The Big Pool

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Big Pool Slides

The Big Pool 
504 Maple
Garden City, KS 67846
(620) 276-1255


Season Opening: May 23, 2020

Established in the 1920s, Garden City's municipal swimming pool, known as the "Big Pool," is larger than a football field with a surface area of 72,600 square feet. The pool holds more than 2 million gallons of water.

You can view the Menus here.  

Admission Fee

Daily admission fee: $2 per person

Season passes for The Big Pool, water aerobics, and lap swims are also available. Individual pool passes are $55 for those 48 inches or taller and $45 for those under 48 inches tall. Family passes are available at $120 for a family of four. Each additional family member costs $15. Visitors can also purchase a booklet of 30 single-use passes for $50. Water aerobics will cost $5 per class or $20 for a season pass to all classes. Lap swim costs $2 per swim or $10 per session. To purchase a pass, email or call 620-276-1157

Hours of Operation

Monday - Sunday: 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. May 23 - August 7, weekends only August 15 - September 7.


The Big Pool was hand dug and concrete poured by the people of Garden City in 1921. It opened for its inaugural season in 1922. The bath house was a WPA project constructed during the 1930s. A children's wading pool was also added in the 1930s.

In the 1980s two Garden City youth became the first to ski atop the pool as a promotional stunt. The idea was to promote Finnup Park, Lee Richardson Zoo, and the world's largest outdoor free concrete municipal swimming pool.  

For several years, the zoo's elephants, Moki and Chana, had the opportunity to swim in the municipal pool after it closed for the season. Crowds reportedly came from as far as California and numbered in the thousands daily for the week that the elephants swam. 

By the late 1990s, the pool was badly in need of a facelift.  After gathering input from a community pool committee, the City Commission prepared a master plan.  Because of the $8 million dollar price tag, the project was broken down into smaller pieces.  In 2003, the Garden City Recreation Commission took over the management of the Big Pool and instituted the pool's first user fees.  As the first eager swimmers hit the water of the Big Pool in 2006, they inaugurated the most significant improvements to the Garden City landmark in its 84-year legacy.  It had undergone its third and most visible face lift during the late winter and early spring of 2006.  Five slides were incorporated with a plunge pool and a bulkhead that divides the pool into north and south halves.

Big Pool Redesign FAQ

To see the process that The City of Garden City has taken as well as information collected from the survey's click here.

  • Admission Price
    • The intent is to keep admission low and the City is considering all options to make this feasible. The intention of whatever is built is not to make a profit but to pay for the facility and provide a service that would allow all community members to participate that want to.
  • Sales Tax 
    • City staff hopes to use funds that are currently being spent on The Big Pool and bond those over a period of time to complete the project. However, the City Commission will be deciding how the project is paid for but staff will bring forth budgeting ideas and strategies without a tax increase. If the project is over 10 million the Commission will have to consider other funding strategies. 
  • Location
    • Based off of information compiled from the spring survey the City understands that keeping the pool in the same location is important to this community. 
  • Company Interviews
    • During the interview process companies that submitted bids were asked questions about the cost of an enclosed facility, competition pool, local smaller swimming pools, splash parks and any other aquatic projects/ideas that were discussed by the community during the input process. These interviews were recorded and are available for the community to watch here
  • Preserving The Big Pool
    • The City will work with those selected on the final design to meet the requests of the Commission and community. The City will try and re-use anything possible. However because the community would like to see the new facility in the same location most the old facility would be removed.

    The Big Pool Water Usage


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