Your guide to some of metro Atlanta’s best public pools

It’s getting warmer, and the hot, sticky days of summer are rapidly approaching.

And while private swim clubs dot the metro Atlanta landscape, there are plenty of nice public pools offering something for everyone — from slides and splash pads for the little ones to swim lanes for serious swimmers.

There’s a reason we are drawn to the pale blue waters of a swimming pool. Pools can help us beat the heat and have fun at the same time. Many public pools hold special events throughout the summer, including poolside movies, Hawaiian-inspired parties and of course, splash contests.

And almost all public pools offer swim lessons throughout the season.

Bodies of water have a way of attracting a crowd, and the public pools tend to get very full, so try (whenever possible) to the avoid peak hours (such as the middle of the day on the weekends). Aim to go during the week or when the pool first opens.

With scorching Georgia heat heading our way, get ready to pack your towel, sunscreen and goggles and jump in for some cool relief. Here’s a guide to some of metro Atlanta’s best public swimming pools.

Wills Park Pool

Experience an Olympic-size pool and leisure pool featuring zero entry and a slide, or kick back on the provided lounge chairs.

There is no longer a baby pool at this Alpharetta city pool, but the little ones will happily splash in a fun new aquatic play pad. Stretching 2,000 square feet, this “Splash Zone” area features a whale, pelicans and palm trees with spray nozzles that shoot water. A concession area sells snacks, but food and drinks can be brought in from outside, too. New amenities include new shade pavilion and updated locker rooms.

Special events take place each summer, they're usually free with admission.

For swim lessons, call 678-297-6160.

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The 411: $5 per person; $1 for people 50 and older; free for ages 3 and younger. Pool passes also available: $200 for families (up to 4 family members) ($300 for non-Alpharetta residents); $90 for individual ($135 for non-residents).

Open Daily May 26–August 5;  Weekends only August 11–September 29. The following hours are for leisure pool (competition pool is open slightly fewer hours on some days). 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Thursdays; noon-7 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays; 1 p.m.-7 p.m Sundays. 1815 Old Milton Parkway, Alpharetta.

A swimmer jumps off the diving board at the Emory Aquatics Center at the Student Activity and Academic Center HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin

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Credit: Hyosub Shin

Emory University’s Outdoor Pools

College kids and young families converge at Emory University’s Outdoor Pools, home to an Olympic-sized pool with 12 lap lanes, a shallow end (that fills up with little ones and their parents) and two 1-meter diving boards. There are also a teaching pool and a kiddie pool. You can buy a 14-visit guest pass that, along with the pools, also gives you access to eight tennis courts (including two clay), an outdoor sand volleyball pit, indoor and outdoor basketball, a fully equipped fitness center, locker rooms and a cafe. There are also two outdoor terraces, a grill, and plenty of seating and shade with sky blue umbrellas and chairs.

The 411: $120 for a 14-visit guest pass that never expires. Kids 2 and under are free. Summer family memberships cost $730. (Emory faculty/staff and affiliates/alumni can get passes/memberships at a significant discount.)

Summer facility hours May 15 through Labor Day. 10 a.m-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-9 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Planning ahead: The visitor center parking is free on the weekends and during the week after 4 p.m.

Student Activity and Academic Center (SAAC), 1946 Starvine Way, Decatur. 404-712-2430.

The  Piedmont Park Aquatic Center features water spray, lap lanes, shallow wading section and a channel for floating.    FILE PHOTO

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Piedmont Pool

The Piedmont Park Aquatic Center teems with all sorts of attractions. Overlooking Lake Clara Meer, the Piedmont Pool features a beach entry, four lap lanes, and a current channel. There are also concessions, a small splash pad for the little ones, locker rooms, showers and lounge chairs on a landscaped deck. The fountain features more than 70 jets with water reaching 30 feet into the air.

With almost 50,000 people swimming in this intown pool from Memorial Day until Labor Day each season, expect a crowded spot for sunbathers and swimmers, especially on sunny weekend days.

For 2018 the pool opens for pool pass holders and Piedmont Park Conservancy members on Saturday, May 26 and the following day for everyone else. The season lasts through Labor Day weekend. The pool will offer swimming lessons, check the website for a registration link.

The 411: $5. Season passes (with access to extended hours): individuals, $175; couples, $290; families, $290-395; and senior citizens, $125. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; noon-5 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. Pass holders get more hours every day. Piedmont Pool, 400 Park Drive, Atlanta. 404-875-7275, ext. 324.

Recommended parking is in the SAGE parking facility in the park.

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 A visitor goes down the open water slide at the outdoor leisure pool at Mountain Park Aquatic Center in Stone Mountain. (File photo)

Credit: Jason Getz

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Credit: Jason Getz

Mountain Park Aquatic Center

This facility sports an indoor lap pool that’s open all year. But it’s the outdoor leisure pool (more like a mini water park) that sees the most action during the summer. Its beach-style, zero-depth entry allows swimmers to gradually enter the water. There’s a play area for kids to splash around, as well as the Lazy River, a sectioned-off portion of the pool shaped like a figure-eight with a slow and easy current. A pair of giant water slides shoot thrill-seeking guests into the pool below. There are special events planned throughout the summer.

For swim lessons, call 678-277-0870.

The 411: $3.25-$10.50. Gwinnett County residents qualify for major discount on admission. Summer hours opens on May 26-Aug. 5.

Hours for the outdoor leisure play pool May 26-Aug. 5: noon-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 1-6 p.m. Sundays. (For complete hours on indoor lap pool go to 1063 Rockbridge Road, Stone Mountain. 678-277-0870.

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Murphey Candler Park Pool

Murphey Candler Park Pool is a lovely community pool in the midst of a gem of a park in DeKalb County that also includes a lake, trails, picnic areas and ballfields. It's located just off Ashford Dunwoody Road barely inside the Perimeter, but you will feel as though you are stepping away from a metropolis and into a peaceful wooded getaway. The pool recently underwent major renovations, which include new bath houses and diving board. Shaded by tall pine trees, the pool opens May 26 and stays open through Labor Day.  Open only weekends beginning on Aug. 6. It will host events throughout the summer.

The 411: $3, child; $5, adult; and $1, senior citizen. Summer passes are available and cost $60 for an individual senior, $80 for a child, $120 for an individual adult and $250 for a family of four.

Summer hours May 26-Aug. 5. Noon-6 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; noon-8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 1-6 p.m. Sundays. Starting Aug. 6, all Brookhaven pools will only be open Saturdays and Sundays except Labor Day. 1551 W. Nancy Creek Drive N.E., Atlanta. (The pool is actually located on Candler Lake West.) 770-936-5468.

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In this file photo, Sarah Frierson swims to the bottom of the pool at the Emory Aquatics Center at the Student Activity and Academic Center. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin

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Credit: Hyosub Shin

McKoy Pool

McKoy Pool, a little pool tucked into a Decatur neighborhood, featuring a zero entry (beach entry) and dedicated lap lanes is worth a trip. Other pools in Decatur include Glenlake on Church Street and Ebster Park Pool on W. Trinity Place. These pools can fill up. Avoid peak hours if you can. Free-$5. May 26-July 31 hours:  10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays;  10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Hours Aug. 1-Sept. 3: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

McKoy Pool, 534 McKoy St., Decatur


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