Adjacent to the popular Heather Farm Park and Playground in Walnut Creek is Clarke Memorial Swim Center, where the staff puts gigantic inflatables in the pool between 1 and 4:45 pm every day.
We visited the Heather Farm pool few times last summer and my kids entertained themselves by racing and having me time them going end-to-end on the obstacle courses. There isn't a height limit on use of the inflatables, but it does require strength, coordination, and courage. The scale of these things is massive. Even my 10-year old hesitated on his first journey across.
One of the obstacle courses is in a section of the lap pool (pictured above) and is more manageable for a younger child. The person stepping over the obstacle in the photo is an adult. A 5-year old might crawl under that. The more extreme course is in the “diving well”, aka the deep pool (pictured below). Both courses involve jumping into the water and swimming to the edge of the pool at the end.
The arrangement in this picture from the Walnut Creek Aquatic department shows them in the same pool, which is not what I observed while visiting.
This swim center also features a wading area for pre-swimmers and a diving board from which to jump into the deep water, no wristband required.
Kids must be competent swimmers to navigate and slide off the obstacle course. Lifeguards are happy to administer a swim test if you want them to.
Planning your visit
The price of admission is $5 for adults; $4.25 for kids 7-17; and $3.50 for kids under 7. Non-swimmers will pay entrance fees, too.
The inflatables are available from 1 pm to 4.45 pm.
Pay $2 extra to get a “Splash Pass” wristband which allows access to the two inflatables. A waiver must be signed at that time.
There is a grassy patch with shade to set up towels and chairs.
Don't miss my pictures of the playground, as you can visit both in one day, but bring your own lunch because this suburban park is not walking distance from anything: Heather Farm All-Ability Playground.
Clarke Memorial Swim Center is located at 1750 Heather Drive in Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek.