History of the Park Forest Aqua Center to Air Sunday – Plus How to Sign Up for This Year’s Season

Park Forest Aqua Center VOPF
Children take the first plunge into one of the pools of the Park Forest Aqua Center. (Photo: VOPF)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- An oral history of the Park Forest Aqua Center with John Joyce and Kris Martin will air this Sunday, May 16, 2021, at 2:30 p.m. The Park Forest Historical Society will present the 1988 interview on their YouTube Channel free of charge. The interview was done by Tom McDade, former employee of American Community Builders, and then vice-president of PFHS, and Jane Nicoll, Archivist for PFHS.  The program will launch on Sunday and will remain on YouTube.

May is usually time for the Historical Society’s Ice Cream Social. 

“Due to COVID-19 we have not been meeting in person this year. Pull up a chair and make yourself an ice cream sundae, and watch this informative interview from 1988 with us,” Jane Nicoll said in a release.

Kris Martin was a member of the original Aquacenter Board who handled fundraising and advertising. John Joyce was Director of Park Forest Parks and Recreation when the Village bought the Aquacenter (yes, it was spelled that way).

The Park Forest Aquacenter was built by a private board of citizens who sold bonds for its construction. Families who bought bonds became members. It was later owned by the YMCA. The Village bought it in about 1987-1988, and volunteers including many Village employees worked to rehab the complex so it could open for 1988. Configuration of the complex was changed at that time, filling in the octagonal pool which had been at the center and creating the zero-depth pool and sand volleyball court and play area. The waterslide and splash pool were added later.

A transcript of this interview, complete with photographs of the building of the complex and the early days is available to be read at the 1950s Park Forest House Museum by appointment. The museum also has a display with many photos, copies of ads, and original Aqua Center bonds. We have added an old swimsuit, swimming caps, and have three Aqua Center Badges from 1954 and later.

Photographs of the early days of construction and the early days are on Illinois Digital Archives, “Park Forest: An Illinois Planned Community.”

If you are not a member of the Aqua Center or have never come for a visit, the Historical Society highly recommends that you give it a try for your summer enjoyment.

Memberships are discounted until May 28. Being at the pool is a wonderful way to spend the hot summer days.

We want to keep this treasure in Park Forest, and it truly takes a village–the citizens, that is, to join and support the effort!

The Park Forest Aqua Center will open May 29. The season runs through September 6, seven days a week, weather permitting.

Pool Schedule

Early Season

June 1, 2021-June 11, 2021
Monday-Friday 4 pm-8 pm
Saturday/Sunday 12 pm-7pm
Memorial Day 12 pm-7 pm

Summer Hours

June 12, 2021-August 15, 2021
Monday-Sunday 12 pm-7pm
(July 4th Limited Hours)

Late Season

August 16, 2021-September 6, 2021
*Monday-Friday 4 pm-7pm
Saturday/Sunday 12 pm-7pm
(Sept 6 Limited Hours)

Special Days

Aqua Center Opening Day
Saturday, May 29, 2021  – 12 pm-7 pm

Members Only Kickoff
Special Opening Night just for PFAC Members!
Friday, May 28, 2021 – 5:30 pm-7:30 pm

Special Events 

  • Monthly Drive-in Movie Nights!
  • Semi-monthly Aquatic Obstacle Course!
  • Monthly Members Only Nights!
  • Special Dollar Days for Military and Frontline Workers!

Water Safety Day 
Saturday, May 15, 2021
3 pm-7 pm

Did you know that the month of May is National Water Safety Month?

The Village of Park Forest, the Park Forest Aqua Center and CELTS Aquatics are proud supporters of this initiative and will host the inaugural Water Safety Day on Saturday May 15, 2021. A FREE day of demonstrations, games and education will take place from 3-7pm.

Register for the event in advance at PFACEVENT.ZERODROWNING.INFO

More information on the 2021 season of the Park Forest Aqua Center is available on the Village website. Nab your copy of the 2021 Brochure (pdf) here.

This is news from the Park Forest Historical Society and the Village of Park Forest.