80% of Philly’s public pools will open this year — here’s a map and opening dates

After last year’s backlash, the city says it developed the schedule with equity concerns in mind.

The pool at Hunting Park Rec Center

The pool at Hunting Park Rec Center

Sydney Schaefer / Billy Penn
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Summer officially begins next week — and with it comes the opening of Philadelphia’s public pools.

This year, Parks & Recreation is set to open 50 of the city’s 63 outdoor pools. That’s up from 43 last year, when a pandemic-induced, massive lifeguard shortage left some neighborhoods without a spot to cool off. But it’s still not at full capacity, because that lifeguard shortage persists.

The city’s swimming season kicked off on June 21 with the openings of pools in Fishtown, Mill Creek, and Northeast Philly. Then there are rolling launches through the week of July 11. Each pool has its own schedule, which translates to different days and times for open swim, swimming lessons, and other summer activities, like day camps.

After the city received backlash in 2021 for an inequitable spread of pool closures that were concentrated in Philly’s most underserved neighborhoods, 70% of this year’s openings are in neighborhoods where the average household income is less than $45k a year, per a press release from the Department of Parks and Recreation.

“The 2022 pool schedule was developed based on equity and to maximize residents’ access to pools in every part of the city,” Parks & Rec said. “Pools were selected to open based on available staffing, geography, past pool usage data, and neighborhood need.”

Even so, nearly half the city’s pool opening dates fall after July 4, with four of the city’s pools slated to open as late as July 15 — including those in West Kensington, Hunting Park, and Kingsessing. In those neighborhoods especially, pools serve as community hubs that can blunt the impacts of gun violence for youth.

The late opening dates also mean some kids have but a month to learn or improve swimming skill before pools close again in August.

Though Parks & Rec had managed to open all available outdoor public pools by the Fourth of July in years prior, this year’s schedule is still considered  “normal,” per department spokesperson Maita Soukup, who said it was primarily based on staffing availability and the community’s “past pool usage.” 

Hunting Park and Kensington’s Waterloo pool — both of which are slated to open after July 11 — have delayed starts because of lingering repairs, Soukup said. No explanation was offered regarding the other 22 pools opening in mid-July.

Soukoup told Billy Penn the largest pool in a neighborhood is generally the one that opens first, while other auxiliary ones may operate on alternating schedules to “maximize community access.”

Summer-long closures still abound. Thirteen city pools won’t open, including the pool at Grays Ferry’s Vare Recreation Center, which is closed as it undergoes $20 million in renovations. Other notable closures: The pool at Kingsessing Rec Center; Cobbs Creek’s Olympic-sized Sayre swimming pool; Point Breeze’s Chew Park pool; The Shuler Pool in Strawberry Mansion; and Harrowgate’s Heitzman pool.

Check out the map to find pools near you, and see the list below for its opening date.

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Most Philadelphians can expect their neighborhood pool to open within the next few weeks. Here’s the full list of summer opening dates:

Tuesday, June 21

Wednesday, June 22

  • Barry (1800 Johnson St., 19145)
  • Lawncrest (6000 Rising Sun Ave., 19111)
  • Penrose (1101 W. Susquehanna Ave., 19122)

Thursday, June 23

  • Kelly (4231 Landsdowne Dr., 19131)
  • Pleasant (6757 Chew Ave., 19119)
  • Vogt (4131 Unruh Ave., 19135)

Friday, June 24

Monday, June 27

Tuesday, June 28

  • Awbury (6101 Ardleigh St., 19138)
  • Jacobs (4500 Linden Ave., 19114)

Wednesday, June 29

Thursday, June 30

Friday, July 1

Saturday, July 2

Week of July 4

Week of July 11

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