If the arctic conditions outside have you craving warm-weather pursuits, take heart! You don’t have to empty your bank account to pay for a pricey vacation in the islands. Just grab a towel and your swimsuit and head to any of the 30 indoor pools and water parks listed below, some of which may be right in your neighborhood!
Keep in mind the list is just a sampling of the many programs available, so don’t hesitate to do your own research. It’s also a good idea to reach out directly to the venue to confirm hours, admission fees, etc., as some policies may change over time. But rest assured, there’s a swim program for everyone, regardless of age, whether you’re interested in lap or family swim sessions, aquatic workouts, the entertainment features of a water park, triathlon training, or swimming/scuba diving lessons.
Community and Fitness Center Pools
In many regions of upstate New York, community centers and fitness facilities – and even some hotels – offer a variety of swim programs open to residents in their community. The following are some examples of community-based programs.
- The Albany Jewish Community Center has both an indoor pool and two outdoor seasonal pools. The facility has developed a variety of swim programs, including swimming lessons and water exercise classes for all ages, infant to adult, as well as a competitive youth swim team. The center also offers scuba diving lessons, water polo, and an aquatics boot camp for those looking to expand their fitness routine.
- The Capital District YMCA has a comprehensive aquatics program that includes progressive swim lessons, lifeguard and water safety training, and swim teams for various ages, as well as adaptive swim programs for children with special needs. Members and community members can take advantage of all the classes and programs the YMCA offers.
- Located in Cooperstown, the Clark Sports Center offers a variety of aquatics programming, including lap swimming, swim lessons, aquatic workout sessions, and kayaking skills training. Day and week passes are available, as are various flexible membership options for individuals, couples, or families.
- The Cohoes Community Center’s Olympic-size pool offers lap and open swimming, aquatic aerobics, aqua jogging, and swim lessons. Memberships for three, six, or 12 months are available to Cohoes residents and non-residents alike, but are not a requirement for use of the facility.
- A variety of swim options are available at the Hudson Valley Community Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Those who are members, as well as those who purchase a day pass, can participate in open/lap swimming sessions, and the Center also offers group and private swim lessons for individuals of all ages and abilities. Or, you can take aqua yoga or arthritis water exercise classes.
- The Sunnyview Lifestyle Wellness Center is a comprehensive fitness center that includes an aquatic program housed in a pool that is fully accessible to those with physical limitations. The facility, located in Schenectady, is open to the public at various times every day of the week. The admission fee varies depending on frequency of use and the programs in which you are interested. Open swimming sessions and group classes are available, and you can also schedule an appointment with a personal trainer.
- The Troy Boys & Girls Club offers an 8-week swim program on Saturdays beginning January 27, 2018. The classes are varied, ranging from a parent/child session for kids 6 months to 3 years of age to an adult swim class for those age 18 and up. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced swimmer, there’s a class for you. Registration applications are available on their website.
- Members of Vent Fitness in Guilderland can enjoy a full range of water-based activities, including aqua full-body workouts, water Zumba, lap swimming, and group or private swim lessons for all levels and ages, as well as access to a hot tub, sauna, and steam room. Free 3-day trial membership passes are available. Please consult the class schedule on their website for the most up-to-date lap swim times.
Secondary School Programs
- The Albany Academies offer morning swim sessions for the general public from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. Monday through Friday throughout the year (except holidays). The fee is $5 per swim or $50 per month, and you’ll need to present a doctor’s note confirming that you are healthy enough to engage in vigorous exercise. After your first swim, you’ll receive an access card to enter the building. For more information or to arrange a tour of the facility, please email the aquatics director or call her at (518) 429-2408.
- The Ballston Spa High School pool is open to the public for lap swimming early on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and during certain evening hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. Those eligible include district students, families, and community members, residents and non-residents alike. District residents are charged an entrance fee of $1; non-residents must pay $2 per visit. Family swim sessions are also available on Saturdays from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. when school is in session. In addition, for an extra fee, adults can register for Aqua Fitness classes, held Monday and Wednesday evenings.
- Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Central Schools offers a community swim program for both residents and non-residents during the fall, winter, and spring semesters. The program includes lap swim opportunities for a fee of $2 per day or $50 per session, as well as three eight-week learn-to-swim programs for children on Saturday mornings.
- Free family and lap swimming is available to the public at Johnstown High School on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m.
- The Mohonasen Central School District’s swimming pool is open to swimmers of all levels during the school year. The district offers lap swimming, aqua fitness classes, open swim sessions for families, and youth swim lessons (for grades K through 8) through its continuing education and summer enrichment programs.
- Myers Middle School in Albany offers free community swimming two evenings a week when school is in session. Monday swim sessions, from 6 to 8 p.m., are reserved for adults 50 and older. On Wednesdays, from 6 to 8 p.m., the pool is earmarked for family swimming. Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
- Niskayuna High School has an eight-lane swimming pool that is open to the community and features a pool entry area that is handicapped-accessible. Lap swim hours are available two to three times per day Monday through. Annual community memberships are available to both residents and non-residents. In addition, a variety of swim classes, ranging from private lessons and Red Cross learn-to-swim programs to scuba diving, are available through the district’s continuing education program.
