Waukegan Park District
Banner photo of children enjoying some great wet fun at Howard Ganster Pool.




Outdoor Aquatics Facility

Howard E. Ganster Pool in Belvidere Park
416 South Lewis Ave., Waukegan, IL 60085
(847) 360-4781 (Summer Only)

For more information, please call the
Aquatics Supervisor at (847) 782-3621.

2015 Season: June 6 - August 14



Use links below to navigate:

Open Swim Hours and Fees
Adult Lap Swim and Fees
Season Passes
Swim Lessons
Water Fitness
Summer Pool Rental Info



We invite you and your family to experience the fun and excitement of the summer at the Howard Ganster pool. Located in beautiful Belvidere Park, features include many exciting water-based components such as a children’s wading pool and multi level diving boards. Come out and discover why the Howard Ganster pool is the best way to "beat the heat" this summer in Waukegan!



SwimSmart is different than traditional swim lessons. The number one goal of SwimSmart is to increase participant safety and comfort in water and the secondary goal is to teach swimming strokes and techniques. From parent/tot through adult lessons, participants learn ways to be safe in various bodies of water. They first learn how to be safe and save themselves before they perfect swimming strokes and techniques. SwimSmart students progress through classes based on demonstrable skills. Parents will receive a written progress report at the conclusion of each class.


Outdoor, Summer SwimSmart Programs Outdoor lessons are offered on Saturday mornings and during the week at the Howard E. Ganster Pool, 416 S. Lewis Avenue, Waukegan.



Indoor, School Year SwimSmart Programs (September through May) Indoor lessons are offered on Saturday mornings at the Ann M. Kiley Developmental Center, on 1212 N. Dugdale Circle, Waukegan.


Sibling discounts available for SwimSmart programs Families with more than one child, living in the same household will receive a discount for each additional child who is taking a SwimSmart lesson in the same session. To receive a discount, registration must take place in person at a registration location.

Click here for current brochure and go to Aquatics page for the SwimSmart class schedule.

Swim Lessons

For Your Benefit

- Register Online or at the Belvidere Recreation Center, Jack Benny Center, and The Field House Sports and Fitness Center. It’s convenient and easy!

- Our Instructors are well trained and friendly.

- Low student/instructor ratios mean more individualized instruction.

- A Swim Lesson Coordinator monitors lessons to ensure quality programming and address questions and concerns.
Skill level and age are considered for proper placement of swimmers.
MAKE-UPS: In the event of pool closing or cancellation, the make-up session will take place one week after the last scheduled date of class.


Helpful Hints for Your First Class

- Please arrive five to ten minutes before your class starts to allow time for getting changed.

- Babies are required to wear swim diapers, cloth and disposable diapers are not prohibited, as they become heavy and fall apart in the water.

- For the health of your child and others if your child is unwell it is recommended that you stay at home and miss the lesson.

- Children under 3 years must be accompanied in the water by an adult before, after, and during their lesson.

-You are welcome to talk to the Swim Coordinator or Supervisor at anytime about your child’s progress.
 Helping you to prepare for a lifetime of safe water fun.

Which is the right class for my child?

Sharks & Minnows - Parents with Child 6 mos-3 years
Help your child adjust to water, which is a key factor in becoming a confident swimmer. In addition to the instructor, parents accompany their children in the water to assist in their child’s learning experience. Both the parent and child will learn water safety techniques to become comfortable in the water. The class incorporates songs and games to aid the learning process. Grandparents are welcome too!

Jellyfish - Level I       Ages 3-5
This class is a beginner swimming class to help students feel comfortable in the water and to enjoy the water safely. In this level, elementary swimming skills are introduced such as kicking, arm strokes, blowing bubbles, unsupported floats, and gaining confidence in underwater activities, while maintaining a fun and safe environment. The students are encouraged and taught to overcome fear or uneasiness they may have in the water through the teaching of these elementary skills and the incorporation of new games to create a fun learning experience.


This class is the right class if your child can: put face in water, bob in the water, jump to teacher, kick on wall, assisted front and back float.

Starfish - Level II  Ages 3-5
This class is for children who have either completed Preschool I class or have some swimming ability. To be this level, swimmers should be comfortable with floating, beginner stroke for five yards without help, and feel comfortable in deep water. The focus in this class is building up your child's endurance and safety knowledge of the water environment. Skills to be covered are introduction to rhythmic breathing, front crawl stoke and back crawl.


This is the right class if your child can: Blow bubbles/face in the water, kick with board, front crawl 5 yards, jump in deep water, safety float.

Turtles - Level I      Ages 6-16
If your child has little or no swimming skills, this class will help them adjust to the aquatic environment. This class focuses on water adjustment and covers these basic skills: breath control, submerging, floating, kicking, front and back gliding, beginner stroke, introduction to freestyle stroke and safety topics to make your child more aware of the aquatic environment.


