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The Pools of the Treasure Valley YMCAs

Updated: Jan 29

Written by Tracy Bryan, Boise mom


turquoise and white YMCA logo

In December my family of four purchased a membership to the YMCA. I have twin boys and we like to keep very busy in our house and wanted to be able to take them somewhere that has a lot of activity options. In planning activities for winter break we decided it would be fun to try every Y pool in the Treasure Valley and see which one was our favorite! - Spoiler alert… they all had something different and special that we loved.


Mom with twin boys and colorful hot air balloons behind them.

Although every member has their “Home YMCA” you are allowed to visit any YMCA location as many times as you like for no additional cost. My family loves how consistent the policies are across all facilities, and you feel at home no matter which location you visit. Every pool has a “lifeguard station” - an area where anyone under 18 checks in for a swim test. Depending on the skill of the swimmer each participant will receive a color coded rubber neckband that indicates their swim level and what sections of each pool they are permitted to swim. 



All 4 locations have a kid area, hot tub, a water slide, and a lap pool. 

Meridian South Tomlinson YMCA - This is our home Y and we were most familiar with their aquatic facilities. This facility is just a few years old and has a great and updated set up! Our favorite features are the challenging rock climbing wall over the water, the lazy river, and the large water slide that times how fast you go down. 



Our second Y visit was the Boise West YMCA. This was such a fun visit for us and really kicked off our “research project”. All the YMCA staff are always friendly and helpful but the crew at this location went above and beyond. When we arrived, the manager stopped what he was doing to show us around, and the lifeguards were so friendly and encouraging. (They let us know that “The West Y is the best Y!” This visit was special because it is where my son advanced from a yellow neckband to a green! This meant he could go join his brother at the high dive. This is the only location in the Valley that has a high dive and my kids spent over an hour jumping off and swimming around. I loved watching their confidence and skill level go up with every jump. 


Our next YMCA visit was to the Caldwell YMCA. We have heard about their massive lazy river for years and it did not disappoint. We had so much fun playing tag, floating, and getting “trapped” in the whirly vortex of the lazy river. This location also has a basketball hoop in their pool which we all enjoyed doing. This visit was a long drive for us but was completely worth it. After our visit my kids raided the vending machines. Next time we will pack snacks for the drive home!



Our last stop on this project was the Downtown Boise YMCA. There is something special about going swimming in the middle of downtown. Because the facility was built in 1968 you go through a maze of doors to find the pool which my boys thought was so fun. We went on a day when most pool features were closed and will try back when the slide and hot tub are open. 


This was such a great way to get us out of the house during our two week Winter Break and is something we will repeat this Spring. I loved seeing how much my kids improved and grew their swimming abilities. The culture of the Y is great and I am so glad we are part of it. 


You can try out one of the YMCA pools and facilities by purchasing a day pass. You can also check the capacity and hours for each pool online here. All of the aquatic centers' guidelines can be found here.


Some overall tips:

- Ask the head lifeguard if they will open a certain section or feature. All locations have several fun features that don’t always have the staffing to open at the same time. We have had great luck asking the head lifeguard if they will open something up. 

- The YMCA website lists what the pool counts are and what features are open.

- If you are unsure if a feature you want is open, just call the front desk. The day we drove out to Caldwell the lazy river was supposed to be closed for the day. While I was on the phone with the front desk they determined they had the staffing to open it up. 

- When I swim with my kids I like to bring my own lock so I can secure our things in one of the lockers.

- We love to bring our own goggles and I've seen other families bring diving toys but nothing too big like inflatables or anything.

- Don't forget towels!

- All locations close their pools 30 minutes before the rest of the facility.


Brown haired woman with mountains, field and clouds in the background.
Tracy Bryan is a Boise mom with twin boys. She works in the nonprofit sector and is passionate about making an impact. In her spare time she enjoys going on adventures with her family, hiking all over the Treasure Valley, and working on projects at home.




1 Comment


Can't wait to take my grandkids on this Y adventure!❤️💦

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