Let’s go swimming

Are you swimsuit ready? I hope so, because the Webber Natural Swimming Pool is opening for the summer even as you read this article. I’m not talking about your waistline – whose is? That’s not what is important; your swimming habits will help alleviate any issues with that. All sizes and ages are welcome to swim at the pool; I’m literally talking about your swimsuit! The MPRB has specific requirements regarding swimsuits at the new naturally filtered pool, as many found out last summer when they went to the pool hoping to swim in their shorts and t-shirts. Now is the time to check your wardrobe and try on that suit. Make sure that your younger swimmers are ready too!

This is what is acceptable in the new pool: nylon, Lycra, polyester, silicone, latex, official swim diapers and white cotton. Additionally, all boy’s and men’s swimsuits must have a liner. Just as important are the fabrics that are not allowed — colored cotton, denim, leather, wool, corduroy, undergarments, and cloth or disposable diapers.

Webber Pool uses filters and 7000 plants to clean the water. As a natural swimming pool (NSP), Webber Pool is considered a living system and does not use chlorine or other chemicals — making it more like a lake and wetland. Webber is the first public NSP in North America. In Europe there are 20,000 public and private NSP’s. The entire 500,000 gallons of water in the Webber Pool is recycled every 12 hours. In addition to the filters and plants, the pool is vacuumed each day.

The MPRB asks that you know and follow the rules of the naturally filtered pool, so that it can be kept clean and kept open. In addition to wearing the proper swimwear they are asking that you do not swim if you are sick or have open sores. Pets, food, beverages, tobacco and glass items will not be allowed inside the pool area. Street shoes must be removed and all swimmers must shower before swimming.

So when will the fun begin?! MPRB is hosting a pre-season opening on the weekends of May 28-30 and June 4-5. The pool will be open from 1-7 pm on those days. The regular season begins on Saturday June 11, with the pool open daily, Tuesday through Sunday from 1-7 p.m. through August 28. From August 29-September 2, the pool will be open 4-7 p.m., and will resume regular hours for the Labor Day weekend. The last day of the season will be on Labor Day. MPRB is also planning a grand opening celebration on Saturday July 23, starting at 11 a.m. Be sure to save the date!

Swimming is free during the open swimming times. MPRB will offer lap swimming from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Tuesday – Friday. The cost will be $3 per day or $24 for 10 visits. The pool also has lap lanes which will be available during the free open swimming times.

Swimming lessons will be offered from 11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m., and 12:15-12:55 p.m. Tuesday – Friday. The cost for lessons is $55 for residents and $65 for non-residents. Scholarships are available for swimming lessons. You can register for lap swimming and lessons at the Webber recreation center, at the pool house or online at apm.activecommunities.com/minneapolisparks.

Parents and supervising adults should be aware that all youth, ages 12 years and younger, must be accompanied by an adult, age 18 or older. Children younger than 8 years old must be supervised by an adult at all times and only United States Coast Guard approved lifejackets may be worn in the pool. Inflatable items, balls and water wings are not allowed. There is zero entry accessibility and a shallow pool with a maximum depth of 3 feet 7 inches for small children.  The open swimming area has a maximum depth of 6 feet 4 inches, and the jumping platform area has a depth of 11 feet and 7 inches. There are outdoor lockers, showers and grassy sunbathing areas available. Outside of the pool area there are picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball courts and a playground for you and your family to use.

For small children and families there is another swimming option at nearby North Mississippi Regional Park. They have a wading pool and playground, and if you happen to visit the Kroening Interpretive Center you may notice MPRB employees there this summer.  Starting on June 13 the staffing will begin transitioning from Three Rivers staff to MPRB staff. Three Rivers staff will continue to offer the same level of naturalist programs through the summer, including free family fun events. Robin Smothers, from MPRB, said they are excited about the potential for future programming at the Regional Park.  More to come on this transition!