Where to swim in Albuquerque
By Casey Purcella
So what if we don’t live near an ocean? You can still cool off and enjoy the water at one of Albuquerque's outdoor swimming pools. Sure, our “beaches” are concrete, but the water is just as watery, and Albuquerque's pools are guaranteed to be free of sharks, jellyfish and other ocean-dwelling hazards. Get your exercise, escape the heat and acquire a nice, golden tan. (The melanin-impaired should buy a big hat.) All City of Albuquerque-run outdoor pools will open for the summer on Saturday, May 29.
East San Jose Pool
2015 Galena SE (Gibson and Broadway), 848-1396
This pool is as straightforward as they come. But for a no-nonsense swimming experience, East San Jose offers an outdoor pool with recreation swimming hours from noon to 4 p.m. on weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. on weekends.
11001 Camero NE (Juan Tabo and Spain), 291-6292
This is the only city-run outdoor pool with water slides. Lap swimming is from 4 to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 1 p.m. on weekends. When it's time to unwind, recreation swim starts at 12:30 p.m. and ends at 5 p.m. on weekdays. Weekend swimmers have an extra half-hour to have their fun—on Saturday and Sunday, recreation swimming lasts from noon to 5 p.m. Go ahead and zip through the water slides, you thrill-seeker.
5301 Palo Duro NE (San Mateo and Comanche), 888-8123
It's a 25-yard outdoor swimming pool. That's about all there is to it. Recreation swim lasts from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on weekdays, while on Saturday and Sunday swimmers can stay from noon to 5 p.m.
Rio Grande Pool
1410 Iron SW (behind the zoo), 848-1397
This outdoor pool has lap swimming from 11 a.m. to noon on weekdays, and recreational swimming is from noon to 5 p.m. all week.
Sierra Vista Pool
5001 Montaño NW (Coors and Montaño), 897-8819
There's none of that monotonous lap swimming here, but fun-loving recreational types are allowed at Sierra Vista from 12:30 to 5 p.m. all week, where they can lounge around outside, float in the pool or leap off one of two 1-meter diving boards. Your baby can join in the fun, too—Sierra Vista has a wading pool next to the main one.
2033 Columbia SE (Gibson and Girard), 848-1398
Sunport Pool is a giant whale compared to the rest of the city's swimming pools. This 40-meter outdoor pool—15 meters longer than the city's standard offerings—is open from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for lap swimmers; recreation swimming is from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on weekdays and from noon to 5 p.m. weekends.
6000 Anderson SE (Gibson and San Pedro), 256-2095
A shallow, 25-yard outdoor pool. Recreation swim is from noon to 5 p.m. all week.
No sunscreen? Planning a trip to Arizona and afraid that the presence of pigment will get you detained? Albuquerque's public indoor pools will keep the sun rays away while you cool off. All City of Albuquerque-run indoor pools are open now.
West Mesa Aquatic Center
6705 Fortuna NW (Coors and Fortuna), 836-8718
This is Albuquerque's premiere aquatic attraction—the crown jewel of CABQ's aquatics program and winner of Best Public Pool in the Alibi’s 2010 Best of Burque poll. This location features three pools: Inside, there’s an Olympic-sized lap pool and a recreation pool with a water slide, and another recreation pool with a pair of water slides outside. Early weekday risers can swim laps from 6 to 8 a.m., then head back after dinner and work off a few calories from 6 to 8 p.m. On the weekends, lap swimming lasts from noon to 5 p.m. Recreation swimming lasts from 12:30 to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and for a late-night dip the indoor pool is open from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday. Weekend lap swimming runs from noon to 5 p.m. West Mesa Aquatic center also has a 3-meter diving board and two 1-meter diving boards for plungers with vertigo.
400 Jackson SE (Zuni and San Mateo), 256-2096
A green swimming pool? While filling a tank with several thousand gallons of water in the middle of the desert isn't the most eco-conscious way to cool off and have fun, Highland Pool is keeping consumption reasonable by heating its pool with rooftop solar panels. Divers can use either the 3-meter diving board or the 1-meter diving board, then head outdoors and visit the wading pool. The pool's schedule is a complicated mess, but weekday lap swimmers can come from 6 to 8 a.m., visit during a lunch break from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and stop by again at night from 6 to 8 p.m. Recreation swimming is from 12:30 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends, recreational swimmers are welcome from noon to 5 p.m.
Los Altos Pool
10100 Lomas NE (Lomas and Eubank), 291-6290
Los Altos Pool has been around since the ’50s. But don't go expecting nostalgia—what was once a humble outdoor pool has been converted into an indoor behemoth. An outdoor wading pool is all that remains of Los Altos' former life. Lap swimming hours are from 6 to 8 a.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends. Recreation swimming hours are from 12:30 to 4:15 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 1 to 4 p.m. weekends.
