Having three small kids at the pool is quite exhausting, but now that two of my three are good swimmers, I felt confident to take the plunge at the Surprise Aquatic Center without another adult!
The closest parking is at the northeast part of the parking lot, nearest to Bullard Ave.
The lobby area (where you check in to pay) is rather small, so if there are more than 5 families in line, you may be waiting outdoors. Bring your photo ID if you want the resident rate (as of 2017, $2 per adult per visit, $1 per child per visit or you can get semi annual passes).
If you are in the lobby area, there are lockers to your left, and a family bathroom to your right (pictured above). There are also lockers on the pool deck. Lockers require a quarter for the key. I saw one woman who brought a safety pin to pin the locker keys to her bathing suit! So smart (she was a pro and gave me some great tips!).
The bathrooms are utilitarian and stark. So, they fit the need! Wear your shoes!
Being a former swim team member myself, this area just reminded me of where we would sit and wait for our turn to go onto the pool deck before meets. It would also serve for an open changing area. There were a few shower stalls and a few bathroom stalls. This was the women’s bathroom, and I’m sure the men’s was similar!
From the lobby area you can enter the pool deck through the men’s or women’s bathrooms or this door!
The pool deck, snack bar area to your left (I saw ice cream bars), and handicapped accessible entry.
The snack bar area had some seating and was gated. Good for runners with ice cream!
To the right of the slides are bleachers that are shaded to sit on or put items on, a small grass area, and about 20 beach chairs. There is also a few bleachers near the lockers on the other side of the lobby and near the diving area. Pictured here is the zero entry area.
Water fun features for the zero entry area!
And of course, the slides. You must be 42″ at least to go on the slides (online says 48″, sign by the pool said 42″). Dimples could have done it, but wasn’t interested and is not the strongest swimmer yet. There is a lane line to divide the area so that simmers don’t end up under the sliders. Also, puddle jumpers aren’t allowed on the slide. The lifeguards would throw them down and then would notify the lifeguard on the bottom, and the lifeguard on the bottom would escort the child from the end of the slide to the stairs. I’m not exactly sure if that is normal protocol, but that is what I saw.
Puddle jumpers and life vests, as seen on Dimples, were allowed at the pool. Water wings are not allowed, per Maricopa County regulations
This was the “Whirlpool”, which was great when there were few children, but when there were a lot of bigger kids, I got a bit nervous. The water jets must all be pointed counter clockwise, making a whirlpool like effect. In the center of this was a small seating area. There is a lifeguard exclusively for this one area, and I can definitely understand why. My boys had a hard time getting in and out of the area easily because of the push of the water. The water was approximately 3 feet deep. I enjoyed being in there when there were very few kids.
There was lap section, which was much more calm (from 4′ to 5+’ in depth, and then the diving area which goes down to 13′. There are two spring diving boards, and a lifeguard that watches the diving area exclusively and two lifeguards that were watching the lap lanes exclusively. You can also see the shades over more of the bleachers as well.
I did notice there were no starting blocks, but they must be movable for swim events.
The Surprise Aquatic Center is really amazing, and we had a lot of fun but left when it got crowded. There were lots of lifeguards around different areas of the pool, and I felt my kids were safe, but you still need to keep an eye out for them. There are 1-2 lifeguards in the zero entry area as well, but it is posted that a parent/guardian must be with the little ones in the zero entry area.
There are also lifejackets at the lobby area for rent (unfortunately, there was not a posting on the cost) or you can bring your own and they must be US Coast Guard approved. We had our own lifejacket that was the same brand that the Surprise Aquatic Center had on hand.
During open swim hours, there really isn’t any shade over the pool. Also, my kids must have feet of iron when it came to riding the slide because the heat of the stairs didn’t seem to bother them! The ground near the pool was very hot, so don’t run, but walk quickly to get into the water!
Surprise Aquatic Center
15831 N Bullard Ave, Surprise