This class is the right class if your child can: front and back float unaided, flutter kick ten yards, bob in the water, front and back glide, move comfortably in water.

Goldfish - Level II      Ages 6-16
This class is for children who have completed Youth Swim Lessons Level I or have some swimming ability such as, being comfortable in deep water and able to swim freestyle stroke for 15 yards without help. This class focuses on increasing swimming endurance and distance to build more confidence in deep water. Skills to be covered are perfecting rhythmic breathing, freestyle stroke, introduction to backstroke, treading water, staying safe, and how to recognize water emergencies.


This class is the right class if your child can: put whole self in water, front & back safety floats unaided, beginner stroke 15 yards, introduction to treading water, retrieve object from 5 feet.

Sea Horses - Level III      Ages 6-16
This class is for children who have either completed Youth Swim Lessons. Level II or have good freestyle and backstroke skills. This class will concentrate on endurance swimming and learning new strokes. Skills to be covered include breaststroke, diving, backstroke and safety techniques.


This is the right class if your child can: retrieve object from 5 feet, glide front and back with kick board, front crawl with rhythmic breathing for 15 yards, and tread water for 2 minutes.

Dolphins - Level IV      Ages 6-16
If your child has completed Youth Level III or can demonstrate food breaststroke skills, they are now ready for Youth Level IV. This class focuses on perfecting and refining the breaststroke and introducing competitive swimming. New skills to be covered include competitive starts and turns, introduction to butterfly and introduction to lifeguarding skills and other safety topics.


This is the right class if your child can: dive into water, deep water bobbing, front crawl with rhythmic breathing for 15 yard, elementary backstroke 15 yards, front and back crawl for 25 yards and tread water for 3 minutes.






For the safety and enjoyment of all our patrons, please remember:
- Children under eight years must be accompanied by a parent or adult 18 years or older at all times in and out of the water at the pool.
- Glass items of any kind are not permitted.
- Only U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets are permitted, and only with parental/adult supervision.  A number of life jackets are available
upon request.
- The lifeguards are there for your safety. Please follow their instructions.
- If you have any questions regarding any aspect of our aquatic facility, please do not hesitate to talk to one of our friendly aquatic staff members.
- 10 minute safety breaks will be called every hour during open swim for ages 17 and under.

Swim Suits Required
Health Department regulations stipulate that patrons must wear swimsuits in public swimming pools. Swimsuits are made of nylon, lycra or a combination of these fabrics and have a LINER! Patrons are not allowed to swim in underwear, cut-off shorts, sweatpants, etc. Children in diapers must wear tight fitting plastic pants over the diaper. T-shirts may not be worn while swimming except for medical reasons. Please keep this in mind as you are preparing to visit the pool. Patrons without proper swimwear will not be allowed into the facilities.

Uncontrollable conditions will occasionally prevent the facility from opening or cause them to close before the regularly scheduled closing times. When this occurs, the manager will make a decision on whether or not to reopen the facility at consistent checkpoints throughout the day.
These checkpoints will be at 3pm and 5pm for Howard E. Ganster Pool.
Facilities will close early if:
- There is a threat of violent weather, lightning is sighted or thunder heard.
- The air temperature drops to 65° F or less.
- There is a strong, steady rain for 30 minutes.
- There is a mechanical failure or the pool water is chemically imbalanced.
- The number of patrons drops below 10 for one hour.


Click here to review the Ganster Pool rules and regulations.


Open Swim

Daily Admission Fees:
4 years and older: $4.50

After 5:00pm:        $3.50
3 years and younger: Free


Open Swim Hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 1-7:30 pm
Tuesday & Thursday: 1-6 pm
Saturday & Sunday 12-7 pm

For inquiries about open swim times, please call the Aquatics Supervisor at 847-782-3621.


Adult Lap Swim

Daily Admission Fees: $3.75

Field House Sports and Fitness Center Gold members may swim laps during designated
lap swim times when they show fitness center member cards.

Lap Swim Hours:

Monday, Wednesday & Friday: 7:30am-9am
Tuesday & Thursday: 7:30am-9:30am
Monday & Wednesday: 6pm-7:30pm (one lane only)
Saturday: 8-9am

For information regarding Adult Lap Swim Passes, see below.



Private and semi-private (max 2-persons per class) lessons are available (summer season only).
Our private swim lessons are great for the person who wants one-on-one instruction. The class is designed for people of all levels and anyone 3 years and older. The private lesson consists of five half-hour classes. Learn how to swim with a friend or sibling! Semi-Private lessons are designed for two or three individuals. Anyone 3 years and older of any swim background can register. The class will be adapted to the student’s needs. The semi-private program consists of five half-hour classes. Call the Swim Lesson Coordinator after June 1st at 847-782-3300, to schedule a lesson(s).


