Taking A Plunge

Nothing says summer like a plunge in a pool, so with sunny days here again, swimming will be a popular activity for many area residents. While some enjoy pools in their backyards, many happy memories are made at area swim parks where anyone can enjoy a plunge.

The following are nine public swimming facilities in the area.


Blue Knob State Park, Imler 

The swimming pool at Blue Knob State Park in Imler, Bedford County, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The rectangular pool goes from zero depth to a deep end. There are picnic tables and a pavilion for rent. 

As it is part of the Pennsylvania State Park system, there is no charge to swim. 


Crichton McCormick Park, Portage

The pool at Crichton McCormick Park in Portage is open Memorial Day to Labor Day usually from 12:30 to 6 p.m. Some evenings, it is open until 7 p.m. 

The pool is 5,175 square feet. 

The price of admission is $5 per day and $3 on Sunday. A season pass costs $70. 

There is a slide, a diving board, a 400-square-foot kiddie pool and Kids’ Place, which is a large play area for children. Various sizes of pavilions are available for rent.

“There also is a concession stand that serves snack-type foods like potato chips, pretzels, candy and soda,” Sharon Squillario, secretary treasurer of the Portage Area Joint Rec Commission, says. 


DelGrosso's Amusement Park and Laguna Splash Water Park, Tipton

The water park at DelGrosso’s Amusement Park and Laguna Splash Water Park in Tipton, Blair County, is the oldest Italian-themed water park in the country. 

Opened in 1997, the water park features several attractions. One is Wave Oceano, or Wave Pool, which is 14,604 square feet and features an underwater hand-painted mural wall designed by Hollidaysburg artist Michael Allison. 

The painting features various aquatic animals and Neptune, the Roman god of water. 

River Lazio, or Lazy River, is nearly a quarter-mile long and 16 feet wide – eight feet on Lazy River side and eight feet on Crazy River Side. 

“Crazy River incorporates a number of interactive water features, including tipping wine barrels and vases,” Amy Mearkle, director of marketing, says. “The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the centerpiece of the river. It’s 25 feet tall and sprays water. You can take rides on the Lazy River on a raft or another float device. There are also a total of five slides.”

There are two play areas for children that include a pool – Bambini Cove and the Laguna Waterworks area. In Bambini Cove, there is a gondola slide. The Laguna Waterworks area features a big Roman Splash Bucket that goes 30 feet up into the air. 

Not surprisingly, the park is known for its Italian food. 

“The DelGrosso family is the oldest pasta-sauce-making family in the United States,” Mearkle says. “On the water park side, we have our Pasta Fresca House in which you pick your pasta, your DelGrosso sauce and the vegetables.” Other eateries include Cheesesteaks Delizioso, Grill Americano and Pizza Famosa. 

There are pavilions for rent on the amusement park side. “We’ve added more cabanas that you can rent,” adds Mearkle. “It’s a 10-foot-by-12-foot cabana with two laisse lounge chairs, four standard chairs, a beverage table, a refrigerator, complementary water and Wi-Fi access.

The water park is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 29 through Sept. 6. 

“We’re a pay-one-price park for the amusement park and water park,” Mearkle says. The cost is $31.95 per day. “To save some money, purchase tickets online in advance or use coupons from DelGrosso’s sauce labels,” she advises.

“We’re really excited to reopen in 2021 and we ask our visitors to visit our website at www.mydelgrossopark.com to review our COVID-19 safety and wellness protocols before planing their visit,” Mearkle says.



Ebensburg Borough Pool

Ebensburg Borough Pool hosts a club for children who want to swim competitively. Recently started, it has been a smashing success. “We have about 40 kids,” Dirk Johnson, Ebensburg Borough recreation director, says. “They swim against other swim clubs in the area.” 

The pool itself is heated and contains 175,000 gallons of water. It has an open-end beach access with zero depth and gets deeper the farther guests go into it. 

“There are two rocket slides and a larger circular slide with curves,” Johnson says. “There’s a small slide in the shallow part for small children. There’s a basketball court and swings, too.”

A concession stand is available that serves snacks such as potato chips, candy bars, ice cream and drinks. A local pizza shop offers pizza for sale, as well.

The pool is open from noon to 6 p.m. daily. 

The daily prices for admission are $6 for ages 19 to 54 and $4 for ages 4 to 18 and 55 and over. Children 3 and under get in free. Season passes for Ebensburg residents are $120 for adults, $100 for individual children and seniors and $160 for two people. 

Season passes for non-residents of Ebensburg are $150 for adults, $130 for individual children and seniors and $185 for two people. An add-on person for both residents and non-residents costs $25. 

Swimming lessons are offered. 

Two pavilions are available to rent. The pool is available for private rentals in the evenings. 

Those groups can get into the pool for half price. The entire property can be rented after hours. 


Hastings Pool 

A Doggie Pool Party has been a hit at Hastings Pool and looks to be in the future, too. 

“It’s usually the last day the pool is open,” Melanie Zearfoss of the Hastings Borough Council says. “Everyone can bring their pets to the pool to swim. 

“It’s one of our favorite things to do.

