Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center

The new Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center

Update: Buffaloe Aquatic Center is closed for maintenance until Aug-27, 2013.

Eagerly awaited, but it still took us a couple of weeks to get to check out the new indoor pool, also known as “Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center”. (Side note for map geeks: If you look at the location on Google Maps, the top-down view still shows forest, whereas the 45-degree view shows the center under construction; toggle back and forth to see how the location changes.)

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center with water slide, river, vortex, toddler area, volleyball and basketball

I am impressed by how much was packed in a relatively small space; I would say the building envelope is about a third of the size of Pullen Aquatic Center. However, it does not feel cramped, even though you can find a wading pool with implements, toddler slide, water volleyball, water basketball, a river, a “vortex”, and towering over everything, a three-story water slide for “anyone between 48 in. and 300 lbs”. There are only 3 lap swim lanes, and they are not Olympic length. (However, an Olympic size pool is planned for phase 2, in an adjacent building.) The building features a nice, open design, and is equipped with the latest sustainable features. Solar heaters, green roof, etc.

Spacious family changing rooms

The changing rooms are of course also brand spanking new, and I was particularly pleased to find two family changing rooms. (In other pools, no children above 5 are allowed in the changing room of the opposite sex, and I will one day be slightly nervous about sending my 5-year-old daughter alone to the changing room.) So the family room is much appreciated, and is very convenient. (Not perfectly labeled, though: Just enter the door that says “Pool” next to the regular changing rooms.)

Not open when we went, but available in a month or so were a concession stand and a birthday celebration “room”; it can be reserved ahead of time.

We (2-year-old and daddy) both liked the pool, and for this age-group, it is well worth the 15-minute drive from downtown instead of going to Pullen with its “big-boy-pool”.

Toddler area with gradual entry, toddler slide, water curtain, tumble buckets

Hours: (check website)
Monday: Closed
Tue-Sat: 10am-7pm
Sun: 1pm-5pm

Admission: (check website)
Slightly more than other pools; $3 for kids, $7 for adults, and double that if you’re not a Raleigh resident. (It did cost $8 million to build.)

Directions:
“Up Capital and right on Buffaloe”. Or look up 5908 Buffaloe Road, Raleigh NC 27616.

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Benson Mule Days (9/22/2012)

Not just Raleigh has its fall festivals. I suggest that after Hopscotch and SPARKcon, you head out for a somewhat different program at the Benson Mule Days. First, where is Benson? Have you ever noticed that going to and coming from the beach on I-40, the signs say you’re going to “Benson”, but then you actually never go through Benson? Well, for future reference, “Benson” is code for “the intersection of I-40 and I-95”. And Benson is also the location of the annual (63rd this year) Benson Mule Days.

A long weekend filled with small town fun, rides, parades, a rodeo and many four-legged animals, mules and others. Here is the website and their program.

The photo is Mule Riding Couple by Mangrove Mike, used under the CC BY license

Iceplex Raleigh: So cool (2012)

What would be a better place to escape summer than an Olympic sized sheet of ice? Prepared, clean, smooth ice. Judging from yelp reviews, Iceplex seems to have quality ice, definitely one of the key factors for an ice skating rink. Iceplex is also where kids and adult hockey leagues meet and where you can send your youngens to become world-class figure skaters.

This Saturday, Iceplex opens the doors for everybody who would like to find out more – or just cool off. The Open House is from 1:00 – 4:15; it is $2 to get in. (I always thought that “Open House” means no admission, but I guess that is not the case.)

The Open House will include a hockey and a figure skating exhibition; sign-up for the fall season is just around the corner and classes (ages 3 and up) start after Labor Day.

IcePlex is just outside the beltline. From downtown, take Capital Blvd. and (soon after crossing 440) turn right onto Brentwood and go about a quarter mile.

www.iceplex.com

Image credit: the family that skates together…  by angela7dream, used under the CC BY-NC license