Seeking a safe way to escape the heat? Check out community pools

Where The Cool Kids Are

Children and adults cool off in the triple digit heat Friday afternoon (06-16-17) at the Stanislaus County Regional Water Safety Training Center in Empire, Calif.
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Children and adults cool off in the triple digit heat Friday afternoon (06-16-17) at the Stanislaus County Regional Water Safety Training Center in Empire, Calif.

Air conditioning’s a beyond-wonderful invention. But as the temperature is set to climb close to 110 degrees over the next several days, nothing matches the lure of plunging into cool water.

Unfortunately, with it not even being summer yet, the snowmelt-fed rivers can be treacherous – flowing high, fast and cold. Earlier this week, when the body of a drowning victim was recovered from the Stanislaus River at Knights Ferry, a Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District battalion chief noted that the water temperature was in the high 40s to low 50s.

Reservoirs also remain cold this early in the season. estimated the water temperature at 67 degrees late Friday morning at Modesto Reservoir, and 70 degrees at Woodward Reservoir. And the National Center for Cold Water Safety says it can be dangerous to swim in water below 70 degrees, noting, “Controlling your breathing and holding your breath becomes progressively more difficult” the colder the water is.

Fortunately, there are a good number of lifeguard-manned community pools throughout Stanislaus County and south San Joaquin County that offer open-swim sessions. There also are plenty of park and recreation areas with splash features to let kids cool off.

Here’s a look at what’s out there:


Johansen High School pool, 641 Norseman Drive

Open swim through Aug. 4, Mondays through Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. (Closed June 24 and July 4). Youth 17 and under $1, adults $2, seniors 62 and older $1.25 and disabled $1.25. Pay at the pool or buy a prepaid card at the Senior Citizens Center, 211 Bodem St. or Tenth Street Plaza. To learn more: or 209-577-5344.

Salvation Army Red Shield Community Center pool, 1649 Las Vegas St.

Open swim 1-6:30 p.m. weekdays, noon-5 p.m. Saturdays. Youth $2 per visit or $10 per month, adults $4/$16. More at or 209-538-7111.

The pools at Beyer and Davis high schools used to be open for summer swimming, but budget restrictions forced the city to cut back. The Modesto Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department has removed pools from parks over the years because of the expense of operating them. The only remaining one is in Graceada Park, and it is closed indefinitely.

The city does operate several splash grounds, open from 2 to 6 p.m. daily. They are in Marshall, Sylvan, Ustach, Sanders, Freedom, George Rodgers, Coffee Claratina, Creekwood and Graceada parks, as well as at the Lions’ Junction on the Virginia Corridor Trail.


Columbia Park pool, 595 High St.

Open swim through Aug. 27, 12:30-2:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Open weekends only Aug. 5-27.

Pitman High School pool, 2525 W. Christoffersen Parkway

Open swim through July 20, 12:30-2:30 p.m. weekdays (closed July 4).

Turlock High pool, 1600 E Canal Drive

Open swim through July 20, 12:30-2:30 p.m. weekdays (closed July 4).

Pools are operated by the Turlock Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Department. Adults, $2, youth $1. Must be 8 years old to get in without an adult, and parents/guardians must accompany children.

The city also operates free splash parks at Columbia and Broadway parks.


Dorada Park pool, 555 N. Third Ave.

Open swim Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 4; Friday through Sundays, noon to 5; Friday nights 5:30 to 8. Children under 8 must be accompanied at the pool by an adult, and kids 5 and under must be accompanied in the water by an adult. Youth 13 and under $1, ages 14 and up $2. Punch cards for 20 visits: youth $15, adults $35. Pool open daily through Aug. 4, then weekends only through Sept. 3. 209-847-3152.


Riverbank Community Pool, Seventh and Stanislaus streets

Open Mondays through Thursdays, 1 to 3:30 p.m., Saturdays noon to 4 p.m. Closed Fridays and Sundays. $2 admission, summer pas $60 individual, $100 for family of four, with $20 each additional family member. Swim pass does not guarantee admission when guard capacity is reached. 209-863-7150.


Ceres High pool, 2320 Central Ave.

Open swim through Aug. 5, Fridays and Saturdays, noon to 4 p.m. $2 youth, $2.50 adults, $1 nonswimmers accompanying kids. Free swim passes provided by Turlock Irrigation District available at 2701 Fourth St. 209-538-5682.


Patterson Aquatic Center, 1025 W. Las Palmas Ave.

Open swim noon to 3 p.m. weekdays, 1 to 5 p.m. weekends. $3 general, $1 nonswimmer, $2 seniors. 20-visit pass $45, 40-visit pass $80, 20-visit senior pass $30. or 209-895-8080.


Regional Water Safety Training Center pool, operated by the Police Activities League, I Street at Yosemite Boulevard

Open swim through Aug. 6, then weekends only through Sept. 3. Tuesdays through Fridays, first session 12:30 to 2:45 p.m., second session 3 to 5:30. Weekends, first session 12:30 to 3 p.m., second 3:15 to 5:45. Weekdays, $2.50 swimmer, $1 nonswimmer; weekends, $3 swimmer, $1 nonswimmer. 209-529-9121.


Escalon Community Pool, behind Escalon High School, 1528 Yosemite Ave.

Open swim weekdays, 1 to 5 p.m. $2, or sheet of 15 swim passes, $27; individual season pass, $65; family season pass, $120. Passes available at City Hall.


Zador Aquatic Center, 301 N. Acacia Ave.

Open swim through Aug. 4, 1 to 4 p.m. weekdays. $3.50, or $35 individual monthly pass (for June 5-30, or July 1-Aug. 4), $50 individual season pass or $120 family season pass up to four people ($35 per additional family member). 209-599-3859, 209-221-5209 or 209-596-1466.

Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327