General pool information

The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department operates three pools: the Robert A. Lee Recreation Center pool, 220 S. Gilbert St., the Mercer Park Aquatic Center, 2701 Bradford Dr., and City Park pool (seasonally), 200 Park Rd.

Swim Lessons

Registration for the 2018 winter/spring swim lesson program begins Wednesday, Dec. 13 at 8 a.m., both online and in-person. To read full descriptions of each level, check our activity guide: Individual activity numbers can be previewed in the swim program chart, or viewed through the online registration system

The Iowa City Parks and Recreation Department believes that every kid deserves to learn to swim. Learn more about the Swim Lesson Scholarship program.

Aquacise classes are available at Mercer Park Aquatic Center and Robert A. Lee Recreation Center pools. Click here for Aquacise class information.

Pool Schedules

Indoor pool facility schedules:

Robert A. Lee Recreation Center pool

Winter/Spring Robert A. Lee pool schedule (effective Jan.-May)*

Mercer Park Aquatic Center pool

Winter/Spring Mercer Park Aquatic Center pool schedule (effective Jan.-May)*

Outdoor pool facility schedule:

City Park pool

City Park pool, 200 Park Rd., is currently closed for the season. In general, the City Park pool is open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

*Please refer to the Parks and Recreation main page for up-to-date notifications regarding pool closures or special hours. The notices can be found at the very top of the page.

Admission cost

Daily admission at Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center and Mercer Park Aquatic Center pools:
2 and under, Free
3 years and older, $4

Daily admission at City Park pool:
2 and under, Free
3 years and older, $4 (12-5 p.m.), Twilight Rate: $2 (5-8 p.m.)

Swim passes

Available at the Recreation Division Office and Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym during office hours. Non-residents of Iowa City add 50 percent. Initial swim passes must be purchased in person at one of the Iowa City pools. Pass renewal is available online through the City's Activenet System

30-day pass

  • Single - Resident $20
  • Single - Non-resident $30
  • Family* - Resident $37
  • Family* - Non-resident $55.50

Annual pass (valid one year from purchase date) 

  • Single $214
  • Single - Non-resident $321
  • Family* $414
  • Family* - Non-resident $621

* The family pass is based on a maximum of five persons per family. 

  • Annual pass: $25 each additional family member

Punch cards

Available at the Recreation Division office and Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym. Non-residents add $5. Punch card is good for 10 pool admissions. Fee: $31

Phone numbers

In order to keep the lines open for business purposes, patrons will only be paged for emergencies.

  • Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center Pool: 319-356-5100
  • Mercer Park Aquatic Center: 319-356-5109
  • City Park Pool: 319-356-5108

Pool closing

Any pool may be closed for any of the following reasons: inclement weather, swim meet, mechanical breakdown, low air or water temperature, low participation, chemical imbalance or schedule change. City Park Pool will stop operations any time dangerous weather is spotted (e.g. lightning). Patrons will be issued receipts which will be good for use at either the Recreation Center Pool or the Mercer Park Aquatic Center during that same working day. No refunds will be issued if pool closing is weather-related. Groups are advised to call ahead before going to any pool.

Locker rooms

Each facility has locker rooms equipped with showers, hair dryers, electrical outlets and quarter-lockers (not for overnight storage). Combination lockers for overnight storage are available at the Robert A. Lee Community Recreation Center pool only. Residents of Iowa City may rent these at a cost of $8 per month or $40 for six months. The Iowa City Recreation Division is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Non-resident fee is $12 per month or $60 for six months.

Age requirements

A responsible adult (age 16 or older) may supervise up to four non-swimmers. The adult has responsibility for these swimmers and must remain attentive to them at all times. An adult (age 16 or older) must accompany children fifth grade or younger. Children incapable of swimming the width of the pool in a competent form and without stopping are not allowed in the deep areas of the swimming pools. Recommended height for a child to participate in the main pool is 3'9". Use of the wading pool is restricted to children with direct adult supervision.

Swimming apparel

Cut-off shorts, thong bottoms, street clothes and sweat pants are prohibited in the pool. Shirts may be worn over appropriate swimming attire.

