PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell today announced that the City’s outdoor pools will open on a rolling basis beginning Wednesday, June 30. Sixteen public pools are expected to open by this weekend, with an additional 31 pools scheduled to open on a rolling basis over the next few weeks. Pools will offer daily open swim and free swim lessons.

“Philadelphia public pools are a great way to cool down, have fun, and stay active this summer,” said Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell. “We’re pleased to be able to provide residents, and especially young people, with the chance to make some great summer memories as we continue to safely emerge from this pandemic.”

The City will open 47 outdoor pools this summer against the backdrop of a nationwide lifeguard shortage compounded by local hiring and  recruitment challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pools were selected to open based on geography, past pool usage data, and neighborhood need.

The 2021 pool schedule was developed based on equity and designed to maximize residents’ access to pools in every part of the city, with a focus on the largest or most heavily used pools in each neighborhood opening to accommodate the maximum number of visitors.

In addition, residents can stay cool and have fun this summer by visiting any of our 90+ spraygrounds, open seven days a week through Labor Day. Residents can search for all open pools and spraygrounds  near them using the Parks & Rec Finder App.

“Philadelphians love their neighborhood pools, and we are grateful to be able to open so many of these beloved summer institutions this summer,” said Commissioner Ott Lovell. “We have been relentless in our efforts to recruit as many lifeguards as possible to minimize the disruption to service in our first pool season since the pandemic shutdown of 2020. We are seeing pools, recreation facilities, and beaches across the country reduce hours or close locations due to the lack of certified lifeguards to work this summer following more than a year out of the water due to the global pandemic.”

“I want to thank our water safety instructors who have accomplished a Herculean task of training hundreds of lifeguards to work in City pools this summer. Thanks to these efforts, and our amazing team of Parks & Rec lifeguards, we are on track to open the majority of City pools in the next few weeks.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the 2021 lifeguard recruitment process looked very different for Parks & Rec:

  • The recruitment timeline: The department typically begins recruitment in November, and actively targets recertification classes to college students returning home for the winter break. This year, recruitment began in mid-March due to COVID-19 related restrictions
  • Pool access: Parks & Rec typically offers training and certification classes at School District of Philadelphia indoor pools year-round. This year, we were unable to get access to these pools. As a result, we installed pool heaters and deck warming stations at an outdoor pool, which we opened in March to make daily training available.
  • Capacity limits: Class sizes were limited due to COVID-19 protocols, and all applicants were required to pre-register for a training or screening time.
  • Skill building: Following a year or more out of the water due to the pandemic, candidates required extra training to regain swimming and rescue skills and build their stamina.

While seasonal employers across the country face reported labor shortages, Parks & Rec has employed a variety of new tactics to maximize interest in lifeguarding with the City. Efforts include:

  • Raised the starting pay to $15.25 / hour.
  • Covered the Red Cross certification fee to applications 16-24 years old.
  • Hosted virtual and in-person job fairs.
  • Attended virtual and in-person recruitment events.
  • Targeted social media advertising.
  • Engaged local schools and universities.
  • Door to door canvassing and a street team.
  • Partnership with iHeart Media/Power99.
  • Engaged partners such as the Black Clergy, recreation advisory councils, and grassroots community groups to support recruitment and outreach.
  • Engaged other City agencies and City Council offices in recruitment and outreach.

Since launching its recruitment effort on March 16, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation was able to recruit, train, and certify hundreds of lifeguards and pool staff to open 47 free public pools this summer, approximately 70% of the City’s outdoor pools. The process to train, certify, and hire a candidate takes at least 4-6 weeks. Training will continue over the summer months to ensure Parks & Rec can return to a full complement of pool staff next year.

The pool opening schedule is subject to change and available here.

Wednesday, June 30 

J. Finnegan Playground   6801 Grovers Ave., 19142  
Mander Playground   2140 N. 33rd St., 19121  
Samuel Recreation Center   3539 Gaul St., 19134  
Vogt Recreation Center   4131 Unruh Ave., 19135  

Thursday, July 1 

Bridesburg Recreation Center   4625 Richmond St., 19137  
Francisville Playground   1737 Francis St., 19130  
Lackman Playground   1101 Bartlett St., 19115  
Simpson Recreation Center   1010 Arrott St., 19124

Friday, July 2 

Barry Playground   1800 Johnston St., 19145  
Cobbs Creek Recreation Center   280 Cobbs Creek Pkwy., 19139  
Kendrick Recreation Center   5822 Ridge Ave., 19128  
Northern Liberties Recreation Center   321 Fairmount Ave., 19123  

Saturday, July 3 

American Legion Playground   6201 Torresdale Ave., 19135  
Cherashore Playground   851 W. Olney Ave., 19120  
Fox Chase Recreation Center   7901 Ridgeway St., 19111  
Murphy Recreation Center   300 W. Shunk St., 19148  

Tuesday, July 6 

Anderson Recreation Center   740 S. 17th St., 19146  
Hancock Playground   1401 N. Hancock St., 19122  
Heitzman Recreation Center   2136 Castor Ave., 19134  
Kelly Pool   4231 Landsdowne Dr., 19131  
Max Myers Playground   1601 Hellerman St., 19149  

Wednesday, July 7 

Cione Playground   2600 E. Aramingo Ave., 19125  
Mitchell Playground   3700 Whitehall Ln., 19114  
Penrose Playground   1101 W. Susquehanna Rd., 19122  
Vare Recreation Center   2600 Morris St., 19145  
Pleasant Playground   6757 Chew Ave., 19119  

Thursday, July 8 

Houseman Recreation Center   5091 Summerdale Ave., 19124  
Jacobs Playground   4500 Linden Ave., 19114  
Kingsessing Recreation Center   4901 Kingsessing Ave., 19143  
Sacks Playground   400 Washington Ave., 19147  
Schmidt Playground   113 W. Ontario St., 19140  

Friday, July 9 

Awbury Playground   6101 Ardleigh St., 19138  
Christy Recreation Center   728 S. 55th St., 19143  
Jardel Recreation Center   1400 Cottman Ave., 19111  
M.L. King Recreation Center   2101 Cecil B. Moore Ave., 19121  
Stinger Square   1400 S. 32nd St., 19146  

 Saturday, July 10 

Athletic Recreation Center   1400 N. 26th St., 19121  
C.B. Moore Recreation Center   2551 N. 22nd St., 19132  
Feltonville Recreation Center   4726-4700 Ella St, 19120  
Shepard Recreation Center   5700 Haverford Ave., 19131  
Tustin Playground   5901 W. Columbia Ave., 19151  

Opening soon 

The following pools are scheduled to open soon. Please check back for exact opening dates: 

39th & Olive Playground  

700 N. 39th St., 19104  

Ford Recreation Center  

609 Snyder Ave., 19148  

Lee Cultural Center  

4328 Haverford Ave., 19104  

Lonnie Young Recreation Center  

1100 E. Chelten Ave., 19138  

O’Connor Pool  

2601 South St., 19146  

Scanlon Playground  

1099 E. Tioga St., 19134  


The pool opening schedule is subject to change. The most up to date schedule will be available here throughout the summer.

Media are invited to the pool opening press conference, June 30 at 11:30 a.m. at James Finnegan Playground, 6801 Grovers Avenue, Philadelphia.


Philadelphia Parks & Recreation (PPR) advances the prosperity of the city and the progress of her people through intentional and sustained stewardship of nearly 10,200 acres of public land and waterways as well as through hundreds of safe, stimulating recreation, environmental and cultural centers. PPR promotes the well-being and growth of the city’s residents by connecting them to the natural world around them, to each other and to fun, physical and social opportunities. PPR is responsible for the upkeep of historically significant Philadelphia events and specialty venues, and works collaboratively with communities and organizations in leading capital projects and the introduction of inventive programming. To learn more about Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, visit us at, and follow @philaparkandrec on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram