Best Public Pool - 2004
Webster Groves Aquatic Center
There are bigger and newer pools, pools with more attractions and bobbing gadgetry, pools with taller and faster waterslides. But of all the St. Louis area's watering holes, the Webster Groves Aquatic Center stands out for its luxurious, resort-like ambiance. The mean grilled-cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets at the concession stand don't hurt either. From the bright-purple shade structures (you can't stay in the water all day, pally) to the spiffy blue picnic tables to the dozens of neatly kept lounge chairs sprinkled invitingly around three large pools, this is one lavishly landscaped facility. Then there's those kid-loving hippos tethered to the bottom of the main competitive pool, and the freshly painted waterslide that whistles squealing children kerplunk into the shallow leisure pool, where a lazy river waits to swish them 'round the bend. A fun place for any age to cool off, the Webster pool also features a soothing spray park near the kiddie pool, where towering serpents spit water and palm trees dislodge chilling bucketfuls. Lifeguards are plentiful, and even on the busiest days the pool never seems crowded. The Webster pool is open daily, Memorial Day to Labor Day, from noon till 8 p.m. weekdays and holidays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekends. Residents pay $4, while nonresidents pay $5 or $7, depending on age. Season passes are available.