My recommendation is that you wear a suit even if you're hoping not to get in. You don't want to be in jeans when your preschooler throws a toy at another kid and you have to wade in and intervene. Also, if you have a baby, it's really nice to be able to just sit in the pool and let them splash around on your legs. I tried to sit on the edge while bending over and holding my baby in once, and it was NOT a success.
Here's how the big pools work: They have more limited hours than the kiddie pool does. These hours are listed under "Wave and Slide Play Swims" on the website. If you go during those hours, ALL of the pools are open, so you'll pay the higher entry fee, even if you're just using the kiddie pool. If you go during the "Kiddie Pool Play Swims", you'll pay just the smaller fee. Also, supervising adults are free in the kiddie pool, but only during "Kiddie Pool Play Swims" hours. Make sense?
Other fun details: Splash! also has rental options, including birthday party packages. The changing rooms are super family friendly and spacious, but they also have private changing rooms that are nice for corralling wandering toddlers while you're half dressed. Oh, and there's a big concession stand, although it's only open during big pool hours. :)
So. Here's what you're going to do: you're going to hit the kiddie pool mid morning and swim for a good long chunk of time. Then you're going to head outside to the park and eat the picnic lunch that you packed. Then you're going to play on the playground for another good long chunk of time. Then you're going to load your littles up in your van, haul them home, put them in bed, and watch Netflix for a good long chunk of time. Boom! Perfect day. You're welcome.
Address: 6100 Thurston Road Springfield, OR 97478
Parking: Giant free lot
Cost: Varies - see website. Also! There are sometimes coupons for $2 off admission in the "Oregon Family" newspaper that you can pick up at rec centers, public libraries, etc.
Food: The concession stand is open during the "Wave and Slide Play Swims" hours
Resting/Nursing Spots: Lots of chairs along the perimeter of the pool
Time Frame: Oh my word. A long time.
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