Guide to Des Moines Area Pools

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Des Moines PoolDes Moines pools open on June 5! 

Before you head to one of the Des Moines Area pools to cool off, check out these tips. Or jump straight to the guide!

Refuel

If you’re staying for a long trip to the pool, pack waterproof sunscreen and snacks for break time, if the pool allows outside snacks. Almost every pool listed below has a concession stand where you can purchase food, and some let you bring in your own food – just not into the pool itself.

Safety

Keep your child’s age and swimming ability in mind when thinking about what gear to bring. The lifeguards are there to protect you, but they appreciate your help keeping everyone safe as well.  

Before you pack up, consider calling the pool to ask what gear they allow. For example, some places don’t allow arm floaties and prefer float suits. For your adventurous divers consider bringing goggles and dive toys.

Apply sunscreen before you leave the house so kids are ready to jump in as soon as you arrive. If you’re staying for a long day, consider bringing an umbrella for shade. 

Des Moines PoolSwimwear

If your child is not toilet trained, most pools require that they wear a swim diaper. If you forget one, some of the concession stands have some for sale. Pools also have rules against wearing street clothes in the pool but do allow for shirts if the pool supervisor allows it. Some moms coordinate bright swimsuit colors with each child so they are easier to pick out in the crowded pool.

But don’t worry about packing the entire house for your trip. All you really need for the pool is a swimsuit and a towel. Speaking of, keep some towels in the car to have a dry set ready when you head home.

Which pool is best for me?

The list of Des Moines Area pools and splash pad options below might seem overwhelming. How do you weed through so many great options? The first time I took my toddler to the pool I just started with the pool closest to our house. I met a friend there so she could show me the ropes and I felt more comfortable exploring new waters.

Another good place to start is to look for options that suit your child’s age and ability. If they are an avid swimmer, bigger pools will keep them occupied. If they are new to the water, then it might be best to start with a zero-depth entry pool or splash pad. If you have a wide range of ages in your family, there are a variety of options at the big centers.

Each pool has a wide range of prices depending on if you’re a resident, what age you are, etc. Some offer season passes, or punch cards if you plan on being a frequent swimmer. Just check with each pool for specifics on pricing.

Des Moines Area Pools

Altoona

Altoona Aquatics Park
1200 Venbury Drive Altoona, IA 50009

Open June 3 – August
Along with the typical zero-edge pool, slides, and lap lanes, this park has a sand play area and a shipwreck slide.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Ankeny

Cascade Falls Aquatic Center
2350 SW Prairie Trail Pkwy Ankeny, IA 50023

Open May 31 – September 6
Cascade is the larger of the two Ankeny aquatic centers and has features for adventurous swimmers including a surf machine, tube slides, lazy river, geyser field, lap pool, diving well, and a children’s wading pool.
Hours: daily 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Prairie Ridge Aquatic Center
1220 NW Prairie Ridge Dr. Ankeny, IA 50023

Open May 31 – August 22

This kid-friendly complex also offers a Splashpark you can access for free Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Hours: daily 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Clive

Clive Aquatic Center
1801 NW 114 Street Clive, IA 50325

Open May 29-31 then June 5. 
Includes two large pools perfect for swimmers of all ages and abilities. The zero-depth entry kiddie pool features a small “treehouse” slide, sprays, and fountains. There is a lap pool with three slides and a lazy river.
Hours: Monday–Thursday, 11:30 a.m to 6 p.m.; Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Des Moines

In addition to the swimming pools listed below, the City of Des Moines offers staffed splash pools and wading pools across the city, along with spray grounds and fountains that are not staffed. Review the full list, including hours of operation, here.

All Des Moines pools and aquatic centers are open June 5 until August 15, with the following exceptions:

Teachout Family Aquatic Center is open Memorial Day Weekend, May 29-31 then reopens June 5 through August 15

Ashworth Memorial Swimming Pool | 101 SW 45th Street Des Moines
This pool has history (it was built in 1926), and is nestled in the woods next to a trailhead if some of your family wants to swim and others may want to bike.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Saturday 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Birdland Swimming Pool | 300 Holcomb Avenue Des Moines
Birdland has something for every swimmer – a kiddie pool, two water slides, and a 50-meter pool for laps.
Hours: Monday through Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Nahas Family Aquatic Center | 1101 Porter Avenue Des Moines
Nahas has water slides and a zero-depth entry pool with a covered play area, making this pool ideal for smaller children.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Northwest Family Aquatic Center | 4915 Madison Avenue Des Moines
This center has a water slide, a zero-depth entry pool, a water mushroom, and a shaded swim area.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Teachout Family Aquatic Center | 2601 Hubbell Avenue
This pool is next to the Eastside library if you want a day of learning, then play. It has a zero-depth entry pool, two slides, and a plunge pool.
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 1 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Indianola

Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center 
714 W. Detroit Ave. Indianola, IA 50125

Open May 29 – August 22
This park has something for every ability with a zero-depth pool, a small slide for toddlers and preschoolers, a play structure, and a sand play area. There are also two tube slides and a lap pool with a diving board. 

Tot Swim: Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat from 10:30 a.m. to 11:50 am; May 31 – August 21 for kids ages 6 and under accompanied by an adult.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

West Des Moines

Holiday Aquatic Center
1701 Railroad Ave. West Des Moines, IA 50265

Features include three slides, a zero-depth entry pool, a large deck pool, and a grass sunning area.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays 12 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Valley View Aquatic Center
255 81st Street West Des Moines, IA 50265

This large aquatic facility boasts a ten-lane competitive pool with a diving board and drop-slide, a large leisure pool with spray features, four water slides including the “speed slide”, and a lazy river.
Hours: Sunday – Friday, 12 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Saturday 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

What’s your favorite pool? 

Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add it to the list.

Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer with 125+ Things to do in Des Moines.


We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.

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