Best Public Pool

Wayne C. Kennedy Recreation Complex

We suspect that the "complex" part of "swimming complex" refers to the number-crunching involved in calculating admission. Some pools charge one amount based on whether you live in the area, another price if you work in the area and if you just want to take a dip but live and work out of bounds, you might as well fork over your whole wallet. But the Wayne C. Kennedy Complex in south St. Louis County's Suson Park bases admission on just one factor: age. Swimmers 5 to 12 years old and 65-plus are $3. Everyone else pays just a dollar more. (Water babies four years old and younger are free with a paid adult.) The Rec — as it's commonly known — is, admittedly, utilitarian. It has just one Olympic-size swimming pool (without slides or diving boards) and one kiddie pool, and the music consists of the humble radio piped through crackly speakers. But who cares? The bathrooms are reliably clean, the concessions are cheap and it's all surrounded by nearly 300 beautiful acres complete with a golf course and tennis courts and a new playground set.

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