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Toddler-Friendly Pools (In Boston)


AI illustration of a toddler splashing in a pool

Boston offers wading and low-entry pools in different parts of the city. Since the water is shallow we think they are best for babies and toddlers. Below is where you’ll find them:


Artesani Wading Pool (Brighton)

Open Daily | June 15, 2024 - September 2, 2024 | 10:15am - 5:45pm


Artesani has a beautiful kiddie pool with lifeguards. It’s located next to a bath house with restrooms, sprinklers, and a newly renovated playground. There are plenty of benches, and grass to lay out on. Parking is abundant and free, but can get crowded on the weekends. The pool also reaches capacity (mostly Friday through Sunday) and visitors have to wait in line before entering.


Frog Pond (Downtown Boston)

Open Daily | June 25, 2024 - September 2, 2024 | 11:00am - 6:00pm


The Frog Pond has a summer kickoff event every year at the end of June. It's located next to a playground with sprinklers, and is in the heart of downtown. Parking is paid, so public transportation or ride-sharing may be best.


Ryan Wading Pool (Mattapan)

Open Daily | June 15, 2024 - September 2, 2024 | 10:15am - 5:45pm


The Ryan wading pool has spray features and life guards. There is a tiny parking lot that can get crowded on busy days. A playground is located next door, but it has wood-chips for flooring, so you may want to bring closed-toe shoes.


Kroc Center (Dorchester)

Open Year-Round (unless pool needs repairs)


The Kroc Center is the only indoor pool on this list. Their indoor water park features kiddie water slides and a low-entry pool that's baby and toddler-friendly. The Kroc has a large parking lot that we’ve never seen full. Membership (~$50 per month) or a one-time pass ($10 per adult) is needed for entry.


Olsen Pool (Hyde Park)

Open Daily | June 15, 2024 - August 18, 2024 | 11:15am - 6:45pm


The Olsen pool was recently updated and features a low-entry ramp and stairs on the perimeter. While little ones can enjoy it, please know it is a traditionally-sized pool reaching over 5 feet. If you're little one isn't swimming yet, a coast-guard approved life jacket can make the experience more fun (for you and them)! The Olsen is a popular spot for camps and summer parties, which means it can get pretty crowded. While the parking lot has ample spaces it too can get full (especially over the weekends).


When Do Pools Open In Boston?


Most of Boston's outdoor pools open mid-June and remain open until early September. If Boston has a heat wave, the city and state open water features earlier to make sure that families are able to stay cool during hotter temps. According to the city, a heat wave is two or more days of a 95°F heat index. A heat index takes into account the weather feeling hotter than it actually is.


Which Pool Is The Busiest?


The Olsen and Artesani feel the busiest. The Frog Pond may have a ton of people numberwise, but since there is so much space, it doesn't feel crowded.


Why Do Kiddie Pools Need Lifeguards?


Lifeguards are spaced out around the pool so that they can efficiently monitor the water and emphasize safety rules. For example, flooring around the pool can be slippery, so lifeguards frequently blow their whistles and remind little ones not to run.


Wading pools are also designed for little ones to comfortably sit or stand in water. Many children also enjoy crawling on their hands and knees to simulate swimming. However, if they lay flat, the water could be high enough to cover them. Since it doesn’t take a lot of water to enter kids' lungs, having lifeguards onsite ensures emergency services are available (if needed).


Does The City Still Offer Free Life Jackets?


Yes! The city still offers a limited number of "free" life jackets to Boston residents through their Swim Safe program. You have to apply through their online form with your child's name, age, weight, and other details. According to their application, the program limits two children per form. If you prefer to purchase you own, here’s the swim vest our daughter uses and loves.


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