Beat the heat: Cool off at these public pools, splash pads this summer

From the North Shore to the South Shore, there are several free or low-cost options for families looking for a fun way to cool off with the kids. Pack your towel, and head to municipal pools and splash pads around the area. We highlighted some spots you can slide into your summer plans.

Here’s where you can go to swim, splash and cool off this summer.

Cool Zoo at Audubon Zoo

Audubon Zoo’s popular water attractions, Cool Zoo and Gator Run lazy river, will reopen open on June 16 for the 2021 season, Audubon Nature Institute officials confirmed.

Gator Run and Cool Zoo, Photo courtesy: Audubon Nature

This year, the attractions will open on a Wednesday through Sunday schedule until Aug. 7, after which the water park will return to a weekends-only schedule. The water park is scheduled to close for the 2021 season on Labor Day, Sept. 6.

When Cool Zoo reopens, visitors can expect some changes. This year, Audubon will offer two sessions each day for guests to enjoy Cool Zoo. The first session takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and session two runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Admission to Cool Zoo, including Gator Run, is $8 for Audubon Nature Institute members and $10 for non-members, plus Audubon Zoo admission. In 2019, regular admission tickets cost $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

NORD Pools

The New Orleans Recreation and Development (NORD) Commission operates more than a dozen neighborhood pools. So far, only about a dozen of NORD’s pools will open to the public this summer from June 7 to Aug 28.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced plans to eventually open all NORD pools this summer, with delayed and staggered openings due to a lifeguard shortage.



Currently, NORD will only offer lap swimming, water aerobics, open swim and swim lessons. Other programs are currently unavailable due to the pandemic.

Due to COVID-19, swim lessons will only be available this summer at Lyons, Stallings Gentilly and Treme pools. Registration is required for swim lessons and other aquatic programs. Participants can register here.

The following indoor pool locations open year-round: Treme Recreation Community Center, Gert Town Natatorium, Sanchez Multi-Service Center, Joe W. Brown Park.

These outdoor pools opened as of June 7: Rosenwald Recreation Center, Stallings St. Claude Recreation Center, Stallings Gentilly Playground, Lyons Recreation Center and Whitney Young Pool.

These outdoor pools are scheduled to open on June 21: A.L. Davis Playground, Sampson Playground, Lemann Playground and Pradat Playground.

Pool hours are Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pools are closed on Sundays.

NORD says they are following CDC guidelines for recreational pool usage. Review those guidelines here.

Ormond Spray Park

The Ormond Spray Park, located at 1901 Ormond Boulevard in Destrehan, officially opened for the 2021 season on May 1.

Ormond Spray park
Photo courtesy: Ormond Spray Park

The free spray park on St. Charles Parish will open only on weekends from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. until the end of May. Then, from June 1 to Aug. 29, the spray park will open for its normal schedule Tuesdays through Sundays from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Ormond Spray Park will return to weekend-only operations from Aug. 30 to Sept. 26, before closing for the season.

The spray park is available for two-hour private rentals from 10 a.m. to noon. Rentals cost $250 for half of the park and $500 for the entire park. To request a rental online, click here.

Parc Des Families Splash Pad

The splash pad at Parc Des Families, at 6101 Leo Kerner in Marrero, is open for the season. The splash pad offers a wide variety of spray effects with more than a dozen water features, promoting imagination and coolness.

Right now, the spray park opens on weekends only until May 16. The park opens daily from May 22 to Aug. 15, then returns to weekends only from Aug. 21 to Sept. 19.

The spray park hours 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Parc Des Families Splash Pad closes for the season at 6 p.m. on Sept. 19.

UNO Aquatic Center

This facility inside the UNO Lakefront Arena is currently open for fitness lap swimming by reservation from Tuesdays to Sundays. UNO Aquatic Center doesn’t sell one-day visitor passes at the time, but annual and monthly recurring memberships are available for $20 per month or $200 per year, plus taxes and fees.

Fontainebleau State Park Splash Pad

If you’re looking for some kid-friendly water fun on the North Shore, get soaked in Mandeville at the water playground inside Fontainebleau State Park. Admission is only $3 per person, which includes access to the entire park grounds.

Entry is free for children age 3 and under and seniors age 62 and older. The splash pad opens Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

YMCA of Greater New Orleans Pools

The YMCA of Greater New Orleans has five branch locations in Belle Chasse, East Jefferson, West St. Tammany, Buras and Port Sulphur with pools available for members or guests of members.


The YMCA’s summer membership rates start at $99 per month for families or $66 per month for individuals, plus a joining fee.

For more information, visit the YMCA of Greater New Orleans website.

Johnny Jacobs Playground Pool

On the West Bank, the YMCA of Greater New Orleans also operates a pool at Johnny Jacobs Playground in Marrero that doesn’t require a membership.

Starting May 25, the pool opens four days a week for public swim hours. Public swim hours are from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Admission to the pool is $2 for swimmers and $1 for non-swimmers. Social distancing between family pods will be enforced.

YMCA will also offer swim lessons for kids, teens and adults with various sessions throughout the summer.

Kids swim lessons will take place on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings with seven different session dates available from May to August. See the list of age groups and sessions here.

Are there any other great splash pads or public pools great for families this summer, let us know about them here.

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