7801 Candelaria NE (Candelaria and Pennsylvania), 291-6279
Sandia Pool, renovated in 1999, is a 25-yard swimming pool with an outdoor wading pool and a pair of diving boards (one tall, one short). On weekdays, lap swimming hours are from 6 to 8 a.m. and 4:30 to 6 p.m., while recreation swimming is from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. On weekday evenings, the pool is open for recreation swimmers from 7 to 8 p.m. except for on Fridays, when hours extend from 6 to 8 p.m. On Saturday and Sunday, lap swimmers have from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to have their fill, and recreation swimming is from 1 to 4 p.m.
1505 Candelaria NW (Candelaria and 12th Street, at Valley High Schoo)l, 761-4086
The city’s most up-to-date swimming pool, Valley Pool was renovated in 2007. It features two 1-meter diving boards and an outdoor wading pool. Adults-only lap swimming is from 6 to 8 a.m. weekdays. Recreation swimming is held from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. For evening fun swims, come back from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday. On the weekends, only recreation swimming is offered; it goes from 1 to 5 p.m.
Cost for City Pools
All pools except East San Jose and West Mesa Aquatic Center
Ages 5 and under: 25 cents daily / $3 monthly
Ages 6 to 12: $1.50 daily / $13 monthly
Ages 13 to 19: $2 daily / $19 monthly
Adults: $2.25 daily / $23 monthly
Seniors (ages 62 and up): 75 cents daily / $9 monthly
Spectators: 75 cents daily
Special day rates: Friday nights are just 25 cents. Sundays are free at all city pools for swimmers 18 and under.
Monthly family rate: $45
Pool rental: $50 per hour, two-hour minimum
Swimming lessons: The City of Albuquerque offers swimming lessons at all of its pools at a cost of $25 per child. Classes are held in the morning and in the evening for two weeks at a time. Not all city-owned pools give swimming lessons during all sessions, so check cabq.gov/aquatics/swimming-
East San Jose Pool
Ages 5 and under: 25 cents daily
Ages 6 to 12: 75 cents daily
Ages 13 to 19: $1 daily
Adults: $1.50 daily
Seniors (ages 62 and up): 50 cents daily
Spectators: 50 cents daily
West Mesa Aquatic Center
Ages 5 and under: 50 cents daily / $5 monthly
Ages 6 to 12: $2 daily / $20 monthly
Ages 13 to 19: $2.50 daily / $25 monthly
Adults: $3 daily / $30 monthly
Seniors (ages 62 and up): $1 daily / $10 monthly
Spectators: $1 daily
Special day rates: Friday nights are 50 cents.
Monthly family rate: $50
Group rates: $1.50 per person; 10 person minimum, 18 person maximum
Pool rental: $100 per hour per pool, two-hour minimum
While the City of Albuquerque is the big dog as far as swimming pools are concerned, the Bernalillo County government runs a few of its own. Admission is a little more expensive, but county-run swimming pools are the only way to go if you need a giant, water-spurting mushroom in your life. With the exception of the Alameda Spray Park, Bernalillo County-run pools will open for the summer season on Saturday, May 29.
Alameda Spray Park
9800 Fourth Street SW (Fourth Street and Alameda), 898-1355
Opening in June is Bernalillo County's summer blockbuster-hopeful Alameda Spray Park. While it's not a swimming pool, it will feature tons of oversized sprinklers to hose you down. Hours will be noon to 5 p.m., though the county hasn't released a grand opening date yet. Admission will cost less than the county's full-fledged swimming pools—spectators and kids under 5 years old will pay a dollar, while admission for kids ages 6 to 17 is $1.25 and adults are $1.75. Seniors (ages 55 or older) get in free.
Paradise Pool and Water Slide
5901 Paradise NW (Paradise and Paseo del Norte), 898-0956
Albuquerque's least humbly named swimming pool offers lap swimming from 11 a.m. to noon on weekends and recreation swimming from noon to 5 p.m. every day. It was recently renovated and features a water slide. Does it live up to its name? On a blazing summer day in Albuquerque, it probably does.
Rio Grande Indoor Pool
2312 Arenal SW (Arenal and Atrisco), 314-0169
Not one to let Paradise Pool go unchallenged in its hubris, Rio Grande Indoor Pool describes itself as a “swimming oasis” due to its renovation. While fairly standard in the pool department, new decks, locker rooms and bathrooms will ensure that you spend your time in comfort. A new program of “Masters” lap swimming is open from 6 to 7 a.m. on weekdays. On weekends, lap swimming is from 11 a.m. to noon. Recreation swimming is from noon to 2 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. every day.
Los Padillas Aquatic Center
2141 Los Padillas SW (Los Padillas and Isleta), 314-0418
Like the City of Albuquerque, Bernalillo County also runs its own Aquatic Center. And while Los Padillas can't quite match the city’s West Mesa center in terms of amenities, extras or number of pools, it offers a good range of water services. The facility consists of a 25-yard lap pool and a “zero-depth” pool, as well as a water slide and a “giant mushroom fountain.”
