In British Columbia, Vancouverâ€™s winter rains can make a Stanley Park visit dreary and walking the seawall with a toddler sheer drudgery. But in East Vancouver’sÂ Riley Park neighborhood, The Aquatic Centre at HillcrestÂ ParkÂ is the perfect way for a family to splash away the doldrums.
This 66,500 square foot water zone — and Olympic legacy facility — is nowÂ the largest pool in Vancouver, and includes a 70-person hot tub, separate dive and 50-meter lap swim tanks (with moveable floors), plus a lazy river and children’s area with playful fountains, showers and toys. The depth of the childrenâ€™s pools is under 1 meter (a little over three feet), but thereâ€™s a zero-depth entry path, thanks to the focus on accessibility.
In fact, the entire pool is designed with accessibility in mind, so wheelchair users can roll via a gentle ramp into all sections, even the hot tub and play area. A bonus: it’s one more free thing to do with kids in Vancouver, if you’re the parent of a child under age three.
The pool complex embraces mid-century modern design, with knotty pine walls, globe-shaped lights and dramatic floor-to-ceiling window views of the North Shore. In short, it’s gorgeous.
Hillcrest Aquatic Centre wasn’t as oppressively noisy as the traditional public pool from our childhood days — I think either the soundproofing or tall ceiling heights help. It’s also much cheaper than the typical resort waterpark.
If you time your visit right, you can combine a trip here with the Vancouver Winter Farmers Market, an interesting (and more locally focused) alternative to the Granville Farmersâ€™ Market.
In summer, kids can enjoy the outdoor pool with sprays and bubble jets.
Prices: $5.98/adult; $4.24/youth; $2.99 children (ages 3-12); Under-3s are free; Families (1-2 adults and children under age 18) are $2.99 each.
More Vancouver Pools, Spray Parks and Beaches.