The Silliman Activity and Family Aquatic Center is one large building including the Silliman Family Aquatic Center and a more basic gym called the Silliman Activity Center. I'm reporting on my family of five's adventure to the aquatic center. Wow.
No matter the weather, it is 72 degrees in Newark’s 32,000 square foot Indoor Silliman Water Park. With a combination of large slides, a lazy river, basketball hoops, open lap pool and a children’s activity pool with spraying play structure kids of all ages will have a blast and parents can relax poolside or join in the fun. Obviously, don't walk away from your toddler, but my grade schoolers were quite content to roam freely.
We drove about 30 minutes south of Oakland to arrive at the aquatic center in Newark. Public recreation swim was open at 12:30 so we got in line about 15 minutes before then. Though we still waited about 30 minutes in line, we got into the facility with the first crush. It was about as crowded as one would be able to tolerate so, in that sense, I'm glad they limit capacity.
The downside is that if you arrived on the wrong end of the capacity threshold, waiting times can be 90 minutes or more. Imagining one and a half hours of starting through the smudged glass window in what passes for a cafe with my eager child wondering when our number would be called sounds like a fifth level of hell to me. So plan accordingly!
But once you get in.. public pool nirvana!
The fun facilities at Silliman Aquatic Center include:
- One main play pool — about 3 feet deep — with a basketball hoop on one end and a rope separating it from the main children's play area.
- Zero entry small children's activity area. Little kids play on a cool slide structure with many water sprayers, shooters, fountains (some of which can be controlled by hand-cranks and steering wheels and some that surprise you); expect to get soaked.
- Two tall water slides. In my expert opinion, the blue slide is fun and the purple tube slide is more thrilling and wedgie-inducing but short. You must be 48 inches to ride the big slides.
- A lazy river enclosing the water slides with its own water dumping and spray features. At the time of my visit there were only 14 floating inner tubes for hundreds of people. Tubes are free, you just have to wait your turn. You can also swim, float, and bonk your brother around the river without a flotation device.
- One lap pool for boring grown-ups, probably.
Our children, ages 3, 8, and 10 had a fantastic time. In fact, the three-year old has asked repeatedly since our visit if I could just drop him off and he promises to stay in the “safe” pool and stick to his age-appropriate slide.
More Silliman details adults will want to know:
- The locker room was adequate.
- Remember your own towel.
- Life vests are available.
- Bring a locker lock or rent one for about $2.50.
- All kinds of food and snacks appeared to be allowed poolside (Ick).
- Ample free parking in the surrounding parking lot.
Plan your visit:
What you want is the “Recreation Swim” (access to play structure, splashing pool, lazy river, and big slides) or “Mini Recreation Swim” (no lazy river or big water slides but plenty to do for littler ones). Check the hours and then double-check them here.
Rates for single day drop-in:
Infants/Toddlers (0-2 yrs.) $3 and includes a swim diaper
General Admission (3-54 yrs.) $9
Discounts available for Newark residents and season pass holders.
Address: 6800 Mowry Ave, Newark, CA 94560
Phone: (510) 578-4620
[Photo credit: Heather Flett for the first one; the last one by Yelper Nancy D.]