UPDATE JULY 2016: Please note that this post was written in 2012, and while it will still give you a great overview of the JCC’s Swim & Tennis Club, you may also want to visit the JCC’s website for the most current information.
Information in this post has been updated for the 2016 summer season. These updates include:
- Currently, The Arts and Crafts are available week days and weekends between 1pm-4pm.
- There is also a brand new pirate ship-themed playscape! See below:
Keep reading for a sneak peek at what your summers could be like as a member of the JCC’s Swim & Tennis Club!
I grew up spending the summers at our local pool.
With five kids to raise, my mom had her hands full and needed a daily activity for us. So, we would load up in the car every morning and head to the local swim and tennis club.
For us, swim team started at 9am and was followed by a full pool day (sometimes combined with tennis lessons from a high-school aged instructor that I had a complete and total crush on!)
We swam and swam and swam until we were thoroughly tired. Sometimes my dad would even come by after work, bring pizza for dinner, and take a dip with us before we all headed home.
I have wonderful memories of those summer days and would love to give the same experience to my family.
So, this summer I am doing a little research to hopefully find a future summer hangout for me and my crew. We have already visited a few community pools including Fernridge Park and Eastbury Pond. Unfortunately, those pools have a very limited open swim period, so they wouldn’t work for our everyday family hangout spot.
Then, two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit another pool that I have heard a lot about, the Mandell JCC’s Swim & Tennis Club.
So, on a day when the hubby had off from work, we took the kids over to the JCC to check it out. Now, you do have to be a member or a guest of a member to get into the swim & tennis club, so unfortunately you can’t just go anytime you want.
One other important piece of information is that the Swim & Tennis Club is not located on the main JCC campus in West Hartford. The facility is located in Bloomfield a little ways off of Simsbury Road.
To get there is pretty straight-forward and I had no issues finding it using GPS, but there are a few landmarks that you may find helpful.
From Simsbury Road, the first turn is on West Street. I missed it the first time, but now I know to look for Wade’s Farm Fresh Produce Stand. If you pass the stand, you have gone too far. The turn is right before it.
After you head down West Street, you make a few more turns before you end up on Duncaster Road and need to find the turn for the club. Here is a snapshot of the sign marking the entrance.
We placed the kids in the stroller and attached our pool bag, diaper bag and some snacks. We still take a stroller pretty much everywhere because my kids are runners and it is so much easier to transport them via the good ole’ Bumbleride.
We checked in at the front.
Then I took Sparkles and my husband took Bruiser and we went to the separate locker rooms to get them changed into their swim diapers and suits. The locker rooms were very large with an open dressing area, curtained dressing areas, a baby changing table, showers and restrooms.
If I had known better, though, I would have gone to the Family Changing Room instead of the locker rooms. Not that the locker rooms are bad, but my daughter was determined to try to escape while I got changed. Much easier when we are all confined to one area. The Family Changing Room is brand new and you can access it at the front of the pool facility. If you are standing in front of the check-in window, instead of going to the left to head into the pool area, go to the right and around the side of the building. You will find it there.
Ok, so enough with the changing areas, let’s get to the pool!
When you walk onto the pool deck, you can see two separate swimming areas, one is for the toddler set and includes a wading pool and playground and the other is a very large swimming area including a slide, diving board, lap pool and general swimming area.
Let’s start with the toddler area, since I am surrounded by toddlers at the moment.
Here is a picture of the wading pool and we spent a most of our time hanging out here. It wasn’t more than two feet deep and was monitored by a lifeguard.
Bruiser and Sparkles were big fans of the wading pool. I also liked it because the area was completely fenced in and I didn’t have to spend all my time chasing down kids. I could just sit on the edge of the pool and monitor them while they played.
Oh, and just for a refresher, most of the gated areas used these child safety latches. Shawna has mentioned this before, but you just have to push down on the grey bar and the gate will open.
The playground is great. It has a large playscape, swings, sand, sand toys and a mini slide for the real little ones.
After spending time in the wading pool and at the playground, we wanted to make our way over to the main pool to make sure we had the full experience.
Like the wading pool area, the main pool area has lounge chairs both in the sun and under several large canopies.
The main pool is one very large pool with several sections. There is a 3 foot, 4 foot, and 5 foot section plus a diving well. The diving well contains a water slide and a diving board. One thing I did learn is that for kids to swim in the 5 foot section or the diving well, they must first pass a swim test. They can take it at any time and just need to talk to a lifeguard to get it set up.
We had a great time swimming and had worked up a big appetite. I had brought lunch for the kids, but hadn’t brought anything for myself or my husband. Fortunately, there is a full service snack bar on the property. We decided to grab some lunch there.
I should note that if you are planning to eat lunch at the pool, they don’t allow food on the pool deck. However, there are several eating area options where you can enjoy a packed lunch or something from the snack bar.
They also have a section inside the snack bar where you can keep your cooler until you are ready to eat.
Once in the snack bar, we found a table and a couple of high chairs for the kids.
