UPDATE May 2016: Please note that this post was written in 2012. For 2016, the West Hartford splash pads open for the season on May 28th and are open daily from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. The pools open on June 18th and close on August 21st. The pool hours are listed below and you can get more details on the West Hartford Aquatics Programs here.
Have you heard? . . .
There’s a new pool and spray pad in West Hartford at Fernridge Park.
After a nine-month, $1.7 million dollar renovation project, the pool and spray pad opened this past Saturday.
There were a lot of improvements made to this facility including:
- A brand new pool with zero entry ramp
- Upgraded bath house including a family changing area in both the men’s and women’s areas
- Replacement of the wading pool with a spray pad
- New landscaping
- Re-paved parking area
I was able to get some shots of the new facility before renovations were 100% completed and then was planning to go to the grand opening celebration this past Friday to try out the new pool and facilities first-hand. Unfortunately a whopper of a thunderstorm ruined the plans for the grand opening! So, unfortunately, this post won’t be quite the first-hand experience I typically like to write about. However, I know that many people want to get more details on the new facility, so I thought it would be better to post what I have now and add more details once I get to actually swim at the pool with the kids.
The park is located off of Fern Street in West Hartford and parking can be accessed from Fern. There are three parking lots for Fernridge Park: (1) located at the top of the hill near the tennis courts, (2) located in the center, and (3) located on the other side of the pond. I couldn’t find a good map, so I will attempt to mark the parking areas on this lovely google map.
If you can find a space, the best place to park for using the pool is parking lot #2.
If you park in lot #2, it is a short walk to the pool and splash pad area. If you park in lot #1, you have a little bit more of a hike and it is down a big hill. There is no pathway from that lot down to the pool, so the best thing to do would be to use the sidewalk that runs along Fern.
If you park in lot #3, you will again have a little more of a walk and you also will go over a small bridge. For parking in lots #1 and #3, you may want to use a stroller if you have little ones with you.
Here is a picture of parking lot #3. Apparently I forgot to get a picture of the bridge, but it is there, I promise 🙂
On your way to the pool or splash pad, you may notice the kids playground nearby. I will do a more detailed post on this playground later, but here is a shot so you have an idea of what it looks like. It includes a playscape for ages 2-5 and one for ages 5 and up. There are also baby swings and a sand box.
The Fernridge Park Spray Pad (also sometime called a splash pad or spray deck) is located right outside the pool area. Like I mentioned about a million times before, this is a brand new amenity at Fernridge Park and is open daily from 1000 am – 7:00 pm.
Please note that the online listing for the spray pad times state that it opens at 11:00 am, but the department of leisure services told me that the timer is set to start at 10:00 am (and sometimes even earlier).
Just like I mentioned in the Wolcott Park Spray Pad post, this facility operates on a timer which is triggered by a motion detector located on the spray pad deck.
The older kids usually know what to do, but moms of younger kids may need to reset the timer every so often. Just wave your hand in front of the sensor element and it will restart.
The spray pad area is fully fenced in and access to the area is handicap accessible, which also means it is stroller accessible.
Since I haven’t seen the spray pad in action, take a look at some of the pictures from this West Hartford Patch article to see the kids enjoying this new amenity.
There currently aren’t any benches in the spray pad area, so make sure you bring a chair or towel to hang out on while the kids play. They will be installing benches in the near future, but they just aren’t there yet.
Also, and probably one of the best things in my book is that the spray pad is FREE to use!
So, right next to the spray pad is the pool.
If you don’t have a stroller, you can just take the staircase at the front of the building up to the second floor to gain access to the pool area.
If you do have a stroller, you will go around to the other side of the building a take the ramp up to the second floor.
Make your way to the front of the building and the check-in window. There you will either need to show your season pass, provide your discount card, or pay the general entrance fee.
For 2012, see here for details on admission rates. Also, keep in mind a few items about those rates and options:
- Non-residents can use the pool
- Residents can purchase a season pass at the customer service desk in Town Hall. This pass can be used for any of the West Hartford outdoor pool facilities.
- Residents can also purchase a discount card which provides a reduced entry fee rate for a bulk purchase. This discount card can also be used to bring guests to the pool. The discount card can be purchased at Town Hall or at the pool, but only cash or check will be accepted.
Once you have checked in, you will head to the appropriate side (Men’s or Women’s) to get ready for the pool.
