What you need to know about a trip to the Champaign Park District’s Sholem Aquatic Center
Sholem Aquatic Center truly has something for everyone. Not only does it have some splish-splash fun for kids of all ages, you can find people walking the lazy river in the morning, along with fun family events all summer long. Let’s unpack why this Champaign Park District facility is a great fit for any family, any summer.
Editor’s Note: Please know that information for the 2021 pool season is subject to change at any point. We encourage you to heed the guidance of Champaign-Urbana Public Health as the summer months approach and you plan family outings during COVID-19.
Tips For Your Trip From Other Parents
- To answer the top question for families with older kids, the big slides are for anyone 42 inches and up. Lifeguards will catch a child at the bottom if they request it at the top of the slide. The slides end in a pool of 3 feet 6 inches.
- Pick a Friday to visit to save a little cash. You’ll pay a discounted rate on Fridays (same as if you showed up after 5 p.m. any day, which they call the “twilight rate”) and save in the process. Remember kids age 3 and younger are always free. Once they turn 4, you’ll pay for their individual admission.
- Leave the food in the car or at home. Instead, plan to stop at the concession stand while you’re at Sholem to refuel.
- Purchase a Sholem punch card if you think your family will visit a couple of times. The 2021 rates are $8 per person for a Champaign or Urbana resident, but a five-visit pass for a resident will only run you $35. That’s a savings of $5! (Each person above the age of three counts as one “punch.”)
- Have kids of different ages? Bring some friends and employ the buddy system. The toddler area is quite a ways away from the big waterslides and if your bigs have a buddy you might feel more comfortable walking over to the toddler area.
- Visit the Sholem Aquatic Center website to get the scoop on days they might open late due to a swim meet or for any other relevant info.
Is this pool good for toddlers?
Yes! We think it is. Not only is there a toddler area with a toddler-proof gate (well, as toddler proof as something can realistically be, that is) but there are many areas throughout the facility where you and your toddler can enjoy some fun. Sholem proves itself to be a popular place for parents of toddlers every single summer. And you’ll want to mark “tiny tots splash time” on your schedule for the summer, too. Held early in the mornings from 7:30-11:45 a.m. on weekdays, you can enter the facility and head straight to the toddler pool and turtle slide for some chill playtime, supervised by Sholem lifeguards. (Saturday and Sunday times are 8:00 – 10:45 a.m.)
What amenities are offered?
Sholem Aquatic Center amenities include:
- Trained lifeguards
- Restrooms and locker rooms, including family changing rooms
- Expansive main pool that includes zero depth entry, spray features and smaller slides (no height requirements) as well as lap lanes for swimmers to practice skills with a shallow end and deeper end
- Securely gated baby pool with zero depth entry, shade and toddler slide
- Two tube waterslides and one inner tube water slide, all for patrons 42 inches and up. The inner tube water slide ends in the meandering lazy river, while the two tube slides end in 3 feet 6 inches of water
Are season passes available?
Yes. In our opinion, they’re a great value if you plan to hit the pool once a week all summer long. Buy them early in the spring season (or better yet, sometimes over Black Friday) if you want to save as much as possible.
What’s the deal with the concession stand?
The Oasis concession stand offers a truly great variety of options at what we consider a reasonable price. As of 2019, you could get a mini pizza, chips and a drink for $5. Not bad at all! Hot dogs, pretzels, nachos, pizza, ice cream bars and more top the list of most-purchased items at The Oasis.
Can I have a party or rent the facility?
Yes. Sholem Aquatic Center can work with a variety of groups to make a successful outing possible. Contact them directly if you’re interested.
Do they offer swimming lessons?
Yes. Just check the summer program guide for details. Sessions (typically) run Monday-Thursday, two weeks at a time. We know many families sign up for multiple sessions throughout the summer.