Looking to cool off in Champaign-Urbana, but don’t want the hustle and bustle of a large aquatic center? Check out the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center in Rantoul.
Located just off of Route 45 in Rantoul, the Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center is small, but does the trick when your kids want to cool off. Bonus: It’s usually not crowded, the admission fee is reasonable, and it’s just a quick car ride from C-U.
My favorite part about this pool? It’s easy to watch my kids. All of the aquatic center is in your line of sight from the deck of the pool, and that’s the major reason why this pool is tops in our summer swimming rotation.
The pool features a zero depth entry main swimming area with the deeper depth defined by a large black line painted on the bottom of the pool (handy when you need to keep a kiddo swimming in the more shallow depth). The water slides exit into the main pool. There is a separate deep diving pool.
There are some splash activities in the zero depth area for little ones, like a froggy slide and water play area. There are also splash buckets, which kept my kids entertained for hours.
There are two main water slides, one slow curvy slide and one fast straight slide. When you walk into the aquatic center, you can measure your child at the dolphin size chart to see if your child meets the height restriction for the slides.
Bigger kids can enjoy the diving board and two super-fast but shorter slides that empty into the deep pool.
You can find plenty of lounge chair seating, and also grassy areas if you want to spread out a towel. When your kids want a swimming break, there is a large mulch covered playground located near the snack bar. Seating can also be found in the snack area. The concession prices are extremely reasonable, but they only take cash so come prepared if you know you will be buying pretzels and blue Icees. Food and drink are not allowed on the pool deck. Because of the reasonable pricing of the concession stand, I have not tried to bring in my own food and drink. The Recreation Center can process credit cards, in case you need to use plastic to pay your entrance fee.
From the admissions to the concession stand, the staff was very friendly and helpful. I was very impressed with the life guards. While we were there, a toddler fell over face first in the water, and the lifeguard was there to help before I even had time to blink.
There are two family changing rooms in addition to both men’s and women’s accessible changing areas. The smaller size of the Rantoul pool means you don’t panic when your kids have to go potty multiple times during your pool visit.
Have a train lover in the family? While it may not be scenic, the Aquatic Center’s location off of Route 45 means that there are also plenty of train sightings from the pool, which my kids noted and had fun watching.
If you want a nice (mostly) quiet and stress free pool day, I recommend the smaller Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center in Rantoul. Your kids might get bored after a few hours, but you will get a good pool day in and won’t feel overwhelmed by too much ground to cover. The pool can get busy from about 1-3 p.m, and on weekends. However, I’ve noticed it’s not as busy after 3 p.m. on weekdays.
Location: 333 S. Tanner St.
Season: Opening day is May 28; closing day Sept. 7.
Regular Hours: May 28-30: noon to 7 p.m.; May 31 – TBD Monday-Friday, 1 to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon to 7 p.m.
Daily Pass Price: 3-64 $6, 65 and older $5. 2 and under, free with paying adult.
Season Pass Prices: Individuals (ages 3-54) $100; Seniors (65+) $80; Family $250 (up to 4 members living in same household; $50.00 each additional member, but 2 and under free.)
Looking for other Champaign-Urbana area pools? Check out the Chambanamom’s pool guide here.