Local pool attendance soars with the temperature
Gavin Udvance, 2, of Mundelein plays in the baby pool at Barefoot Bay Aquatic Center in Mundelein as temperatures soared on Thursday, June 28, 2012. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:14AM
Pool season pass holders Stacey and Alfredo Romero of Mundelein have taking their eight-year-old son Michael to the Mundelein Park District’s Family Aquatic Center a bit more often this summer.
“Absolutely, because of the weather,” said Stacey Romero. “It’s nice to be here more often and a little bit longer.”
“June felt like August so we were here earlier this summer,” she said. “You can’t really enjoy being outside when it’s this hot anywhere else but in a water park.”
Attendance at local pools, water parks and beaches are up, attributed in large part to the above normal temperatures and dry weather during the month of June.
Scott Anthony, aquatics supervisor at the Mundelein Aquatic Center, said attendance for the month of June was up about 9,000 over the same month last year. Overall, June pool attendance was about 25,000, compared to about 16,000 last June. He said pool revenue is also up but he did not have final revenue numbers yet for June.
“Obviously, we’re enjoying the heat,” he said. “It’s great to see people coming out to the pool and enjoying themselves.”
Pool attendance in Mundelein soared during the most recent heat wave, where temperatures soared into the mid’ 90s up to 100 degrees. Anthony said daily attendance at the pool during two days last week reached about 1,500 people. During peak periods of those days, he estimates there were more than 1,000 people at the pool one time. The pool has capacity for 1,500.
The Vernon Hills Park District’s Family Aquatic Center has also noticed a large spike in usage this summer.
Last June, the Vernon Hills aquatic center was closed many days because of unseasonably cool and wet weather, according to Jay Bullman, aquatic supervisor for the Vernon Hills Park District.
“We’ve been in the upper 80s or 90s all but a few days this year,” he said. “It was completely opposite from last June.”
Bullman estimates daily admission at the pool for the summer so far has been about double what it was last year.
Revenues are also way up. Through the end of June, pool revenues for the summer were between $54,000 and $55,000, compared to about $24,000 during the same period last year. While pool attendance was somewhat below normal last June, it has been well above average so far this summer, Bullman said.
The swimming beach at Independence Grove Forest Preserve near Libertyville has seen an increase of more than 100 percent in beach attendance compared to last year, according to Dan Stearns, general manager at Independence Grove.
Stearns said the warmer than normal June temperatures were certainly a factor as well as the lack of rainfall.
“This year, we’ve had very infrequent closures due to rain or severe weather,” he said.
While the warm weather has resulted in a spike in attendance at pools and beaches so far, extended periods of extreme hot weather could cause some pool goers to stay home.
“Sometimes a lot of hot days in a row doesn’t help us,” said Anthony. “Everybody has a breaking point where too much heat is enough and people want to stay inside in the air conditioning.”