Stay Cool with the Local Pools!

By Mara Shapiro

Now that summer has officially started, it is time to decide what to do with all the free time that used to be put towards homework and studying. While we had a colder spring than we’ve had in the past, it looks like this summer is going to be a hot one. One of the great things about living in the suburbs of Chicago is that there are tons of local pools. We are fortunate enough to have 6 pools within a 15 minute driving distance from whichever suburb we live in. However, how does a person from Morton Grove know what the pool in Lincolnwood is like, and if it’s worth the effort to go and pay? Well, I’m going to give you the inside scoop not only on the Lincolnwood pool, but the other 5 pools as well!


Harrer Pool– Harrer Pool is a known hang out for Morton Grovers. The pool has the average amount of amenities. There is an average sized pool where swimmers of all ages can splash around in the deep and shallow ends. Right next to the pool, but cordoned off by a rope, is the true deep end, which houses two diving boards. To the right of the diving boards is a medium sized blue body slide. The slide twists and turns, but in all honestly it’s not that fast, so don’t expect it to be a thrill ride. To the left of the diving boards is a wading pool. If this sounds like your type of pool, forget about it because only little kids can hang around in there.(And because of the heavy presence of little kids, don’t be surprised if one has an accident in the main pool). However, if you still want to get your little kid on, Harrer offers a “spray ground,” which boasts a tiny bucket that tips over once it’s filled enough. The spray ground is a nice area when you don’t want to be in the pool, but it’s always, always, freezing cold in there. The pool is an overall OK pool, not my favorite on the list, but the main pool has enough room for you to have fun and swim around with friends.

Now here come a few cons about Harrer. For one, there is no sanctioned  lap lane, so if you’re a serious swimmer, this might not be the pool for you. It also gets quite crowded, with tons of screaming little kids, so if you want some peace and quiet I would suggest bringing an iPod. The lifeguards are whistle-heavy as well and for whatever reason, the place is bee heaven. Another con that really affects high schoolers in particular is a rule that patrons underneath the age of 18 are not allowed to sit on lounge chairs, and can be kicked off by the lifeguards at any time to make room for adults. If one gets to the pool early enough, one can potentially have a chair for a few hours, but like I said, it gets crowded fast, so you’re better off getting a bench or a plastic upright chair. The pool does attract high schoolers and the location is great, a park, a McDonalds, and a bubble tea are all near the area, but it’s not my personal favorite. . Harrer Pool’s address is 6250 on Dempster Street in Morton Grove. It’s located right near Harrer Park and Park View middle school. The prices and hours can be found on the pool’s website.

Oriole Pool– Oriole pool isn’t a well-known location, which is a blessing and a curse. It too is located in Morton Grove, but the kids who typically attend live in the Niles North and Maine East districts. Oriole is not a pool that has many attractions. There is, of course a main pool, that I would say is larger than Harrer’s. Maybe it’s the shape, but there is more room to swim and splash around with friends here. Unlike Harrer, there is a sanctioned lap lane where patrons can practice their backstrokes and butterflies in peace. Oriole is the home of two diving boards into a deep end, and a “mini slide.” I wouldn’t even call it a slide, it’s a half of a blue tube that you slide down for a second into 5 feet of water. It’s not a drop slide; it’s planted firmly on the ground. Oriole isn’t the pool for you if you’re looking for a waterpark feel. The main attraction is their main pool, and the place is pretty peaceful overall. There are families and little kids, but if you stick to the deeper end you won’t run into them. Now, if you’re one of those people who likes to see and be seen, Oriole won’t live up to your expectations. Rarely do I see teenagers that I know there, or teenagers in general really, and I doubt you will either. So, either invite a big group or find your pool enjoyment elsewhere. A fun fact about Oriole is that it has a ping-pong station, so if you want to take a break from swimming, you can always work on your serve! Personally, Oriole is one of my favorites because of its anonymity, but maybe that’s just me. Oriole Pool  is located on 9200 Oriole Avenue in Morton GroveYou can find out more about prices and hours at the pool’s website
Devonshire Aquatic Center-Devonshire Aquatic Center is one of two pools that Skokie offers. Appropriately entitled “Aquatic Center,” this pool is not just a main pool. The facilities include an addicting drop slide, a diving board, a lap pool, and a spray ground area that is more expansive than Harrer’s. While there is no huge body slide, the drop slide is pretty cool and you’ll want to keep going down it again and again until your head hurts. Now, my favorite part about Devonshire Aquatic Center is the spray ground. It is a lot bigger than Harrer’s. There are stairs, making it multi-leveled, and fun wheels to turn and activities that will bring out the inner kid in you. Granted, there are tons of little kids in that area, but they’re cute, so it’s ok. It is a Niles North hotspot, so if you are looking to scope out the kids from our sister school, chances are you will find what you are looking for. While I like Devonshire Aquatic Center, I would have to say that I enjoy Skokie’s sister pool better because it’s overall bigger, there are more attractions, and you will see more kids from West there. It’s still a nice reprieve from the hot sun, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to chill out by a pool. Devonshire Aquatic Center is located on 4400 Greenwood Street in Skokie. You can find out more about hours and prices on the pool’s website.

