lacey, is owned and operated by the community of Tanglewilde and was primarily intended for their residents. But their family friendly, outdoor pool is now open to the public from 1 to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 to 9 p.m. on Sundays. Admission to the pool is $7 for adults, $5 for those ages 5-17 and $5 for those 65 and older. Children 4 and younger are admitted free with a paying adult. The family rate is $4 per person with a minimum of three people. Admission is good for the entire day and comes with in and out privileges. Seasonal memberships, ranging in price from $60 to $180, are available for non-residents of Tanglewilde. For more information, check out Tanglewilde Recreation Center's website Or give them a call at 360.491.3907.

Probably the most unique outdoor water park in the South Sound is the Sandstone Quarry Pool in the little town of Tenino. The all natural, fresh water pool located at 399 West Park Ave., was supposedly begun when workers in the original sandstone quarry accidentally struck a freshwater spring, flooding the quarry and forming the pool. There's a shallow wading pool for the little kids, a diving board for the bigger kids, and even a waterfall for the truly adventurous. Admission for residents of the Tenino School District is $2 and $4 for non-residents. Family passes for two adults and three children are also available. The pool is open from Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 7 p.m., as long as the weather cooperates. For more information, check out the website ( or the Facebook page (, or contact the Tenino City Hall at 360.264.2368.


For those who live on JBLM, there's an outdoor pool on base. The McChord Outdoor Pool, located at Bldg. 736, 5th St., JBLM, McChord Field, features one 25-yard lap lane during Recreational Swim, a one-meter diving board and a three-meter diving board. ( The pool is open daily through Sept. 1 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is free to anyone with a military ID. For more information check out the website ( or contact the office of MWR at 253.982.2807.

Now there's no excuse to suffer the heat in silence. Enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine, and the cool refreshment of an outdoor pool.

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