I ordered the hamburger for myself and the grilled chicken sandwich for my husband. We both got fries for our sides. They accepted pretty much any form of payment including credit cards. After placing my order, they gave me the thing below that would buzz to let me know when my order was ready.
I headed back to my family, but it didn’t take long until our order was up.
Our sandwiches were pretty good given that we were eating at a pool snack bar. Nothing to write home about, but I would certainly order them again. The fries, however, were actually really yummy. I would definitely order those again. I took a look around while we were eating to see what other people (“the regulars”) were ordering. I noticed there were a lot of orders for a chicken wrap. I was starting to get jealous of all of these people who had ordered chicken wraps (I am one of those people who gets jealous of what other people order at restaurants, strange, I know). Anyways, I kept myself from walking up to a complete stranger and asking them for a bite, but I really wanted a taste (for the sake of the blog, of course). Fortunately, I had another opportunity to visit the snack bar the following week on a pool visit with a friend. That time I ordered the chicken wrap and, lo and behold, I know why people were ordering this menu item. It was rather delicious. I would recommend it for sure.
Please disregard the fact that I took a bite of the sandwich before snapping a picture. I’m pregnant and starving, give me a break 🙂
It was nice and cool in the snack bar area and there were plenty of seating options.
We ended up having a very relaxing lunch even with two toddlers in tow. Afterwards, Sparkles was very tired and passed out right in her stroller.
Inside I found two teachers and several arts and craft stations for the kids. This fun little hangout is open from 1:30pm – 5:00pm Monday through Friday and from 12:00pm – 5:00 on the weekends. All the parents need to do is buy an Arts and Craft card for each child that wants to use the space. It is $10 for 40 visits.
After leaving the arts & crafts area I took a quick peek around the rest of the property. There are also 8 tennis courts on property plus a basketball and volleyball court plus several other sport options. When the kids want a break from swimming, there are certainly lots of other fun options for them.
Well, we had a nice few hours at the pool. I think if I was coming here on a regular basis, I would stay for the day and just have my kids take their afternoon nap in their stroller or on one of those lounge chairs. Today, however, we needed to head home. Too bad. Pregnant woman + 90 degrees + refreshing pool = my favorite combination.
Thanks to the JCC for giving me a one-day family pool pass and complimentary lunch at their snack bar. All opinions are 100% my own.
4 Duncaster Rd, Bloomfield, Connecticut
Contact: Sara Billings, 860-231-6331 (off-season) or 860-243-0794 (in season) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get directions here:
2012 Pool Season
- Weekends beginning May 26
- 7 days a week from June 18 – September 3
- Daily 10:00 am – 7:45 pm
- Pool is only open to members and guest of members
- 2012 Membership Rates
- Family $750 JCC Member/ $875 Non-Member (if you had signed up before March 15, rates are $550 JCC Member/ $775 Non-Member)
- Individual $575 JCC Member/ $675 Non-Member (if you had signed up before March 15, rates are $475 JCC Member/ $575 Non-Member)
- In addition to the dues, all members must purchase a Family ($50) or Individual ($25) cafe card.
- Membership fees are not pro-rated if you sign up mid-season
- Guest policy for 2012:
- Daily Fees: Adult $10, Child $8, Family $25
- Extended out-of-town guest passes can be arranged with the site manager
- In town guest passes are limited to 5 per summer
- Babysitter punch cards are available at the check-in desk
Swim & Tennis Club Features:
- Wading pool (2 feet)
- Playground with playscape, swings (including baby swings), and sand pit
- Lounge chairs
- Canopies to provide shade
- Gated wading pool and playground areas
- Pool and sand toys available near the wading pool area
- Large pool with 3 foot, 4 foot, and 5 foot sections plus a diving well
- Diving well includes a diving board and water slide
- Lifeguards at all pools
- Full service snack bar that accepts cash or credit cards
- Convenient indoor and outdoor eating areas
- High chairs and booster seats available
- Locker rooms with open and covered changing areas, baby changing station, showers, and restrooms
- Family changing room
- Arts and Crafts facility on-site
- Available weekdays and weekends between 1:00pm and 4:00pm (Updated 7/19/16)
- Children younger than 5 must be accompanied by an adult
- An arts & craft card must be purchased ($10 for 40 visits)
- 8 Tennis Courts
- Basketball court
- Volleyball court
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Most things are provided for you at the Swim & Tennis Club, so you can really get away with bringing very little.
- Of course you need to bring your own swim suit, towel, and suntan lotion
- Children who are not potty trained must wear a swim diaper, plastic pants, and swim suit
- If you are thinking about signing up for a membership next year, contact the JCC before March to get the best rates
- No food or drink (except water) is allowed on the pool deck
On Thursday, it’s our most indulgent installment of the Tiny Diner Series yet.
Also, don’t forget to stop by here and enter our GIVEAWAY for a $25 Price Chopper Gift Card by leaving a comment with the words “Produce for Kids” and your favorite summer fruits or vegetables.
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