Supplement Feature - February 2020
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A Deep Dive Into Aquatic Facility Trends

By Emily Tipping


Outdoor swimming pools were most commonly found among respondents from camp facilities, where 90.3% said they had at least one outdoor pool. They were followed by parks respondents, 80.9% of whom had at least one outdoor pool, and rec centers, at 70%.

Indoor pools were most common for respondents from schools (93.9% had at least one indoor pool), colleges and universities (90%), and Ys (89.4%).

Splash play areas were most commonly found among park facilities, where 65.2% of respondents said they had at least one splash play area. They were followed by rec centers, 55.2% of which had at least one splash play area.

Hot tubs, spas and whirlpools were most prevalent among Ys, where nearly three-quarters (73.3%) said they had at least one hot tub. They were followed by rec centers (51.7%) and colleges (32%).

Aquatic parks were most commonly found among the facilities of respondents from rec centers (46.2% said they had an aquatic park) and parks (42.1%).

Finally, waterparks were most prevalent among the facilities of rec center respondents (34.6% of whom said they had a waterpark) and park respondents (18.4%).

When it comes to season of operation, a majority of respondents (58.6%) said their aquatic facilities are open year-round. Some 41.4% said their operations are seasonal. (See Figure 5.)

Respondents from colleges and Ys were the most likely to indicate that their aquatic facilities are open year-round. Some 94.4% of college respondents and 88.4% of Y respondents said they had year-round operations. They were followed by schools (85.3%) and rec centers (78.8%). Respondents from parks and camps were less likely to report that their aquatic facilities were open year-round, with just 42.5% of parks and 10% of camps indicating they had year-round aquatics. (See Figure 6.)

Obviously, indoor pools are more likely to be open year-round than outdoor pools. Among respondents who had only indoor facilities, 94.9% said their aquatic facility was open year-round. For those with outdoor-only facilities, 17.5% said they were open for business all year long.

Among respondents with seasonal operations, May was the most popular month for opening the aquatic season, and September the most likely month for closing operations for the year. Some 26.6% of all respondents said their season begins in May, while 9.9% said they open for the season in June. Some 22.6% of respondents said they close for the season in September, while 15.3% close the season in August.