We recently visited the Terwillegar Rec Centre in Edmonton, one of the most recently built recreation facilities in the area. I thought I would share a little about the aquatic part of the facility and what we thought of it.
The complex is really easy to get to off of 23Ave NW close to Terwillegar Drive. There are a couple of different parking areas but we chose to park near entrance 2 (by the ice rinks). We were visiting at 1:30pm on a Thursday afternoon so it was quiet and there were not many vehicles but we still had to park quite a distance away. There were 15 accessible parking spots near the front that were all empty pushing the regular parking area further back. I understand the need for accessible parking but I thought the number was a little excessive.
When we got into the building there was good signage and it was fairly easily find the front desk to pay.
These types of large recreation centres are set up so that you pay a day rate and you can use all parts of the facility for the entire day. There is no option to pay less to use just one part of the complex. At the Terwillegar Rec Centre in addition to the aquatic facility that we were planning to use, there is a fitness centre and track, a child’s wing with an indoor playground and child minding, 3 full sized gymnasiums and 4 NHL sized hockey rinks. At a price of $30 for a family day pass the Terwillegar Rec Centre is one of the more expensive rec centres in the area. I will note that the family day pass is not limited to a certain number of children, which I know larger families will appreciate. As a comparison the Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove is $20 for a family of 5.
The boot racks are located in the hallway to the change rooms. They were congested and it was inconvenient to keep kids out of the way of the people passing through.
Family Change Rooms OK
The facility has a family change room which is appreciated if you are going as a whole family and want to tag team getting the kids ready. The family change area is set up so that it is basically open to the public, you can see right through from one end to the other. This is not really a big deal since you don’t normally change in the open areas of a family change room, instead you use individual stalls, but I found it a little weird.
The individual family changing rooms with a door were a bit small for a family of 5. They contained a shower and a change bench and did not contain a toilet, which was a pain since everyone in our group had to go pee and would get naked and then have to run out through the semi-public area to the one toilet that was in the family area. Call me spoiled but I’ve really gotten to like the family change rooms in some of the other area facilities that have a toilet, shower and bench in each room, they make getting changed as a young family quick and easy. Some kids can be using the toilet while others are getting undressed and others getting their suits on.
The showers were cold, which being a pool goer I know it could have been just at that moment but it makes it hard to convince kids to wash off their messy faces before getting in the pool when the water is ice cold. Walking out into the pool area cold air fans were on causing us to get even more of a chill before we hit the water.
Wave Pool With a Lazy River
Our first stop was the large wave pool straight ahead. The pool had stairs going down to it or a large ramp going off to the side. The pool has a gradual decline making it nice for young children such as Wavy (2) to pick a depth that they are comfortable with to play in. There were various spraying apparatuses in this pool which Wavy was not interested in but other kids were enjoying. They were having trouble with the wave machine during our visit and so the waves only came on two times but we were happy to use this pool as a regular old swimming pool.
Connected to the wave pool is a lazy river that has jets to push you around. The girls all loved to cycle this area around and around, swimming and being pushed by the jets, they even had baby floaters available so you could put your little ones in and they could float with you through the lazy river.
Next we sessioned the slide, taking each of the older girls (4 and 5) up one at a time. The girls were each able to go down the slide by themselves with no problems. There was a light at the top to control the timing of sliders. Curt and I both found the turns on the slide to be a little tight, they made me dizzy and Curt thought it was quite bumpy at the joins but the girls thoroughly enjoyed it and probably would have cycled it all day.
Not-so “Tot” Pool
Next we went to the warm tot pool where at the shallowest point it was over Wavy’s (2) shoulders and at the deepest place over her head. Our older two girls (4 and 5) could touch everywhere. There was a small bench at the deeper end where we could sit and Wavy was able to stand. Nollie and Luca really enjoyed swimming around in this pool and being warmer than the other pools it was enjoyable to just sit in and let them play without having to worry that they would go somewhere too deep. I find it funny that they call it a tot pool when the pool was much to deep for a “tot” to stand or sit and play. I wish it had a shallower area for babies to sit and splash around.
Getting back to they wave pool or any of the the other pools was really inconvenient from the warm pool. With wheelchair ramps going out of the tot pool and into the the wave pool you had to walk all the way around the tot pool to get to anything else. With a slow walking toddler and the cold air still blowing, by the time you got to your next destination you were freezing cold.
Amazing Diving/Lane Swimming/Teaching Pool
The other end of the facility consisted of a large lane swimming / diving pool. I thought this pool was really neat. During our visit this pool was set up as a diving pool with 1 and 3 meter diving boards and a 5 meter platform. The girls were able to go on the lower diving boards with a life jacket. Connected to this and separated by a moving platform divider were 8 - 25meter lanes open for lane swimming. This pool is a variable length pool and the divider could be moved to take over the diving area and set the lanes to 50meter lengths, great for swim meets. At the other end of the lane pool but still connected by a platform/divider was a variable depth pool. This section of the pool could be set to different depths depending on who was using it. What an amazing tool for teaching swimming lessons, just set it for the ability level you are working with.
Hot Tub, Steam Room and Equipment
The hot tub was hot and deep and oh so great but being pregnant I can’t tolerate too much of it so we just had a quick visit there. There was also a steam room, but we didn’t check it out.
All throughout the aquatic facility equipment was available to use at no extra cost. Lifejackets, flutter boards, noodles, kiddy toys, flippers for lane swimming, etc. were all on display for you to take as you needed. Coming from a local pool where you have to pay for lifejacket use and where pool noodles are reserved for classes only and not for public swimming I appreciated this.
Excellent Emergency Preparedness
As a side note, not something you will likely have to deal with when you visit the Terwillegar Recreation Centre, but its good to know their emergency preparedness is great. As we were getting changed back into our clothes the fire alarm went off. We quickly threw just enough clothing on everyone and went out. We all gathered within aquatic facility near an emergency exit to await further instructions. Although we saw the fire trucks arrive and go to check things out we got the OK to continue what we were doing shortly after. I thought the lifeguards and staff did a great job of getting everyone out of the pools and change rooms and staying calm during the situation.
Photos and Scheduling
I didn’t bring my camera or take any pictures at the facility however the Edmonton Journal has a gallery of photos from the opening of the rec centre that you can view here.
For further information and scheduling you can check out the Terwillegar Recreation Centre on the City of Edmonton Website.