Best Public Pool

The Aquatic Center at The Lodge

If "I'll be at the lodge" is a phrase you associate with the country-club set, dip your big toe into the impeccably kept pool at the Aquatic Center at The Lodge in Des Peres and feel your net worth swell, if only in your head. Even the staffers look as though they work at a resort: The concession-stand workers wear matching uniforms, as do the people working the front desk and the lifeguards. It's the little courtesies that make the difference here. As you hand over admission ($8 for adults, $7 for kids and seniors; Des Peres residents pay less and memberships are available), the water temperature is on display. Huge, taut umbrellas cast their shade over no less than a dozen comfortable loungers at a time. The concession stand offers standard pool fare, but also salad, carrots, grapes and grapefruit. The outdoor pool features a lazy river and two water slides — one curls as tightly as an intestine, one's straight as an arrow. If the weather happens to turn sour, head to the park's indoor pool. Besides the rollicking wave pool, there's an indoor/outdoor slide, lap pool and steam room. The Lodge's outdoor pool is open from the Saturday before Memorial Day through Labor Day; the indoor pool's open year-round, but check the center's website to find out when the wave pool is on and its hours for lap swimming.

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