It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but sinking into a hot tub in the middle of winter is just the best. All those swimming lessons for the kids are worth it when they are old enough to head off and swim without you, leaving you to close your eyes and relax in the warm water.
There are lots of places to swim in Calgary (although I like to veto the ones without a hot tub) and one day over the past Christmas break I told the teenagers we were going to check out the Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton. We often frequent the Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge but had heard about the Flow Rider at Seton, a surf simulator that has always captured my son’s attention. When school let out, it was time to hit the road for a field trip across town!
The Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton is a 330, 000 square foot, City of Calgary-built recreation facility that opened in 2019. It contains a huge aquatic centre, two ice rinks, fitness and sports facilities, arts learning and performance spaces, multipurpose spaces, and licensed child care. The facility also contains a full-scale Calgary Public Library, with a HELICOPTER in the kids’ play area! Between a surf simulator and a helicopter, we had to check it out.
The Seton YMCA is enormous. It definitely felt like a place where we could spend a whole day. The aquatic centre is in two parts, with the water park play area separate from the “serious” pool. The pool is a 50-metre, 10-lane competition pool with a dive tower. The water park area, with a lazy river, kids’ pool and play structure, and two waterslides, also offers a large hot tub, a steam room, and the ever-popular Flow Rider. My son kept his eye on the Flow Rider, watching the attempts of a few other kids before he got in line to try the bodyboarding surf simulator. It looked challenging to master, but the review from my 15-year-old was that it was SO MUCH FUN. As the hot tub is right beside the Flow Rider, I sat down and enjoyed the spectacle. I became quite an expert on what the brave riders should do, from the comfort of the hot tub. But I was happy to remain a spectator!
I do have a waterproof camera to take to the pool, but you are not allowed to take photos at the pool in a YMCA. My son probably would have vetoed them anyway…
We only took a peek at the fitness areas and the ice rinks and spent a few pleasant hours in the pool. We also stopped by the library before we left. I finally got to see the helicopter, although could not convince anyone to let me take a picture of them inside. Teenagers. And in a moment of amusing serendipity, the kids found an emoji book title activity that the library had made, and we had a great time decoding famous book titles created from emojis.
Winters are long and potentially cold in this city, so plan some play in your life! The Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton gave us a perfect field trip day to relax, amuse ourselves, and try something new.
Brookfield Residential YMCA at Seton:
Address: 4995 Market St SE, Calgary, AB