“We charged an admission and asked everyone to bring a donation to the Cambria County Humane Society. (In 2019) we raised $325 and collected a lot of food and toys for the animals.”

Opened in 1955, the pool has a diving board and a kiddie slide in the shallow end. There also is a tube slide and two other slides. “We plan to have another slide up this summer,” Zearfoss says. “It’s really big with twists and turns.

“We will also have a new filter room by this summer.”

A concession stand with hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream is onsite. 

“Sometimes we have a disc jockey at the pool when we know it’s going to be nice out and there will be a lot of people there,” Zearfoss says.

Swimming lessons are available and Acua Zumba classes are offered on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings. 

There are pavilions for rent in the park area and one inside the pool area. Private parties for two hours during off hours include exclusive use of the pool and the pavilion and are $100. The pavilion can be rented for $125 for the day.

The pool is open from 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays and 1 to 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays. Daily admission rates are $3 every day except Friday, when the price is just $1. Ages 2 and under get in free. 


Idlewild and SoakZone, Ligonier

Idlewild Park in Ligonier, Westmoreland County, opened in 1878, starting primarily as a picnic grounds. After several expansions, in 1985 a water park was added.

The water park is made up of several features including Captain Kidd’s Adventure Gallery with six watersides and dozens of interactive spraying activities.

Float Away Bay is a new feature to the park and is described as a “river of relaxation.” Riders are invited to grab an inner tube and go with the flow. 

For a little more excitement, two twisting pipelines allow the adventurous to ride two-man rafts down a 50-foot drop. Water curtains greet riders as they near the end.

Hydro Racers gives four swimmers the chance to race head first.

A big splash awaits those who take on the twists and turns of Blue Serpentine.

The Wowabunga Family Wave Pool holds 280,000 gallons of water and features intermittent periods of calm water followed by a signal and then the waves begin, allowing guests to “ride the waves.”

For an extra splash, head to one of the parks tipping buckets.

There’s a Little Squirts pool and water fun area for the smallest adventurers.


Mack Park Swimming Pool, Indiana  

Mack Park Swimming Pool in Indiana kicks off May 28 with a teen-only neon night from 8 to 10 p.m. Neon nights also are planned for June 11 and 25, July 9 and 23 and Aug. 6.

The pool remains open through Sept. 6.

From June 6 to 30, Mack Pool operates a lunch program called Summer Youth Café for children 18 and under. 

“The kids get a free lunch every day,” says Eric Neal, the CEO of the YMCA of Indiana County, which runs the pool.

The pool, which is heated, has a beachfront entry that goes from zero depth to a deeper end. There is a larger water slide in the deep end and a smaller sliding board in the shallow end. 

“We also have a couple floatables and some fountains,” Neal says. A concession stand offers hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken, pizza and specialty sandwiches plus drinks. 

Hours of operation are from 11 a.m. to 

7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 6 p.m. weekends. The price of admission ranges from $4 to $8, depending on ages. Season passes are available. 

There is a pavilion available for rent. 



Nanty Glo Park and Pool

Opened in 1969, the pool at Nanty Glo Park and Pool is approximately 3,696 square feet and is from three to 10 feet in depth. The kiddie pool is 800 square feet and is 16-18 inches in depth. The main pool has a diving board and two slides. 

“Several pavilions of various sizes are available for rent, the largest of which can accommodate up to 120 guests. Groups can also rent the entire main pool,” says Shawn McMullen, president of the Nanty Glo Borough Municipal Authority. “There is a concession stand that serves, among other things, pizza from a local vendor and hot pretzels.”         

The pool is open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and from noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday. Daily prices of admission are $4 for swimmers and $2 for non-swimmers. An individual yearly pool pass is $75 and a family yearly pool pass is $175. Swimming lessons are available as well.



Windber Recreation Park

Windber Recreation Park features seven above-ground water features, including a dumping bucket, a big mushroom, a couple spray guns and some animal features that have water dispersing out of them. In addition, there are 18 jets that shoot water up out of the ground. The new attractions were opened last summer.

Open since the 1940s, the main pool contains 220,000 gallons of water and is more than 6,000 square feet. “It has a 148-foot snake slide that’s really popular and two 10-foot shotgun slides,” Matt Grohal, recreation director, says. “The pool goes from three feet in the shallow end to the deepest end of 11 feet.”

There also is a kiddie park.

The park’s hours are from noon to 8 p.m. daily. A full concession stand is available with hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, French fries and pizza from a local vendor. A pavilion is available for rent on weekends.

“We do some night swims with a disc jockey. Kids love to swim at night,” Grohal says. “We’ve done some movie nights with a big movie screen. We might do that again. 

“We have wing nights, too, on Thursdays in July with celebrity judges for the best-tasting wings.”

The price of admission is $7 for adults, $6 for youth and $2 for seniors. Kids 3 and under get in free. Individual season passes for adults are $155 or $135 if paid by May 12. Season passes for individuals 18 and under are $145 or $125 if paid by May 12. Season passes for families also are available. Members of the military and residents of Windber get discounts.


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