Pool equipment

Kickboards and pull-buoys are available at each pool and may be checked out from a lifeguard for use during lap swim. All flotation devices must be U.S. Coast Guard approved. The pool does not provide towels, goggles or swimming suits. The following items are prohibited in Iowa City pools: glass, bandages, cigarettes, strollers, playpens, lawn chairs, shoes, street clothes, food, drink, gum, Nerf products (except small soft balls), Super-Soakers and squirt guns.

Pool rules

The rules of the pool are available at each facility. These rules have been set for the health and safety of all patrons. Please uphold them and treat those who enforce them with respect.

Lost & Found

If you lose an item at a pool, call that pool as soon as possible. If the item is found it will be tagged and held for you. Lost & found items cannot be loaned out to the public.

Pool accessibility

All Iowa City pools are handicapped-accessible. The Recreation Center pool and the Mercer Park Aquatic Center are equipped with a Spectrum chair lift. These devices are simple to operate and can be quickly set up at your request. The Mercer Park Aquatic Center also has a ramp which goes directly into the shallow section of the pool. This allows access to the pool without the set up of the chair.

Water temperature

The Mercer Park Aquatic Center and Recreation Center pool temperatures are set at 82º Fahrenheit. This will vary with program needs, mechanical problems and weather conditions. The City Park pool is not heated and its temperature will vary between the low 60s through high 80s.


The Mercer Park Aquatic Center is equipped with a 12-person spa. Hours are Monday-Friday 6 a.m.-3 p.m. for adults 16 years or older and 3 p.m.-close for anyone 15 years and younger accompanied by an adult; Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. for 15 years and younger accompanied by an adult.

Persons with heart conditions, persons with high blood pressure, pregnant women, young children and others with health concerns should consult a physician before using the spa. To ensure proper function of the spa, the pool manager reserves the right to restrict use by children (15 years and younger) during times of peak use. The spa is not open for use during times reserved for swimming lessons.

Wading pools

All three pools have separate wading pools designed for use by small children being directly supervised by a responsible adult (one 16 years or older). Lifeguards are not assigned to provide coverage of the wading pools. The pools at the Recreation Center and Mercer Park Aquatic Center are available for use during lap swim providing a responsible adult stays with the child in the wading pool at all times. The wading pool at the City Park pool is not open for use during the noon lap-swim time.


All Iowa City pools are available for rent during hours not scheduled for regular use. A meeting room at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center/Scanlon Gym is also available. Fees will vary according to usage time, number of people and amount of staff time required. Contact the Recreation Division office at 319-356-5100 for fees and additional information.


Small groups, day-cares, camps, etc. are welcome to use the pool at regular admission anytime the pool is open for public swim. Groups are expected to provide supervision for their participants and are advised that our supervisor-to-swimmer ratio is 1:4. Groups not providing adequate supervision will be asked to leave the facility. It is advisable to contact the aquatic supervisor before your use to ensure availability of the pool. Safety demonstrations or help with merit badges can be provided if arranged with the aquatic supervisor prior to use.

Pool activities

The Iowa City pools provide four different types of activities: 

Lap swimming: Time or designated area available for continuous lap swimming, water walking or water jogging. This activity is designated for fitness purposes only. Participants interested in general play or diving should not attend these hours. No children will be allowed during lap swim unless they are actively swimming laps. During busy times circle swimming is required.

Courtesy tips when circle swimming: Before entering a lane with another swimmer please notify that swimmer that you will be sharing his/her lane. Divide the lane in half and stay on your side. Circle swimming is required when swimming with more than one other swimmer in your lane. Circle swimming means you swim down on the right and back on the right staying on the right side of the lane. Circle swimming works best when swimming with other swimmers of the same ability.

Public swimming: Time or designated area available for all ages to participate in general play. The diving boards at the Mercer Park Aquatic Center are sometimes open at this time but are not guaranteed.

Senior swim: Quieter time for senior swimmers to take part in water fitness activities such as lap swimming, water walking, water jogging or water exercise. Available at the Recreation Center Pool only.

Family swim: Time for families to enjoy the pool together. The fee is reduced to make the time affordable. Use of the pool during this time is restricted to children directly supervised by a participating adult. This is not a time when groups such as birthday parties or scout troops should plan to participate. Available at the Recreation Center Pool only.

Please note: We strive to get maximum usage and meet the needs of as many patrons as possible. Several times during the day more than one activity (such as Swim Club and Aquacise) may be scheduled. An outline of the pools (see links for each individual pool) should give you an idea of when such scheduling is taking place.