I know how hard it is to get young kids out of the house to go somewhere - even quick outings require you to pack enough snacks, diapers, and toys to make you think you’ll be gone for a week. And who wants to wrestle kids in and out of carseats just to find out that your destination isn’t kid-friendly? That’s why I’ve decided to visit Triangle area sites to see if they’re worth your trip. I won’t use a rating system but I’ll try to describe what you’ll see well enough for you to decide if your kids would find it interesting. I’ll also give you the heads up on bathrooms, stroller accessibility and any other SNAFUs I encounter.


Pullen Aquatic Center - Raleigh


      Pullen Aquatic Center is another swimming option for those who don't have a pool in their neighborhood. The Aquatic Center is still open even though Pullen Park is closed for renovations. The admission price isn't too bad at $3 per adult and $1 per child for Raleigh residents. You don't even need cash, you can pay the admission price with a debit or credit card.Open swim is from 12:30 pm to 8pm on weekdays. There are also open swim hours on the weekends.

      Swimmers enter the pool area through the locker rooms. Since my wife was with me on this trip, we used the family locker room. The family room worked great for us but there is no stall around the toilet so you  need to be comfortable going potty with your whole family as an audience.

the main pool

      The pool itself is huge. There are actually two pools - the main pool and a teaching pool. The main pool is graded from a 4ft depth to a 10ft diving area. The teaching pool is actually a little bit warmer than the main pool, but if your kids are over 4ft. 6in. they need to swim in the main pool. As the name implies, the teaching pool is where lessons take place so it may be closed to swimmers during class times. Life vests in different sizes are provided for kids, we were even able to find one to fit our toddler.

      Pullen is equipped to accommodate physically challenged swimmers as well. There is a ramp that leads into the teaching pool which allows for a water-proof wheelchair, made of PVC pipe, to access the pool. A hydraulic lift allows physically challenged swimmers to enjoy the main pool.

     My only complaint with the Center is that the lifeguards are young and they are inconsistent in their enforcement of the rules. For example, the Center provides kickboards but they only want adults using them. We didn't know that the boards were only for adults so we let our preschooler use it. No one informed us of the rules until finally one lifeguard told us our daughter shouldn't be using it. So of course my daughter had a major meltdown because she had already been using the board for a while and having fun with it. A similar thing happened with my wife - one lifeguard told her and my daughter that they needed to move into a lane only to have another lifeguard come by a minute later and tell them they needed to be in the undivided area of the pool. So if you're going to Pullen with your kids, bring your own pool toys and be flexible when dealing with the lifeguards.

     Even though it wasn't close to our house, Pullen was a good place to enjoy swimming without worrying about the oppressive heat and the glaring sun. If you want to take a dip at Pullen you should go soon, the Center will be closing on August 8 for maintenance and reopening a week later on its' winter schedule.

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