Andy Hinds | Parenting
How does one cool off on a hot summer day in San Diego? Perhaps the most obvious answer is to head for the western edge of the county. You know, the part with the ocean.
But maybe you have a couple of little kids who aren’t 100 percent crazy about kelp and crashing waves. And maybe you’re not 100 percent stoked about the prospect of finding a parking spot near the beach, schlepping 300 pounds of provisions and eventually spending hours cleaning sand out of said provisions, your minivan and your children.
What you need is a pool.
If you don’t feel like digging one in your own back yard, the best way to satisfy this need is to have friends with pools. I have a couple of these, but they selfishly insist on living in parts of town that take me upwards of twenty minutes to drive to.
Thankfully, there are at least two excellent cement ponds right here in the Uptown area that satisfy my family’s swimming needs when we don’t have time to go caravanning all over the county.
The first is the Bud Kearns Memorial Pool in Morley Field. Somehow, I lived three blocks from this pool for almost 10 years before so much as dipping a toe in its crystalline waters. That changed this summer, when I started taking my 3-year-old twins there to splash around.
Being able to walk to the pool reminds me of the carefree summer days of my childhood, when my family lived in a suburban subdivision with its own swimming pool. What makes Bud Kearns Pool so much better, of course, is that it’s not in a suburban subdivision.
I’ve read a couple not-so-favorable reviews on Yelp about Kearns, and they all disparage this local gem for being outdated and for not being a sparkling, state-of-the-art fitness facility. What these critics see as flaws, I see as charm. I’m especially enamored by the mosaic tiles that comprise the surfaces of the pool and hearken back to the 1940s, when it was sparkling and state-of-the art.
The only slight problem I’ve run into with the Bud Kearns Pool is that the hours for recreational swimming are limited, since they need to accommodate all the lessons and activities they hold. On the other hand, you might be into aqua aerobics and water polo. Visit their website to learn details about hours and fees: sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation/aquatics/budkearns.shtml
Recently, I decided to check out a different Uptown swimming venue that I had been hearing about, so I aimed the old minivan down El Cajon Boulevard to check out the Lafayette Hotel’s Weissmuller Pool.
I called ahead to confirm I could indeed just show up on their swanky doorstep with my kids in tow, and for a charge of zero dollars, enjoy their lovely pool and quite possibly disturb their grown-up guests. They assured me that this would be fine.
My kids and I arrived at the recently refurbished hotel and strolled to the pool area like we owned the place. The Lafayette opened its doors at the beginning of the year after a huge refurbishing project, and I was a proud, pretend owner as soon as I entered the lobby.
It’s perfect for North Park: funky, fun and chic, yet unassuming. The heated pool is gorgeous, and, at least on the Tuesday we went there, not crowded. There were a couple families, a handful of hipsters sipping cocktails and, naturally, a punk-a-billy pinup girl being photographed poolside.
If anyone was put off by my girls screaming and leaping into the pool with their possibly passé Hello Kitty kickboards and two-shades-too-pink one-pieces, they did not give any indication.
Check out the Lafayette’s website for details about when the pool is open to the public, as well as when they’re hosting fun events for grownups: lafayettehotelsd.com. I think I’m going to become a fixture there.
Are there any secret swimming holes in the Uptown area that I didn’t mention that you’re willing to divulge? Please clue me in on our Facebook page, or just stop by to join the conversation: facebook.com/SDUptownNews.
—Andy Hinds is a stay-at-home dad, blogger, freelance writer, carpenter and sometimes-adjunct writing professor. He is known on the internet as Beta Dad, but you might know him as that guy in North Park whose kids ride in a dog-drawn wagon. Read his personal blog at butterbeanandcobra.blogspot.com. Reach him at email@example.com or @betadad on Twitter.