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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Friday, July 9, 2010

Pella Aquatic Center with Adventure River

Pella Aquatic Center with Adventure River

Location: 602 E 8th Street, Pella, Iowa. Near Caldwell Park

Cost: $7.00 for ages 13 -59; $6.00 for ages 3-12 and Senior Citizens; Children under 3 free. Summer Passes available and have a resident/non-resident difference in price.  Residents save $1 off the daily admission rates.

Hours: Monday thru Friday 1:00-7:00 pm; Saturdays 1:00-6:00 pm; Sundays and holidays 1:00-5:00 pm; Wednesdays in July of 2011, 1:00-8:00 with 7:00-8:00 being "Family Night."

Summer 2012 Update:  The pool will be open until August 19 or "sometime that week" as stated by a pool employee.  We went in early August last year and were disappointed that the Adventure River and tube slides were closed due to lack of staff, yet not reduced admission.  Go in July before the college kids head back to school for the best experience.

Summer 2013 Update:  There are now two lines at the gate.  Paying guests to the left and passes to the right.  Makes for a smooth opening!

Description: Pella Aquatic Center with Adventure River has 3 main parts. One is the indoor pool that is used for lap swim and inclement weather. Another is the main outdoor pool with zero depth entrance, 2 body slides, 2 diving boards and a half-pipe drop slide, lanes for swimming, child play structure, and two sets of "floating" structures in the water--one set in the 2 1/2 feet and the other set in the 3 1/2--5 foot portion. The third section is off to the side of the main pool and down a bit of a hill and includes two tube slides, a children's play area with a slide, and the Adventure River. (There is now a roped off section just prior to the deep end for swimming tests.  Swimmers who want to use the diving boards must pass this test and get a bracelet to indicate they have passed.)

Rules to Know: Any flotation devices used must be worn on the body. Dive sticks, masks and snorkels, and balls are OK. Watch out for the grommet police when you enter, as you will not be given a check on your hand that indicates you are OK to ride the slides. Grommets are the little metal circles that are usually on waist bands where the drawstring goes through or on pockets of swim trunks. In the Adventure River you MUST have your bottom in the hole of the tube with your feet visible, UNLESS you are walking beside your young children who are under 48" and cannot go by themselves and want to ride in the river as there is ABSOLUTELY no lap sitting on the tubes. OK, I must interject. . . the boy had a small size tube, but he kept falling almost through the hole (there are tubes with seats available) and so, while riding double with me, he sat up on the rim of the tube with his legs going across the hole and his feet on the other side. That was a no, no. So, he got down and fell through the hole. I asked the guard if that was safer than sitting on the rim of the tube and the response was "yes." Hmmm. . . unique pool rules or insurance company? Next time, we got the tube with the seat.

Summer 2015 Update:  Saw guests entering with pool noodles.  No one was turned away.

Summer 2012 Update:  The double tubes with one seat are ALL gone!  The seats have been ripped out due to wear and tear and the tubes have not been replaced.  Now the only option for children under 48" is to have a single red tube with a seat while the adult walks with them through the Adventure River.

Summer 2013 Update:  Some of the double tubes with one seat have returned!  I saw at least two of them!

Food: Nachos, candy, and beverages with prices in the $1 - $2.50 range. The snack bar closes at 5:00, at least it did the day we were there which was a Friday and the pool stayed open until 8:00 pm.

Summer 2013 Update:  When we arrived at 1:00 the snack counter was closed.  It did open later and I made a purchase.  What we did notice was that it was okay to bring in food and drink.  Not in coolers per say, but in a bag.  Patrons were eating on both the grass areas and cement around the pool.  Nothing in the pool though.  This is in stark contrast to other pools and we appreciated the permissiveness in this area.

When I did make a purchase, the item was scanned with a scanner and prices were reasonable.

Cleanliness: OK. We were in the first 20 people in the gate, after guards and employees and saw empty juice pouches and straws on the ground--must have been left from the day before, as there hadn't been time for any garbage to get thrown out yet as they had just opened.

Friendliness: Good. Luckily we were grommet free and got our check marks right away. The lifeguards encountered a few tricky situations and it seemed as if they weren't quite sure what to do: a 3 year old beating the slide in the child's area with a snorkel--guards just looked at each other a shrugged--luckily the mom jumped in after a few minutes of pounding; a boy who couldn't hear getting the whistle blown at him by two different guards on the Adventure River because he was on his belly on his tube--they didn't know what to do--maybe the guard at the entry station took care of it, but I don't know for sure; a boy not tall enough for the slides--no check mark--made his way up the the steps of the half-pipe drop slide--the guard checked his height against the railing and there was some verbal interaction, but the child went down anyway--guard wasn't quite sure what to do.

