While I was growing up my Grammy lived just down the street from the Holiday House public pool in Sellersville. On special summer days I’d be dropped off at her house in the morning and able to hang out at the pool in the afternoon. It’s been a million years since I've been there but I remember the pool and the grass as sprawling, the snack bar as well stocked (my fave were the frozen Charleston Chews), the fountains as refreshing and the social scene as both exhilarating and alienating. Taking Noah for a dip in the Northern Liberties Rec Center pool isn’t even in the same ballpark. The pool is tiny, surrounded by a concrete path and setback from the street by only a set of changing bleachers, a chain link fence, and a brick wall. There is no kiddie pool, no grass, and no snack bar. It isn’t even big enough to do laps. And it’s less a social scene and more a dunk tank designed to alleviate city dwellers from the stresses of high temperatures. However it’s free and it’s a lot better than nothing.
However, on Tuesday I took Noah to the Quakertown public pool – and glimpsed a watery nirvana. Not only do they have a huge shallow section for the small children, the floor of it is completely padded and you wade into it like the sea. It’s lined with knee high fountains that the kids can play in as well as a large mushroom fountain in the center. There are like 8 different sectioned off areas to the pool, two diving boards, a water slide, a million swanky beach chairs, lots of grass and a huge shady gazebo. It’s nearly Wild Water Kingdom! And Noah was in LOVE. For a second I worried he’d be too daunted by how crowded it was, but in a heartbeat he was running in and out of the fountains, giggling fiendishly. I doubt he’s ever been that excited by anything in his entire life. And it was so beautiful to watch that I actually teared up. After which I recuperated with a lemonade and a soft pretzel. Mmmm, snackbar.
I’m not saying I’m planning a move to the ‘burbs – there are far too many things that we have easy access to here that I love and look forward to raising Noah in arms reach of – but sometimes I’m flabbergasted by the things that we’re missing. Now I have a little less than a year to find out where the closest equivalent swanky suburban pool is to our home. I’m guessing Jersey.