Skokie Water Playground- Skokie Water Playground is the second Skokie pool, and in my opinion, the top Skokie pool.  My main reason for the preference is that it’s just bigger, and therefore better, right? There are tons and tons of chairs. The pool is pretty big, but not that deep. There are 3 lap lanes for you serious swimmers. There isn’t a drop slide, but the pool offers three main slides. Two are bodies, and one is a tube slide! None are that fast, but they’re moderate in speed. However, you should watch out for the shallow bottom when you slide down; it will scrape your feet. There isn’t a diving board, but there is a really cool spray ground that houses a medium sized red bucket that tips over when filled all the way, plus it has two mini slides. There is also a mini spray area where one can take a break from the main pool. Near that area is a cute mini waterfall that makes the area scenic. I really enjoy this pool because it is bigger than average in its size, and I think the fact that it has a tube slide makes it unique. The concessions are really friendly, and they offer funnel cake! Skokie Water Playground is fun for the entire family, and you will see tons of West students when you go. This pool is definitely one of my favorites. Skokie Water Playground is located on 4701 Oakton Street in Skokie. You can find out more about prices and hours on the pool’s website.

Oasis Fun Center- Upon entrance to the Oasis Fun Center you will get a good dosage of fun: a little gold token that allows you to enter the locker rooms! I just find a gold token to be a really unique way to enter a pool. Like the Skokie Water Playground, Oasis Fun Center isn’t your average pool. It too has tons of seats where you can set up camp with a moderately large group of friends. The main pool is pretty big. You won’t get too cramped unless it’s a really busy day. In the main pool there is this neat waterfall like area, where if you go under it, tons of water will hit you like little darts. There is an addicting drop slide and a relatively large yellow body slide that twists and turns at an average speed. In addition to the slides and two diving boards, there is a splash ground that has interactive water facilities, and in the main pool there is some interaction as well. I really like the main pool’s layout, and Oasis is one of my top choices. You will see lots of middle and high schoolers there, so that is always fun. Oasis Fun Center is located on 7877 N. Milwaukee Ave in Niles. You can find out more about prices and hours on the pool’s website.

Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center–  Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center is definitely the most exclusive of all the pools. One needs to be a guest of a member to attend. Proesel offers an expansive main pool, a wading pool, and an activity pool. The main pool is appropriately in an “L” shape for Lincolnwood. Like Harrer, if you were hoping to have fun in the wading pool, you must magically become a little kid again to enter. The wading pool is better than Harrer’s in that there is a cute mini water slide for the little kids. The activity pool is similar to a spray ground, but it’s better. The spray ground has two water slides and tons of interactive water amenities. This pool is like the Culver’s of pools, in that many West students work there. Proesel is definitely one of the better pools, so check it out! Proesel Park Family Aquatic Center is located on 7055 N. Kostner Avenue in Lincolnwood. You can find out more about prices and hours at the pool’s website

Well there you have it, a full review on each of our local pools! If pools aren’t really your scene, check out the fantastic beaches in Chicago, Evanston, and Wilmette for some fun in the sun!