- The Continuing Education Program at North Colonie Central School District offers a variety of swim programs for adults age 21 year or older. Classes, which are held at Shaker High School in Latham, include water aerobics, Aqua Zumba®, an early bird swim session at 6:30 a.m., and open swim sessions in the evenings.
- Voorheesville High Schoolholds open swim sessions Wednesdays from 7 to 9 p.m. and Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. The fee is $1 for students and senior citizens and $2 for adults, and you don’t need to be a resident. The school also offers learn-to-swim classes periodically.
Colleges and Universities
- The College of St. Rose in Albany is home to year-round, six-week, learn-too-swim programs offered on weekends by Excel Aquatics. (The other location for the program is the Sunnyview Lifestyle Wellness Center in Schenectady.) Lessons for children are 30 minutes in length and taught in small classes of up to four children of varying skill levels. One-on-one instruction for children with special needs is also available, as are Friday-evening lessons for adults and triathlon training sessions.
- Hartwick College’s Moyer Pool in Oneonta offers lap swimming and workout sessions open to the public at various times throughout the week.
- The Christman Pool at Herkimer Community College is a 6-lane pool that is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 to 10 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., and Monday through Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Children younger than 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. A 10-visit pass costs $20 and can be shared with others. Both the 6-month pass ($50) and the annual pass ($100) are good for unlimited use during open swim hours.
- Mohawk Valley Community College offers a range of swimming options for the public through their Center for Corporate and Community Education program, including adult and child swim lessons, aqua Zumba, lap swimming, water aerobics, and water running. MVCC students, faculty, and staff can access the pool facilities for free; the charge is $3 per visit for all others. There is also an option to purchase passes that are good for a full semester. Seniors (60+ years of age) are eligible to purchase a discounted wellness pass for the semester which provides members access to the fitness center, indoor track, and racquetball courts, as well as the pool.
- The Center for Lifelong Learning at North Country Community College in Saranac Lake offers adult, senior, and open swim sessions, as well as water aerobics, in addition to Monday-evening Red Cross swim lessons for youth. There is no usage fee for NCCC students, faculty and staff or their immediate family members. Others can purchase a daily, semester-long, or annual membership.
- Community and alumni gym/pool memberships are available (for a fee) at the Marcelle Athletic Complex at Siena College in Loudonville, which includes an eight-lane, 25-yard pool.
- The swim program at The State University of New York at Cobleskill features Red Cross swim lessons for children on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
- Use of the Elting Pool at The State University of New York at New Paltz is free to students, as well as faculty and staff, their spouses, and immediate family members younger than 18 years of age. In addition, New Paltz community members 18 years of age or older may purchase a pool membership by the month, semester, or year to participate in the open swim periods. The University’s Office of Wellness and Recreation also offers a Masters Swim Program for individuals interested in stroke or technique improvement, regular workouts, or training for swim competitions or triathlons.
- The University at Albany athletics complex features a six-lane pool suitable for recreational or lap swimming, triathlon training, therapeutic swimming, or aqua jogging. The pool is open to University at Albany students, faculty, staff, alumni, and current community member cardholders.
Indoor Water Parks
If you’re looking for a swimming adventure with all the excitement of an amusement park, consider visiting one of the family-friendly water parks in the Capital Region or beyond:
- Big Splash Indoor Waterpark, located at Rocking Horse Ranch Resort in Highland, near Poughkeepsie, boasts a number of child-pleasing activities, all temperature-controlled at a balmy 85 degrees. Admission to the park is included with your stay at the resort. Features include the Dynamite Alley Water Walk Challenge, the 250-foot-long Gold Rush Flume, and the Fort Geyser Aqua Station, equipped with interactive fountains, geysers, slides, and dumping buckets.
- Cascades Indoor Water Park, located at Greek Peak Mountain Resort in Cortland, features four three-story water slides, a whitewater wave pool and 13-foot waterfall, an interactive play structure for small children, a wading pool, a 1,000-square-foot pool with two themed basketball hoops, and a heated outdoor pool that is open year-round.
- The expansive aquatic center at the Rudy A. Ciccotti Family Recreation Centerin Albany, offers a 25-yard, four-lane lap pool for fitness swimming and aquatic classes, swimming lessons for all ages and abilities, and a waterpark that features a leisure pool, lazy river, shallow-water splash pad and fountains, and a 20-foot flume slide. If you are not a member, a day pass is $20 per person and includes access to all of the facility’s programs, including aquatics. Certified lifeguards are always on duty, but for added safety, the center requires that children younger than 9 be accompanied by a parent in the water and those 9 to 11 have a parent watching them from the pool deck (if not in the water). Children 12 and older do not require parental supervision while in the water.
- Six Flags Great Escape Indoor Water Park, located in Queensbury, is a 32,000-square-foot facility with a host of attractions, including two 41-foot-high water slides, a lazy river, boogie board surf area, warm water spa, interactive tree house suitable for younger children, and a four-person simulated whitewater raft ride.
As you can see from the variety of aquatics programs and activities available, if swimming is your passion, there’s no reason to interrupt your fun and fitness routine during the winter months. Simply find yourself a program that meets your needs and/or those of your family and get out of the cold and into the pool!