Pax River, Solomons swimming pools open with a splash

Renovations at both the NAS Patuxent River Aquatics Center and the NRC Solomons Riverside Aquatic Center offer new and improved entertainment this summer.

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial beginning of summer, and the newly renovated outdoor aquatic centers at both NAS Patuxent River and Naval Recreation Center Solomons are ready to welcome guests and get the season started.

Pax River Aquatic Center

Closed last year for repairs, the outdoor pool at Pax River will throw open its gates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 25, with a Grand Opening celebration that includes prize drawings, games, a dunk booth – and free admission.

“Extensive work was done on the pipes and the entire pool has had a new liner installed,” said Heather Macquilliam, Pax aquatics manager. “The slide was refinished, we have new furniture, and the bottom of the baby pool was refinished also. And other smaller general improvements were done that have improved the entire area.”

NRC Solomons Riverside Aquatics

Boasting a huge renovation and upgrade, Riverside Aquatics at NRC Solomons features a newly installed state-of-the-art filtration and chemical system; three main pools with all new plaster and siding; a new poured concrete deck and tiles; and new LED pool lights with 15 color options.

“There’s also an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) lift in the middle pool as well as an ADA-compliant permanent staircase built in to assist those patrons who need help with access,” said Carrie Jay, installation site director. “We also have a transitioning ADA ramp that takes you from the pool area to the Snack Shack.”

An exciting addition is the new Riverside Splash Zone featuring a zero-deck walk-in entry pool for kids five years and under.

“We have a baby area again, which we haven’t had in five years,” Jay said. “It’s a completely fenced-in safe zone for families with little ones. There are umbrellas for shade, and picnic tables. It’s the only area on the pool deck where you’re allowed to eat.”

Two big crabs and a fountain in the deep end, which measures only 8 inches, spray water for the young ones to play in.

“The water features are interlocking and interchangeable,” Jay noted, “so in a few years, if we’d like to try a different theme, we can pull them out and put in new pieces, kind of like Legos.”

While Riverside Aquatics opens for the season 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, May 25, there is a special free-admission private Sneak Peek Pool Party from 5-8 p.m. Friday, May 24, for active-duty service members only to bring their families and enjoy the refurbished facility before it opens to the public.

So much more than swimming

Both aquatic centers can be rented at certain times for pool parties, and both offer additional aquatic programming such as swimming lessons for individuals and groups, aqua aerobics, lifeguard certification classes, and more.

At NRC Solomons, guests can enjoy the beach by renting kayaks, adult and youth-sized stand up paddleboards, canoes, paddleboats, and coracles – a kind of round kayak.

“Rentals are from noon to 6 p.m. every day of the week, and the beach is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Jay said. “For safety, we keep all of that activity in the beach area monitored by lifeguards.”

Don’t miss another activity or event

Fun activities occur throughout the season – such as Dive-in Theaters where you can float in the pool while watching a movie – or special events like the upcoming Cardboard Boat Race at Solomons. For specific hours of operation and for a complete calendar of events, visit the appropriate website at either www.navypaxriver.com or www.navymwrsolomons.com. While there, click on “Subscribe to Newsletter” to begin receiving the MWR email publication, filled with a variety of activities to keep you and your family busy all summer.

To sign up for classes, call pools during their hours of operation at 301-342-4225 for Pax; and 410-326-6867 for Solomons; or phone the Fitness Office at 301-757-3943.

Hiring for summer

Summer jobs are still available for swim instructors, lifeguards and housekeeping. Anyone interested can see the listings and apply by going to usajobs.gov, keyword NDW.