Summer 2015 Update:  Witnessed a child without a mark for the deep-end climb onto the diving board.  Life guard caught it, blew his whistle, and the child turned around and climbed down.

Web-site: http://www.cityofpella.com/

Pros: Adventure River, tube slides, body slides, diving boards, and plenty of room to swim no matter your age! We were there from opening until almost 5:00 pm--almost 4 hours, and I had to pull the boy away from the half-pipe drop slide. There's plenty to do to keep all swimmers active and happy. It was obvious that the pool caters to those with disabilities which is awesome. Family bathroom was a plus.  The "Dinah Shore" bench in the kiddie area by the Adventure River is a nice touch. Several shade structures are around the main pool.

Summer 2015 Update:  No high dive.  The board cracked and has been removed.
No high dive
 The swimming test for summer 2011 is a pro.  The organization of that is a con--see below.

Summer 2012 Update:  The boy didn't have to do the swim test again, as his name was still on the list from last year.  We took a new swimmer with us and he passed the test with flying colors and got his bracelet.  Note that the boy's bracelet had come off by 4:00 pm and he was still allowed to go off the high dive and half-pipe slide without the bracelet.  Don't know if the guards recognized him by then or if they stopped looking for the bracelet by that time.

Summer 2015 Update:  The boy was just asked if he had passed the swim test and he said "yes" as he had in previous years.  He was then marked as such.  His friend, who had never been to the pool, also said "yes" and received the mark.

Cons: NO CHAIRS! Oh, there are a few benches in the concrete around the main pool--none by the Adventure River that I could see. Bring your own chair or plan to sit on the ground. There were tables and chairs in the roped off concession area. Indoor pool is not included with your admission unless there is inclement weather. Grommet police! At one moment, there were so many blonde heads in the 2 1/2 foot section, I had a hard time finding the boy. The "floating" structures in both areas perpetuate a bully mentality--there were some kids who immediately went to them and sat on them waiting to see if someone could "dethrone" them from their perch. The boy bumped his nose hitting another kid's head as they were both trying to jump to get on top. Again, NO CHAIRS!

Summer 2012 Update:  We brought in two lounge chairs with us and we weren't the only ones!

Summer 2013 Update:  Still no chairs.  We brought our own.

Summer 2015 Update:  Still no chairs.  We brought our own, again.  Now we just plan on bringing our own.

A swim test for use of the deep end is new for summer of 2011.  The day we were there, the boy stood in line for the grommet check/height check twice due to the new swim test.  He passed the grommet check and height requirements to get his "mark" on his hand for use of the slides, then it was off to the pool for the swim test and then back into the line.  Seems they have some system of writing down swimmer's names on cards who pass the swim test so that they don't have to test all of the swimmers everyday.  There are no signs or instructions about this procedure and depending on the length of the line, can take up to 20 minutes of your arrival time.  The swim test is new, but not the grommet check, height check.  It's time to figure out a way for this to go more effeciently and put up some signs and instructions, as not everyone who comes to the pool is a regular.

Summer 2012 Update:  The aquatic center has the list of names who passed the test last year too, so the boy only had to wait in the line once.  The new swimmer that went with us, went to the swim test first before getting the height/grommet check so he only had to stand in the line once.  Hopefully the staff is suggesting this.  Still no signs or information posted about the procedure.

Summer 2013 Update:  There is now a list of names of children who have passed the swim test on an iPad.  We went directly to this person to get the "mark of the day" for being tall enough, and a bracelet indicating they had passed the swim test or vice versa.  There is some posted information about getting the "mark of the day."

Fun Factor: Lots of fun! Again, we were there almost 4 hours. I met the pool manager in the first 10 minutes as I scraped my big toe open on the concrete. Speaking of concrete, if you plan to move from one section to another, be careful as the pavement gets mighty hot! We did have a great time--got soaked on the Adventure River and made a splash on the tube slides. The boy didn't want to leave, even after almost 4 hours.
Summer 2013 Update:  Much more diversity this trip, which was great to see!  The guards were on top of their game and I witnessed what appeared to be the "head guard" helping when needed and doing water checks on lifeguards.  Water bottles were nearby most of the lifeguards I saw.  Two thumbs up!

Summer 2015
 Summer 2015 Update:  Only clear tubes are allowed on the tube slides.

We are continuing our journey of pools around Southeast Iowa.  You never know what pool will be next.  Click on the following pool to read our reviews:  The Beach Ottumwa, Monroe County Aquatic Center in Albia, and Edmundson Park Swimming Pool in Oskaloosa.

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