Season Passes
Summer season passes are available for open swim and for adult lap swim at the Ganster Pool. Rates vary by the family size and date purchased.

Purchasing a family pass is the best way for frequent swimmers to enjoy open swim at the pool this summer. Our passes are very inexpensive and can be easily tailored to fit the needs of your family.

Our pass pricing system allows you to purchase a family pass for any number of persons in the same immediate family. We also offer you three different rates to fit your family’s circumstances. You may purchase a family pass at our pre-season discount rates, pay our regular season rates, or wait and buy a family pass at our mid-season rates and enjoy the second half of the season with great savings!

Family passes can be purchased at the Belvidere Recreation Center beginning May 1 at the pre-season rate. Beginning May 23, passes will be sold at the regular season rate until July 7. Mid-Season rate passes may be purchased beginning July 8. Please have all family members present at the time of purchase for Pass I.D. pictures. Lost passes can be easily replaced at the Belvidere Recreation Center for $5.

Open Swim Family Pass Fees (2015 Season)


Resident - 1 $68                   $78 $42
Resident - 2 $95 $110 $58
Resident - 3 $122 $152 $72
Resident - 4 $153 $168 $84
Resident - 5 $179 $198 $99
$10 for each additional person in the same family


Non-Resident - 1 $79                 $96 $48
Non-Resident - 2 $116 $131 $64
Non-Resident - 3 $140 $168 $82
Non-Resident - 4 $185 $203 $99
Non-Resident - 5 $218 $238 $118
$10 for each additional person in the same family

Discount Coupon Card:  $25
If your family attends our pool regularly during the summer but doesn't come often enough to purchase a family pool pass, you should consider this money-saving alternative. It is a punch card with seven admissions. Our Discount Card allows your children to come to our pool without bringing money for admission. They are perfect for children’s parties, and provide a real savings for groups.


Adult Lap Swim Pass Fees

Residents: $60 Non-Residents $74
Senior Residents: $38 Senior Non-Residents $46

For inquiries about season passes, please call the Aquatics Supervisor at 847-782-3621.

Summer Pool Rentals
Looking for a place to host a summer pool party for some fun in the sun? Ganster Pool is available for birthday parties, sports teams, work parties, family reunions, and much more! Rent the Main Pool which includes 2 diving boards, the Wading/Kiddie Pool, or both! Lifeguards are included in your rental fee. However, you must provide adequate supervision as specifically stated in the Ganster Pool rules and regulations.

There are several vending machines with pop and candy. We also have a concessions area with picnic tables and umbrellas where you may bring your own food and serve pizza, pop, cake, and more! Please submit all completed Pool Rental Applications to the Belvidere Recreation Center or the Field House Sports and Fitness Center.

For the Pool Facility Use Application and Agreement, click here or call the Aquatics Supervisor at 847-782-3621 for more information on summer pool rentals.

Outside groups/summer camps can click here for the Pool Camp/Group Application.


Howard Ganster Pool Resident Rates Non-Resident Rates
Main Pool Only $99/hour $109/hour
Main & Wading Pools $110/hour $125/hour
Wading Pool Only $49/hour $55/hour
Rental Deposit $50 $50


Water Fitness (Summer season only)
Summer water fitness classes are offered for adults at Ganster Pool. Refer to WPD brochure for more information on current classes offered. Call the Aquatics Supervisor at 847-782-3621 for additional class information. Water Fitness Classes are 7 weeks!

Aqua-Zumba       (14 yrs & older)$51/$61
Want to get in great shape this summer while having fun in the water? This class combines Latin American music and dance to create one great class that's both fun and an easy way to lose weight. Come learn how to shimmy, shake and move your feet to the music. Aqua Zumba is the "pool party" workout of the summer! We begin wit basic steps so that you can learn, have fun and sweat even if you have never danced a day in your life!
HGP Mon 6/15-7/27            6-6:45pm                          #7003             Reg by 6/12

Nice and Easy Water Exercise         (14 yrs & older) $51/$61
Water Fitness is here this summer at the Ganster pool! Start getting into great shape with this low impact water exercise class. This class is great for beginners or those that need to start out slow in getting back into shape. Active older adults and seniors are welcome! This class is great for those who suffer from arthritic pain.  Participants must be comfortable in water up to their waist. 
HGP Thu   6/18-7/30         12-12:45pm                      #7004         Reg by 6/12

**Make-up classes for water exercise due to pool closings and weather will be re-scheduled by adding on the make-up class the week after the session ends**


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