Friday, April 15, 2011

Community Resources: Heated pools at the Romulus Athletic Center

It is usually hard to find places that can accommodate my sons for fun recreational activities, but today I discovered a great place for people of all sizes, shapes, and degrees of disability. A gang of kids from Ian's school, High Point School in Ann Arbor, took a field trip to the Romulus Athletic Center to swim and play in their water park.

Water temperature is always a concern for people with severe physical disabilities, even for Ian. He is relatively beefy compared to some of his classmates, but can't tolerate anything that is colder than a warm bath.

The Lazy River Pool, heated to about 88 degrees, has a gentle current that flows around a 240-foot loop and is the closest Ian has every been to river rafting or body surfing. It is also great exercise for people who can walk against the current. Inner tubes are available. Many of the High Point kids use flotation devices that keep their heads above water, but allow them to move freely underneath the surface.
The Splash Pool, heated to about 86 degrees, is a large wading pool with lots of surprises, including intermittent geysers, a 150-gallon tipping bucket, a water curtain, and numerous sprayers and water jets. The sound effects are enough for me, but even very young children seemed to be having a wonderful time.

A four-lane Lap Pool, heated to about 80 degrees, is available for real swimmers who can handle deep water (10 feet at one end).

The Hot Tub/Spa is the biggest hot tub I have ever seen. It is heated to 103 degrees and has numerous water jets and bubblers. Children must be at least 16 years old to use the Hot Tub.

Then there is the two-story, 120-foot long water slide (at 86 degrees). Fortunately, it was not open today. There were a number runners and darters in the High Point group who would need to be carefully supervised to even get near this contraption. I'm sure it is thrilling for the right group of people.

The water park has a chair lift that is always available with pool staff to get people in and out of the pool.  There were at least two lifeguards watching at all times that we were there. Most of the pools are accessible by either ramps or shallow steps.

The RAC is owned by the City of Romulus and is located near the Detroit Metro Airport - very easy to get to from I-94 on the Vining Road exit. Fees vary depending on age and residency. A one-time fee for non-residents is $10. The center also has basketball courts, exercise machines, a climbing wall, a cafe and snack bar, a day-care center, an indoor track for running and walking, and many classes and fitness programs.

Who knew?

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