Right when you walk into the newly improved bath house area, you will see a family changing room. Inside this room are restroom and shower facilities along with a baby changing table. I love family changing areas because you can keep all of your munchkins corralled in one area while you get yourself and them ready. The only challenge is keeping the kids from playing in the toilet. Well, at least that is my main challenge in family changing areas!
Here are some shots of the family changing room. Please note that these were taken while renovations were still in process.
You can then make your way through the bath house to the pool area. Once in that area, you will see the new pool with several great features.
There is a zero entry ramp with a spray feature. This area only gets up to 1ft, 9 inches deep. Perfect for the little ones.
Then there is a transitional section that is a bit deeper and has steps. Might be a fun play area for the kids, but also easy access to the deeper part of the pool.
Then there is the “deep” area. It really isn’t all that deep as the water only goes to 5 feet. Again a good place for the kids to play while you can still keep your head above water to supervise them.
You may also notice there is lush green grass surround the pool area. Bring your chairs and towels to relax. Besides the one yellow bench I saw next to the building, there are no chairs or benches within the facility for your use, so it is BYOC.
Also, bring your own snacks and drinks. There are water fountains inside the pool area, but there is not a snack bar or anywhere to purchase food items.
For 2012, the pool is open during the week for recreational swim from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm and on the weekend for recreational swim from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm. It is also open during the evening on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Check here for details on all the hours including the evening hours as they change throughout the season.
I know many people have mentioned to me that the hours for the pool make it difficult to go if you have little ones who still nap in the afternoon. Just so you are aware, the reason for those hours is that the pool is used in the morning for swimming lessons. I certainly wish they were open earlier as well, but for now, the morning activity will have to be the playground and spray pad and the afternoon activity (if you can get it in) can be the pool.
I really think the pool looks great and I can’t wait to check it out with Bruiser and Sparkles. I will make sure I update this post after our first visit. You just have to see some action shots of those two in the water. They are wild!
Have you been to the new Fernridge Park pool? If so, let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Fernridge Park Pool and Spray Pad
567 Fern Street, West Hartford, Connecticut
Hours & Admission
Recreational Swim Hours for the Pool: Weekdays from 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm and Weekends from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Spray Pad Hours: Daily 10:00 am – 7:00 pm
The spray pad is FREE.
For 2012, the pool rates are as follows:
For residents of West Hartford, there are also discount rate cards and season passes available.
Discount Rate Cards: 10 swims $25, 20 swims $40
These cards can be purchased at the pool or at Town Hall. Cash or check is only accepted. These can also be used for guest access.
Season Passes: $115 for Family & Household; $70 for individual youth; $90 for individual adult; $70 for individual senior
See more rate and hour information here.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- If space is available, the best parking option for easy access to the pool area is to park in the middle lot (Parking Lot #2 in map above)
- If parking in upper or lower lots and you have small kids in tow, I would suggest bringing a stroller.
- Spray Pad
- This bundle of water entertainment runs on a timer. Kids or parents will need to wave their hands in front of the sensor each time it turns off (it runs on a 15 minute cycle).
- There are currently no benches in the spray pad area. Bring your own chairs or towels to rest on while you monitor your little ones.
- This area is fully enclosed by a fence. (Fenced-in areas are a life-saver for me at the moment)
- For those that are not yet potty trained, a swim diaper will be needed.
- Most kids use the facility barefoot, though swim shoes would also be a good option. Any other type of shoes could cause the kids to slip and fall.
- If you are bringing the kids in a stroller, you can access the bath house and pool areas by using the ramp that runs along the side and across the front of the building. I also tested the bath house entry way with my double stroller and it fit.
- There are family changing rooms available in both the men’s and women’s bath houses.
- The pool features a zero ramp entry and wading area that is under 2 feet.
- The deepest part of the pool is 5 feet.
- There are no chairs and only one bench in the facility. Bring your own place to sit.
- Besides water, there is not any food or beverage for sale on the property. So bring your own snacks and drinks.
- Of course, you will be in the blazing sun, so bring hats and sunscreen.
- Kids that are not yet potty trained will need to use a swim diaper in the pool.
- Only coast guard approved flotation devices can be used at the pool. So leave your floats and swimmies at home.
- There is an adult swim during the last 15 minutes of every hour. During this time all children must get out of the pool.
Coming Up: Shawna will be back on Thursday with our monthly recap of all the fun places we visited in June.
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