Seattle Parks and Recreation aquatics programs

Stay warm and fit this winter at one of our indoor pools!

Doggy paddle, breaststroke, butterfly, backstroke. We think it’s important to master one or two of these when you live in a city nearly surrounded by water. Our swimming pools offer swimming lessons, public swims and special events year-round, and best of all, they’re indoors.

Special events this winter include:

  • Southwest Pool’s Super Bowl Sunday $2 Family Swim, 2-3 p.m. on Feb. 7, 2016
    Not a football fan? Bring your family to get some exercise or relax in the spa and sauna!
  • Madison Pool’s Winter Potluck, 1 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2016
  • Madison Pool movie nights, 6-8 p.m., third Friday of the month

For weekly regular programming, see our Aquatics brochure.

Individuals that qualify for Seattle Parks and Recreation program scholarships or reduced fees can also receive discounts at drop-in public swims, family swims, lap swims, pool playlands and selected aquatic fitness programs.

Eligibility will be based on family size and income level in accordance with Seattle Parks’ established application and approval process. For qualifying individuals, drop-in discount pricing will be $2 for recreational swims such as family swim, public swim or lap swim and $3 for fitness swims such as Water Exercise, Masters or Swimstrong.

To apply for a scholarship, fill out the scholarship form and bring a copy of your most recent 1040 Income Tax Form to your neighborhood pool. All pools are participating.

For information about pool schedules, pricing and location, please visit our pool website.

Winter walks in Seattle parks

Carkeek Park

Winters in Seattle are wet and damp but they help keep our parks lush and green. Don’t let a little rain keep you from seeing the wonder of winter flora this season. We have dozens of trails that are waiting to be explored.

Carkeek Park
Carkeek Park offers extraordinary views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. Explore the hidden gems of this Northwest Watershed just nine miles from downtown Seattle. The park encompasses 220 acres of lush forest, meadows, wetlands, creeks and beach and has more than a dozen trails running through it. Hike along Piper’s Creek or be awed by the Puget Sound. The Carkeek Park demonstration garden is alive with winter color this time of year. Kalmiopsis leachiana provides tiny pink buds and Mahonia repens shows its deepest purple, red and maroon. In total, the park offers just over six miles of trail. The Salmon to Sound trail, the Piper’s Creek trail from the lower meadow to Piper’s Orchard and the Wetland Trail are all ADA accessible.

Kubota Garden

Kubota Garden
Hidden in South Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning 20-acre landscape that blends Japanese concepts with native Northwest plants. The City acquired the property, which is a historic landmark, in 1987 from the estate of master landscaper Fujitaro Kubota. Unlike the Seattle Japanese Garden which closes for the winter months, the Kubota Garden is open year-round and there is no admission charge. The gardens are a spectacular setting of hills and valleys, interlaced with streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges and rock outcroppings. Last spring, the Kubota Garden Foundation celebrated the grand opening of a new terrace overlook.

Take a self-guided tour of the garden using a map provided by the Kubota Garden Foundation, or take a public, guided tour for free the fourth Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. A Foundation docent will be the guide. Tours leave from the garden’s parking lot.

Discovery Park

Discovery Park
Dancin’ in the moonlight! Everybody’s feeling warm and bright…and exploring Discovery Park! From 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, take a guided hike and experience Discovery Park from the perspective of a nocturnal animal. The views in the park are always beautiful, but there’s nothing quite like seeing it bathed in starlight. The Full Moon Trek event costs $5 per person and is designed for ages 8 and older. Find registration information here.

Discovery Park is a 534-acre natural area park. It is the largest city park in Seattle, and occupies most of the former Fort Lawton site. The site is one of breathtaking majesty. Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, Discovery Park offers spectacular view of both the Cascade and the Olympic Mountain ranges. The secluded site includes two miles of protected tidal beaches as well as open meadow lands, dramatic sea cliffs, forest groves, active sand dunes, thickets and streams.

If you’d like to discover the park on your own, take a look at the trail map here.

Washington Park Arboretum

Washington Park Arboretum
The Washington Pak Arboretum is a 200-acre park on the shore of Lake Washington in the Madison Park neighborhood of Seattle with more than 40,000 trees, shrubs and vines from all over the world. Start your visit at the Graham Visitors Center where you can talk to a botanist, pick up a park map and lists of trees and plants.

Just a short walk from the visitors center is the Jospeh A. Witt Winter Garden that features a central lawn encircled by tall cedars and firs and a wide assortment of smaller trees and perennials. While the rest of the garden is more subdued, the winter garden is coming alive. For a winter garden map and plant list, go here. For a general arboretum map, go here.

Belltown Community Center offers unconventional ways to get fit

Participants learn to connect with their tango partners during a H.U.M.P fitness event at Belltown Community Center.


As much as we’d like to deny it, the truth is that fall is just around the corner. When temperatures begin to drop and rain stakes its claim on the city once again, many people seek ways to bring their workouts indoors.

Participants in Belltown Community Center’s Introduction to Tango H.U.M.P fitness event.

Belltown Community Center introduced an indoor fitness series this year that features unique classes for people who find the treadmill monotonous. The series is called H.U.M.P, which stands for Healthy Urban Movement Parties. The H.U.M.P events appropriately take place on the second hump day of every month, Wednesday. Each month the event has a different theme. So far, events have featured Zumba, burlesque, hula hooping and more.

“The point is to change things up and give people fitness options during the winter months,” Belltown Community Center Recreation Attendant Masha Shtern said. “If we find a class gets really popular, we may introduce a new series entirely around that theme.”

First Hill resident Amy Saba has attended many of the H.U.M.P events. Saba used to be an avid runner and got her exercise training for half marathons. Recently she injured her leg and was advised to look for lower-impact fitness options.

“I was lost,” Saba said. “Running was my meditation. I started looking for other activities that could get me out of my head and tried a H.U.M.P event. I really liked the first one I tried, and it made me want to try other unconventional fitness activities.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the H.U.M.P theme was tango. Instructor Gabriela Condrea has been teaching tango for four years and said she was excited to be part of the series.

“Tango isn’t high impact, so it’s an option for a wide variety of people,” she said. “Essentially, tango is just a fun way to walk, which unfortunately most of us don’t do enough of. Many of us sit at computers all day in our silos, and we need an opportunity to get out and move with other people.”

Condrea teaches people to develop connections with their partners rather than to focus on getting the steps just right.

“You can think of practicing tango like going to a group fitness class,” Condrea said. “When you’re practicing with other people, you feel like you’re part of a society and it motivates you to continue.”

The next H.U.M.P event will be held at Belltown Community Center on Wednesday, Oct. 8. No advance registration is necessary and the cost is $5. For information on the next event, please visit the community center’s Facebook page at