From average outdoor pool to water park playground
Last summer I would have said, Warringah Aquatic Centre is an ok pool for your littlies but nothing to write home about.
This summer, I would say Warringah Aquatic Centre is a terrific place to take your kids of all ages, particularly the under 5s. The outdoor recreation space has been transformed into a water park and leisure / BBQ space, to rival the most popular public pools in Sydney.
There's fun for older kids on the inflatable course in the indoor pool
The makeover to this council-run centre in French's Forest was much needed, and it has delivered.
To give you an overview, Warringah Aquatic Centre is a sizeable facility with a spacious carpark and two indoor pools (50m and diving), designed for swimming lessons and club meets. It's great for all-weathers and there is a cool inflatable course at selected times. The interior is dated though, so it's not my preferred reason for going there with my five-year-old.
There is a shaded BBQ area with picnic tables back from the pool
There is also a Hit! Café indoors, which serves a decent range of take-away food, including ice-creams, burgers, wraps, chips, bacon & egg rolls, smoothies, juices and coffees. However, there are no café tables to sit and enjoy your food, or wait for your food to be cooked. This is a serious miss, not a hit, in my books.
The main outdoor pool is well shaded and suitable for babies to primary school-aged children
So, why exactly am I raving about this place? Step outside the doors, adjacent the café, and you'll find the recently renovated outdoor pool and water park complex. It has a terraced lawn and BBQ area with picnic tables, a well-kept toilet and shower block and modern gym equipment.
The area around the 25m pool is well-equipped for spectating
This area finally takes advantage of its green and spacious surroundings, in a quiet corner of the Warringah Shire. The fenced-in outdoor complex seems a natural continuation of the bushland, in which the centre is located. It's a good old Aussie BBQ and picnic ground, freshened up with landscaping, shaded areas and plenty of water for cooling off.
Take advantage of the shaded outdoor exercise equipment
The focal point of the newly renovated site is the 25m lap pool, which is solar heated and open all summer. This pool was always there but the seating facilities and shaded areas have improved, with plenty of bins for waste disposal. Where the shallow wading pool used to stand, there is now a splash pad and cave area for toddlers to run amuck. It's a mini version of the water parks you'll find at holiday parks nowadays, and a perfect size for the space available.
With this seemingly endless summer, we visited on a Saturday morning and the recreation area was already busy with families swimming in the 25m pool and toddlers running through the splash obstacle course and caves. I enjoyed a coffee and healthy chicken wrap, and my son and husband enjoyed some crispy hot chips, after their big swimming and play session.
The splash pad water park is super fun for toddlers
If you've not yet been back to Warringah Aquatic Centre since its makeover, take advantage of the outdoor area before it is closed for the winter. There is still plenty of heat, so why not visit during school hours with your bubs, or after school with older kids? It's well worth the trip, even for those out of area.