Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The YMCA of Downtown Durham

What it is: Like Y's all across the country, the Downtown Durham YMCA is a wellness and fitness facility broadly based on Christian principles. The Downtown Y has basketball courts, running tracks, a fully-equipped weight and training room, two swimming pools, a group-exercise room, and the best part for the purposes of this blog, a drop-in Play House caring for the children of exercising parents. The playroom is open during specific peak usage hours, and offers activities, toys, crafts and snacks (optional) to children as young as 6 weeks! And the Y offers literally dozens of classes every week, from Pilates and Yoga to Boot Camp, along with Water Fitness too. The pool complex has a full-size lap pool, and a zero-entry training pool that is extra warm and has a polar-bear-shaped slide. Kids from the age of 6 months can participate in parent-child swim classes, and from 3, take part in full-fledged swimming classes. From K-up, there are also kid fitness classes, and the Y is famous for their high-energy summer and track-out camps. The Downtown Y also has a smaller Wellness Facility in the American Tobacco Campus, with additional classes, and kids can come to the Play House while parents head over there.

What we like: We first went to the Y to put our then four-year-old in swim classes with a friend. Though my husband and I are both avid swimmers, we were befuddled that we couldn't seem to get our daughter comfortable in the water, let alone swimming. Within a few months of swim lessons on Saturday mornings, she became proficient, and better yet, started to gain confidence in every aspect of her life, avidly trying to challenge herself. The instructors were excellent at breaking down the movements of swimming into fun activities, with a giant dose of enthusiasm that the kids love. Swim lessons are broken up into groups of four kids, who all line up with their instructors along the side of the pool, so kids can interact with their instructors and watch other kids progress too. From that point, we joined the Y so we could keep taking our kids to the indoor pool through the winter months. The zero entry pool meant that we could be at ease with our two-year-old too. My husband and I, and other friends, would take turn with the kids while we swam laps. Since then, we've also added fun nights where we have dinner early and head to the Y so the kids can end the day in the Play House while we take in a yoga class, and cram in extra wellness classes (and trips to the sauna) during the day.

What we would change: We are, overall, more than 200% happy with the Y, its facility, its offerings, and its ever-friendly staff. The cost does give a lot of people pause, though and single parent membership with children is more affordable. The only pet peeve we've really every had is with the child policy in the changing rooms: children 3 and up are not allowed in the adult changing areas, and must use family changing rooms, which are fewer, small, and not as convenient. Given the benefits we get, it's a small issue.

Joining requires a fee of $60 for one adult with dependents, $120 for a couple. The monthly rate is $46.16 for a single, $87.93 for a couple per month. Swim classes are also a commitment: $48 per six-week session for members, but membership is not required. The joining fee can be spread out into payments, and there are programs for low-income families.

For more information:
All further details are at the Y website: www.ymcatriangle.org, and choose the pull-down menu on the upper left for your branch.

Better yet, drop by for a tour and pick up information, there is so much going on there you really need to come and see.


1. The training pool's zero-entry zone and slide

2. The whole aquatic complex


3. The YMCA playhouse


1 comment:

Jennifer W said...

Thanks for posting this! I am thinking of joining the YMCA that you go to. Nice to see pics because even though I have lived in Durham several years I have never seen the Y. Looks nice and the play area looks like fun for children!

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