So maybe the resort will have a view of I-70, not the ocean. And scuba divers won't see any fish. Experiencing mid-January in central Ohio is no vacation, but a trip to an indoor pool can provide a fun getaway.

So maybe the resort will have a view of I-70, not the ocean.

And scuba divers won’t see any fish.

Experiencing mid-January in central Ohio is no vacation, but a trip to an indoor pool can provide a fun getaway.

Numerous pools offer lap swimming and fitness classes ranging from standard water aerobics to activities that aren’t usually aquatic: yoga, Pilates and Zumba.

With their adventurous slides and water features, Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort and CoCo Key Water Resort are destinations that attract overnight hotel guests.

But residents of some central Ohio communities don’t have to leave the neighborhood to twist through a slide or float down a lazy river at a recreation center.

Here’s a look at central Ohio pools that are open to the public.



Columbus Aquatics Center

1160 Hunter Ave. (614-645-3129,

admission 50 cents Two quarters is all it takes to visit the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department’s only indoor pool — as long as you shell out a dollar for a city leisure pass for anyone 6 or older.

The Victorian Village center also offers a good deal on water aerobics: 50 cents to $1 a class.On some weekday mornings and evenings, lap swimmers looking for more structure can benefit from written workouts prepared for masters swimming sessions (think swim practice for adults).

Aquatics administrator John Gloyd said the practices attract all experience levels, from beginners looking to improve their strokes to triathletes training for competition.Dublin Community Recreation Center

5600 Post Rd. (614-410-4550,

admission $4, or $3 for ages 3 to 17; nonresidents: $8 and $4

It’s appropriate that the Irish-centric city of Dublin has a pool shaped like a shamrock.

(Although recreation administrator Joe Fabick acknowledges, “Unless you’re standing on the observation track, it’s kind of hard to see.”)

Nonetheless, the shamrock’s sections consist of a leisure area and two-story slide as the stem forms a lazy river.

The 110,000-square foot recreation center also offers an 11-lane competition pool and fitness programs including water aerobics, a class for people with arthritis and a “water walking” class in the lazy river.

Groveport Recreation Center

7370 Groveport Rd. (614-836-1000,

day pass $7, or $6 for age 12 and younger; nonresidents: $10 and $7 For a small city of about 5,400 residents, Groveport has a big recreation center: 67,000 square feet.

Residents of other southeast Columbus suburbs and Lancaster visit for the amenities, which include six lanes for lap swimming and a leisure pool area with a lazy river.

Aquatics manager James Berry said the pool is most popular with senior citizens and is especially kid-friendly on holidays: The pool hosts an underwater egg hunt at Easter and, for Christmas, welcomes Santa in his pool attire and a decorated lifeguard chair.

In addition to regular water aerobics, the center will host introductory kayaking classes on Feb.?10 and 24.

Westerville Community Center

350 N. Cleveland Ave. (614-901-6500,

day pass $5, or $7.50 for nonresidents; $2 for observers

Considering families, high-school swimmers and fitness-class participants, aquatics manager Bill Plessinger said, “We’re popular every day of the week.”

Places to play at “The Watering Hole,” part of Westerville’s 96,000-square-foot recreation center, include two slides, a lazy river, spray cannons and a water playground.

Nonresidents can pay a drop-in fee to participate in classes such as water aerobics or Aquaflex, which caters to participants with arthritis.

Worthington Community Center

345 E. Wilson Bridge Rd. (614-436-2743,

day pass $8, or $6 for senior citizens, $5 for children 3 to 17

A whirlpool-like “bubble bench” is part of the center’s leisure pool, as is an area of swirling water called “the vortex” — which aquatic director Dave Holstein describes as “a big toilet that never flushes.”

Families can also ride down a two-story water slide or float on a lazy river. Younger children can play in an area with fountains, buckets and other toys.

A four-lane lap pool is open for swimming and water aerobics, with some fitness classes taking place in other areas: In the “aqua fitness medley,” walkers sometimes head to the lazy river, while participants in a water-yoga class practice poses and stretches in the shallow leisure pool.


Aquatic Adventures

3940 Lyman Dr., Hilliard (614-545-3700,

day pass $10, or $5 for age 14 and younger

Interested in scuba diving but not quite ready for a big plunge? The facility offers a “Discover Scuba” class, an introduction to its multi-day dive-certification courses.

Participants start in the classroom before spending 45 minutes in the water, learning about equipment and improving skills while getting comfortable with the sometimes-intimidating concept of scuba diving.

“The biggest apprehension you’ll find is claustrophobia: dealing with having a mask on, having all this gear on,” said Landen Stiverson, assistant manager of scuba. “We’ll slowly introduce little things at a time.”

Although the dive-tank side of Aquatic Adventures offers scuba and snorkeling courses, the facility also caters to swimmers with its six-lane lap pool.

CoCo Key Water Resort

2299 Cherry Valley Rd., Newark (740-788-1330,

day pass $15 from 4 to 9 p.m. Fridays, or $18 on weekends, holidays and school breaks

With slides, a lazy river and other water-play areas, the resort draws day visitors and overnight guests from the adjacent Cherry Valley Lodge.

The park includes body slides Shark Slam and Gator Gush, inner-tube slide Barracuda Blast and an interactive play area with water cannons and buckets.

Currently open Friday through Sunday, Coco Key extends its hours in March and opens the outdoor portion of its hot tub.

Fort Rapids Indoor Waterpark Resort

4560 Hilton Corporate Dr. (614-868-1380,

day pass $23.95 weekdays, $29.95 weekends, $21.95 after 4 p.m., $9.95 for spectators

The East Side resort boasts 12 water rides, the most in central Ohio, and a tower featuring four slides with intense names.

Tube slides Ambush Alley and Raging Bull travel outside the building before winding back in, while Shoot Out Racer offers the chance to race head-first to the finish line.

The largest and most popular slide, Director of Sales Annette Linn said, is Black Out Pass.

Other amenities at Fort Rapids, open Friday through Sunday until March, include a 40-foot water tower, a lazy river, a water playground for young children and an activity pool with raft floats and cargo nets.


Two locations (614-224-1142,

day passes Downtown: $10; Delaware: $10, or $8 for age 17 and younger or 62 and older; non-Delaware residents: $12 and $10

With 12 facilities, each including an indoor pool, a YMCA-affiliated place to swim is near most central Ohio residents.Day passes, however, are available only at the Downtown and Delaware locations. Delaware has a lap pool and a recreation pool with a slide and water playground.

But nonmembers can take classes, which include some unconventional water workouts: The Jerry L. Garver YMCA in Canal Winchester, for one, offers water Zumba and water kickboxing — exercises that are low-impact but challenging, given the water resistance.

“People think water aerobics and think old people swimming around in a pool; it’s not that at all,” instructor Candy Johns said. “Even the young people will be like, ‘Wow; this is way more intense than I thought it was going to be.’?”