North Clackamas Aquatic Park's 400,000 gallons of H2O stream down two twisty tube slides and splash swimmers in three swimming pools housed within this waterlogged indoor playground. During Big Surf! recreational hours, divers plunge into 13-foot-deep water as swimmers on rental tubes crest the wave pool's 4-foot surf, whereas competitive swimmers hone skills in the 25-yard, six-lane lap pool. A drop slide sends adventurous aquanauts plunging, as climbers head the other direction on a 29-foot rock wall with three routes for scalers of all skill levels. As adults unwind in the hot tub, pint-size splashers flit about interactive fountains, coast down the Sammie the Seal slide into a kiddie pool, or organize their fellow tots into a filibuster until chaperones acquiesce to snack demands at the Surf's Up Cafe. Swimming lessons, complimentary life jackets, and inflatable submarines are also available to help guests swim safely.
Farber Swim School’s instructors specialize in helping swimmers overcome their fear of water. One way they do this is by heating their 16-yard pool to 90 degrees, which helps to eliminate the initial shock of touching the water. Once students feel comfortable, the instructors—who are all lifeguards, competitive swimmers, or actual fish—begin their lessons, which range depending on the students’ needs. For instance, Baby & Me classes introduce youngsters to aquatic activity in the pool’s 3-foot shallow end, while more advanced students tread in the pool’s 8-foot deep end. Surrounding the four-lane pool, you’ll find locker rooms, a sun deck, and a hot tub that’s heated to 100 degrees.
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SoccerPlex’s moniker is deceiving. The athletic center boasts two indoor turf soccer fields—one measuring 185’x85’, the other 88’x36’. It also hosts women’s, men’s, and coed soccer leagues as well as kids’ soccer classes. But, in addition to its namesake sport, SoccerPlex also promotes sports and activities where it’s within the rules to use your hands, such as basketball, for which SoccerPlex offers adult leagues and kids’ programs. There are even classes for swimming, dancing, and martial arts as well as group fitness classes and Lego camps for young architects in training.
The experienced instructors at Aquatic Sports make it clear that they aren't in the business of simply doling out scuba certifications—they want to turn amateur divers into lifetime scuba explorers with safe, sensible training. Their teachers lead students in a heated pool through comprehensive refresher courses and basic scuba-certification courses that set divers on the path to independent diving. Alternatively, in the more advanced three- or four-week open-water-certification course, tank-breathers undergo classroom instruction for skills review and lessons in open-water conditions, as well as pool instruction for topics such as scuba emergencies and safety procedures.
Once they're ready to safely plumb the ocean depths, scuba-course grads can join scuba trips, with Aquatic Sports' staff handling all booking and arrangements. Before heading out to dive the Columbia River or the neighbor's above-ground pool, you can gear up at the in-house scuba shop, stocked with brand new diving and underwater photography equipment.
At Woodburn Aquatic Center, swimmers of all experience levels explore the facility's chlorinated garden of swimming holes ringed by a set of terrestrial workout equipment. While lap swim is available all day and open play stretches from 9 a.m. until closing, the set schedule also sets aside blocks of time for parents and their children and therapy sessions for seniors. For more flexible scheduling and one-on-one attention, swimmers can opt to take personal lessons.
Youthful squeals drift from a rope swing and waterslide, where young aquanauts frolic supervised by seasoned lifeguards. Members can supplement their water workouts with fast-paced fitness classes such as Zumba and yoga. All swimmers enjoy complimentary lockers that stow dry clothes and formal water wings for job interviews.