Blake’s Guide to Getting Wet in Kansas City This Summer
Blake’s Guide To Kansas City’s Swimming Pools
Kansas City is awesome all year round, but summertime holds a special place in my heart. Backyard BBQs with friends, long summer evenings with neighbors, and weekends filled with events. For those of you ready for baseball season, it’s here!
Summer is also a chance to let loose, and have a little more fun, and what can be more fun than spending a day poolside?
To beat the midwest heat, Kansas City has plenty of options for you to visit, cool off, and splash around all summer long. From neighborhood pools to full-blown aquatic centers and waterparks, here are some of the best spots when the weather is hot.
Leawood Aquatic Center – 10601 Lee Blvd, Leawood, KS 66206
Featuring multiple pools, the Leawood Aquatic Center is a great spot for swimmers of all ages. The toddler pool has a bubbler area and a small slide, while the other areas have a huge water slide, waterfall, diving areas, lanes for lap swimming, and a splash pad. The wooden deck area is a treat that not many other public pools have! The location of this pool can’t be beat… located just off of 435 and College Blvd., its accessible to residents on both sides of the state line. Johnson County residents can buy a SuperPass that they can also utilize at pools in Fairway, Merriam, Mission, Roeland Park, and Prairie Village, while Leawood residents get a $2 discount with proof of residency.
Prairie Village Swimming Pool – 7711 Delmar St, Prairie Village, KS 66208
Just like Prarie Villiage itself, this pool emulates the neighborhood by being conveniently located, well maintained, and super charming. Hosting not one but two water slides, a plunge pool, leisure and wading pools, and a large pool deck area for relaxation, the Prairie Village Swimming Pool really does have it all!
Every other Saturday the pool stays open late for a Moonlight Swim until 10:00 p.m. They also offer swim and dive team lessons throughout the summer in a semi-private format, for those with kids who are already on or are interested in joining a team.
The Springs Aquatic Center – 9400 N Congress Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64153
Holding almost a million gallons of water, The Springs Aquatic Center is the biggest public pool option north of the Missouri River. The partnership between the Kansas City and Platte County Parks and Recreation departments opened seven years ago and offers quite a bit more than just a place to swim.
The aquatic center two large water slides, a kid-friendly shallow-spray playground, and a larger pool with high and low dives for general swimming.
Swimmers can also grab an inner tube and float along the lazy river, or they can try out the vortex, a shallow area that spins a whirlpool.
Gladstone Municipal Pool – 7010 N Holmes Street, Gladstone, MO 64118
Although there has been a pool in Gladstone’s Central Park for nearly 40 years, the current offering there was updated in 2007. Community Center administrator Justin Merkey says the goal of the renovations was to “create a safe place for families with kids”. That meant replacing two old wading pools with a spray ground and dumping bucket and creating a zero-depth entry in the main pool.
The renovations have been popular and now this location serves about 45,000 swimmers each year.
Liberty Community Center – 1600 S Withers Road, Liberty, MO 64068
The Liberty Community Center, which has been around for 22 years, gives swimmers access to four pools. The six-lane outdoor pool is partnered with a companion toddler pool.
Although there is zero-depth or a gradual slope entry on the fenced toddler pool as well as a spray fountain, the main pool is a basic lap-lane set-up with no frills. For a low-dive, small slide and climbing wall, swimmers have to venture indoors. For cooler days, there is also a shallow warm-water interior pool.
Gardner Aquatic Center – 215 N Center St., Gardner, KS 66030
For those living on the south side of the metro, look no further than the Gardner Aquatic Center located in Gardner, KS. Not only does this center feature slides, kiddie pools, and an expansive play fort, but at this pool you can also find a lazy river for those wanting a more easy-going kind of a day.
Black Bob Bay – 14570 151st St., Olathe, KS 66062
Black Bob Park is a city park in Olathe, KS that is a neighborhood favorite. In addition to the many trails and sports fields, the public pool, called Black Bob Bay, is a favorite summertime hangout. Black Bob Bay has a lazy river, diving pool, play pool, and a huge lap pool for those taking a more active swim. They also have some of the biggest water slides you can find at a community pool!
Stonegate Outdoor Swim Area – 9701 Antioch Rd, Overland Park, KS 66212
Stonegate was originally the smallest pool in Overland Park, but after a rebuild in 2009 this summertime spot now features over 7,000 square feet of water, one 22-foot high spiral water slide with 135 feet of twists and turns, diving boards, concession stands, a youth pool with fountain features, zero-depth entry, and a 25 meter lap lane.