South Valley Pool and Water Slide
3912 Isleta SW (Rio Bravo and Isleta)
Features a water slide for the adrenaline junkie, while the baby pool is great for ... babies. Lap swimming is only on weekends, from 11 a.m. to noon, while recreation swimming is from noon to 5 p.m. every day.
Cost for Bernalillo County PoolsAges 5 and under: $1 daily
Ages 6 to 17: $2.50 daily / $15 monthly
Adults: $3.50 / $20 monthly
Seniors (ages 55 and up): Free
Pool rental (Los Padillas, South Valley, Rio Grande): $80 per hour, two-hour minimum
Alameda Spray Park rental: $50 per hour, two-hour minimum
Swimming lessons: The county-owned pools also offer two-week swimming lesson sessions for $25 per child. There are four sessions throughout June and July, with five half-hour lessons taking place each day. See alibi.com/link/6465 for details.
Big government may be in charge of the majority of swimming pools open to to the public, but the free market is alive and well at these privately owned locations. If those commies want to nationalize the swimming pool industry, they'll have to pry these bastions of capitalist water recreation from our cold, pruney fingers.
Three locations come equipped with a 20-meter indoor pool, and when swimmers tire of that watery expanse, there is also a steam room, sauna and hot tub to relax in. A one-day membership costs $10. Each of Defined Fitness’ locations share the same hours: Monday through Friday, 4:30 a.m. to midnight; Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Swimming lessons: In June and July, Defined Fitness offers group swimming lessons for $80 per child. The fee pays for eight 30-minute lessons, and classes are limited to seven swimmers.
Defined Fitness: Juan Tabo
3301 Juan Tabo NE (Juan Tabo and Candelaria), 296-7000
Defined Fitness: Riverside
6210 Riverside NW (Coors and Montaño), 899-0086
Defined Fitness: San Mateo
4930 McLeod NE (San Mateo and McLeod), 888-7097
Hyatt Regency Albuquerque
330 Tijeras NW (Third Street and Tijeras), 842-1234
This swimming pool's signature attraction is its location—on the roof of one of the tallest buildings in Albuquerque. Guests can enjoy the rooftop swimming and hot tubs or just take in the view. The pool is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day, and guests must purchase a $45 monthly membership to the hotel's gym if they are not renting a room.
Jewish Community Center of Greater Albuquerque
5520 Wyoming NE (Wyoming and Spain), 348-4497
You don't have to be Jewish to use the three swimming pools at the JCC—you do have to purchase a membership, though. Call for pricing details. The community center has three outdoor pools—a regular 25-yard pool, a shallow, 15-foot therapy pool and a small baby pool. Members can drop by from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; Friday hours are 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On the weekend, hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Swimming lessons: The Jewish Community Center aquatics program holds summer lessons throughout June and July. Two-week sessions, with eight lessons per session, cost $82 per child for members and $108 per child for nonmembers.
New Mexico Sports and Wellness
With a one-day, $15 temporary membership, Albuquerque residents can enjoy the pool at this string of fitness clubs, as well as all the other facilities and equipment.
Swimming lessons: New Mexico Sports and Wellness locations offer private and group lessons, though times vary by location.
Downtown Sports and Wellness
40 First Plaza NW, Suite 76 (Copper and Second Street), 242-1500
Downtown Sports and Wellness has a 15-meter indoor swimming pool that’s open Monday through Friday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Del Norte Sports and Wellness
7120 Wyoming NE, Suite 8B (Wyoming and San Antonio), 857-0123
The facility houses both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, as well as a whirlpool. Hours are 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays; 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday; and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Highpoint Sports and Wellness
4300 Landau NE (Tramway and Montgomery), 293-5820
This location's indoor and outdoor swimming pools are open 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday. On weekends, the facilities are open from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Riverpoint Sports and Wellness
9190 Coors NW (Coors and Paseo del Norte), 897-3716
This Sports and Wellness location won't have you swimming in the Rio Grande. Guests may use the location's indoor and outdoor pools, the baby pool and the whirlpool from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. On the weekend, hours are limited to 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Midtown Sports and Wellness
4100 Prospect NE (Menaul and Carlisle), 888-4811
The outdoor pool and two whirlpools at the Midtown Sports and Wellness location are open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday. On weekends, the facilities are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
YMCA of Central New Mexico
For affordable fun, lap swimming and a variety of swimming lessons (infant, child, adult, plus private linstruction), you can do no better than the YMCACNM's two pool-equipped locations. Horn Family YMCA (4901 Indian School NE, 265-6971) features a heated indoor pool, while McLeod Mountainside Family YMCA (12500 Comanche NE, 292-2298) does one better with a heated Olympic-sized pool. Programs, hours and pricing options are so plentiful at these two places, it's best you see what's available for yourself at ymcacnm.org.
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Catch the international best-selling musical written and directed by Ted Swindley. Featuring a live band. Runs through 8/2.
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