Roeland Park Swimming Pool – 4843 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park, KS 66205
This outdoor community pool features a large, peaceful pool in the middle of a lush, green suburban setting. There is a toddler pool, lap pool, and waterslide in addition to the Olympic-size main pool.
Fairway Swimming Pool – 6136 Mission Rd, Fairway, KS 66205
This local pool has a splash pad, water slide, and a separate diving pool with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere for individuals and families. After a long day with clients, this may be the pool I go to so I can regroup and relax. It’s a quiet little hideaway and perhaps one of Fairway’s best kept secrets.
This pool is completely surrounded by residential homes which make for a very peaceful and tranquil environment, that I find quite relaxing. The diving board is tremendously high which adds to the appeal and amenities at this pool.
Great Wolf Lodge – 10401 Cabela Dr, Kansas City, KS 66111
The main feature of every Great Wolf Lodge is the expansive water park featured within. Here you can find everything from lazy rivers, poolside cabana service, to thrill rides, water-forts and tree houses, hot springs, and children’s pools.
Day passes are available to explore the water park, no need to be a guest of the lodge to get in on the adventure. In addition to the water park, there are many other attractions such as adventure quests, mini golf, and even summer camp activities for the kids! If you are planning a little staycation at the lodge itself, be sure to check out their website for current promotions and discounts.
Oceans of Fun – 4545 Worlds of Fun Ave, Kansas City, MO 64161
Once the largest water park in the world, Oceans of Fun opened in 1982 as a sister-park to Worlds of Fun amusement park. Now, visitors can get into both parks for one price, and there is something for everyone! A lazy river, thrill sides, wave pool, splash pads, and our favorites, a swim-up bar and reservable cabanas. For those wanting a little edge to their afternoon, try the Hurricane Falls, a daunting 72-foot tall super slide that sends rafts of 5 sliders twisting and turning down a flume of river rapids. Together, Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun are a 235-acre Kansas City summer staple for generations of thrill-seekers.
Longview Lake – 10698 E. 109th St., Kansas City, MO 64134
Longview Lake has everything a summer afternoon outdoors could ask for: biking, swimming, hiking, and more. You can often find remote-controlled airplane fanatics enjoying the wide open spaces. Every year, in April you can catch the Flights of Fancy Kite Festival.
In 1968, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers purchased a portion of Longview Farm, known as “The Most Beautiful Farm in the World” built by Robert A. Long for his daughter Loula, so she had room for her prize horses she loved so dearly. Construction of the Longview Dam was completed in 1985, with the park opening one year later.
Shawnee Mission Lake – West 79th St. and Renner Road, Shawnee, KS
Shawnee Mission Lake is one of my absolute favorites. Not only does it feature boating, canoeing, and camping, it also has an off-leash dog park! This makes it one of Buddy’s favorite summer spots too.
The dog park has lake access, and it’s so much fun to watch the dogs enjoy the comfort of the water during the height of summer.
There is also an observation tower offering spectacular views of the surrounding prairie lands. Shawnee Mission Lake has a visitor center, camping, archery, disc golf courses, and so much more.
Lake Jacomo – Located off of Woods Chapel Road in Blue Springs, MO
Lake Jacomo was originally the brain-child of then Judge of Jackson County, Harry S. Truman, although the lake did not come to fruition until almost 20 years later. This Blue Springs recreation area officially opened in 1959. Activities at the lake include sailing, boating, hiking, and fishing for crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish, and walleye. There are plenty of places at the water’s edge that are perfect for swimming, and miles of trails for hiking and biking.
Clinton State Park – Lawrence, KS
Clinton State Park is one of Kansas’ premier recreation areas. The park is built around Clinton Lake, a man-made lake constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1975 to control flooding in the Wakarusa Valley. Just minutes from the KU campus, this amazing site offers camping (from the more traditional, rugged style to glamping in an air-conditioned cabin or RV), boating, fishing, and hiking, and hunting. There are mountain bike trails, equestrian trails, and even an 18-hole golf course!
Hillsdale Lake – Spring Hill and Paola, KS
Birdwatchers have long kept the beautiful Hillsdale Lake and wildlife area a cherished secret. Here, you may see a bald eagle or two while you are out exploring! This Kansas State Park is just huge with more than 12,000 acres of park and wildlife area combined.
Crappie, bass, catfish, and bluegill can be caught in the 4,500 acres of water that make up Hillsdale Lake, and with 51 miles of shoreline, there are plenty of secluded spaces to find that “perfect fishing spot.”
There are 7,000 acres open to hunting, as well as over 30 miles of marked equestrian trails available to horseback riders.