Children jumping into Millbrook Exchange pool for swimming programs


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Aquatic Centers Pools Admission and Passes Programs Lifeguards Philosophy and Future

Aquatic Centers

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center - 5908 Buffaloe Rd (27616)

Phone: 919-996-5600  | Get directions


Pullen Aquatic Center - 410 Ashe Ave (27606)

Phone: 919-996-6197 | Get Directions


Admission and Passes

Daily Admission Fees and Punch Passes

Pullen, Optimist, Millbrook & seasonal pools

Admission at the Door Ages 1-12 Ages 13-54 Aged 55+
Resident $2 $4 $3
Non-Resident $3 $7 $5

Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center

Admission at the door Ages 1-12 Ages 13-54 Aged 55+
Resident $4 $8 $6
Non-resident $7 $15 $11

Punch Pass 

(Good for 15 entries at all City of Raleigh Aquatic Facilities)

Admission at the door Ages 1-12 Ages 13-54 Aged 55+
Resident $24 $48 $36
Non-resident $36 $84 $60

Punch Passes sold prior to March 21, 2017 expire one year from the date of purchase.
Punch Passes sold after March 21, 2017 expire two years from the date of purchase.
To ensure everyone's safety, all visitors passing the front desk must pay.
Children 12 years or younger must be accompanied by a paying adult age 16 or older.

Monthly and Annual Passes

Monthly pass (valid one month to date) - valid at all facilities

  Ages 1-12 Ages 13-54 Aged 55+
Resident $18 $36 $27
Non-resident $27 $63 $45

Annual pass (valid one month to date) - valid at all facilities

  Ages 1-12 Ages 13-54 Aged 55+
Resident $120 $240 $180
Non-resident $180 $420 $300


Purchasing Passes

Daily admission fees and Punch Passes (15 admissions) are purchased at the pool or aquatic facility.

Monthly and annual passes are purchased at any of the year-round pools - Optimist, Millbrook, Pullen, and Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center

Aquatic Administrative Office
2401 Wade Avenue | Raleigh 27607 | 919-996-6852 | Email


Adaptive Aquatics

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department welcomes the participation of all individuals, including those with disabilities or special needs. We are committed to compliance with the ADA and will provide reasonable accommodations to facilitate participation in our programs. 

For more information, see our Adaptive Aquatics page.


Youth Programs

Raleigh Aquatics diverse program offerings include:

  • American Red Cross Swimming Lessons
  • American Red Cross Lifeguard Training and Instructor Certifications
  • Intra-City Swim Team Learn to Swim Programs - Swim Lessons
  • Pre-School & Youth Level Descriptions
  • Educational Programs - Raleighaqua Programs
  • Lifeguard Training and Lifeguard Instructor Training
  • Intra-City Swim Association - Raleigh's Swim Team

Download Aquatic Brochure


Adult Programs

Raleigh Aquatics' diverse program offerings include:

  • Adult Swimming Lessons
  • Water Exercise Classes
  • Specialty Water Exercise Classes (arthritis, MS)
  • Adult Level Descriptions
  • Water Exercise & Aquatic Fitness Programs
  • Water Exercise Class Descriptions and Schedule
  • Lap Swimming - information and schedule

Download Aquatic Brochure



Register anytime with RecLink Online Registration or browse through program offerings. Select your classes and pay online using Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or remaining credit on your account.  (Note: Registration for Water Exercise Classes is not available online)

Mail-in Registration: Complete and mail a registration form to Raleigh Aquatics, 2401 Wade Ave., Raleigh NC 27607. Payment options include Check, Money Order, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Walk-in Registration: Visit Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center, Pullen Aquatic Center, Optimist Pool or Millbrook Exchange Pool and complete a registration form. Payment options include cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

Waitlist Policy: Many of our programs fill up quickly. After making course selections, we encourage you to submit your registration. Once a course is full, we begin a waiting list and process registrations as space becomes available. If you are placed on a waiting list for a course, you will receive notification from staff prior to the start of the course as to the status of your request. No payment is taken for placement on a waiting list.

Intra-City Swim Association

The program goal is to provide an opportunity to experience competitive swimming in a fun, enjoyable, and relaxed environment. Prerequisite - participants must be able to swim 25 yards unassisted.


Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center (BRAC)
(Ages 3-10)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     5:15pm-6:00pm
(Ages 11-18)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     6:15pm-7:00pm

Millbrook Aquatic Center(MAC)
(Ages 3-10)
Nov 5-Dec 17 T,Th     6:00pm-6:45pm
(Ages 11-18)
Nov 5-Dec 17 T,Th     7:00pm-7:45pm

Optimist Aquatic Center Otters (OAC)
(Ages 3-10)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     6:00pm-6:45pm
(Ages 11-18)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     7:00pm-7:45pm

Pullen Aquatic Center Pirates (PAC)
(Ages 3-10)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     5:45pm-6:30pm
(Ages 11-18)
Nov 4-Dec 16 M,W     6:45pm-7:30pm


11/16 Check-in @ 2:00pm; Warm-ups @ 2:30pm; Meet start @ 3:00pm
12/14 Check-in @ 1:00pm; Warm-ups @ 1:30pm; Meet start @ 2:00pm

Saturday, Nov 16, 2019 Optimist  All Teams  
Saturday, Dec 14, 2019 Pullen All Teams  

Financial Assistance 

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department strives to provide programs to all. Thanks to generous donations and support, we are able to provide financial assistance to those in need. Financial assistance is provided on a sliding scale based on income and other financial circumstances. All patrons who wish to register for programs provided by the City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources Department are eligible to apply. Please note that financial assistance is not available for: Specialty camps, organizations, adult teams, special events, or rentals. For more information on eligibility or to request the financial assistance application, please call 919-996-4839 or email

Lesson Tips

Arrival Time: It is important for participants to be on deck and ready to go five minutes before their class starts. Participants should use the restroom before class begins. The instructor will inform parents and participants know where to meet each day and that participants will need to wait on the deck, not in the water, until the instructor has arrived.

Swimming Attire and Protection: We recommend that participants and their parents apply sunscreen prior to beginning each lesson at an outdoor pool. Allow ample time for absorption prior to getting in the water. For those with long hair, we recommend wearing it tied back or covered by a bathing cap during lessons. Wearing a T-shirt in the water is optional. Participants should not forget to bring a dry towel for use after the lesson.

Parental Support: Be supportive of your children's efforts in lessons. Learning to swim can be challenging! Remember that fear is learned. If you are hesitant or fearful for your child in the water, your child will generally acquire a fearful attitude. Your child's progress and enjoyment can be enhanced when you and your child are enthusiastic about swimming.

Positive Reinforcement Techniques Used During Lessons: Any disciplinary problems should be addressed by the swim instructor. Positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate class behavior will include removing the child from the swim lesson (i.e., "time out" for a brief period) and may include addressing the problem with the parent and/or pool manager.

First Day of Class: The first day of class is utilized for participant skill evaluation and class assignment. Participants will be asked to perform known skills and then be placed in the appropriate level class. Participants may be reassigned to another class if necessary. Please not that class levels may be combined when numbers are small.

Before and After Class: Parents are encouraged to come and talk to the instructor before or after class. If the instructor is busy with another parent, parents can leave their phone number with the lesson coordinator who will ensure that the instructor follows up with the parent.

During Class: Any concerns a parent has about their child's class that require immediate attention can be directed to the lesson coordinator. The lesson coordinator is on deck to assist the instructors in managing their classes, and is accessible in the event questions should arise during the lesson.

Last Day of Class: Please complete a participant/parent evaluation form on the last day of class. These forms will be made available to you at the last lesson. Management reviews the evaluations and uses them to make program adjustments to better meet the needs and those of your child. When possible, we take corrective action immediately. Feedback is shared with the instructor to maintain or improve their skills. Participants in most lessons will also receive a certificate stating how they performed in their lesson and making suggestions for further improvement.

Lesson Policies

Absence Policy: Classes are not made up when a student misses a class; however, if the pool cancels a class, we will make it up at a time to be announced.

Inclement Weather Policy: Lessons are conducted regardless of weather, except in cases of pool closure due to thunderstorms. In the event of a thunderstorm or other pool closure, the lesson will be made up on the next available Friday at the regular lesson time. If a lesson is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e., lightning, pool closure, etc.), we reschedule the lesson when possible. If rescheduling is not feasible, we issue refunds or credits toward another activity.

Medical Concerns: If your child has a medical condition, such as, but not limited to, allergies, seizures, or epilepsy, a medical clearance form from your physician is required and must be submitted to the pool manager prior to the first day of class. In an emergency, knowledge of medical conditions will aid our staff and emergency personnel in providing care.

Private Lessons

Private swim lessons and stroke development are offered at Buffaloe Road Aquatic Center Millbrook, Optimist and Pullen Aquatic Center. Private lessons are offered at times when group lessons are not being conducted and based on instructor availability.  To request private lessons:

Non-City Lessons

The City of Raleigh does not allow individuals or groups to conduct private instruction at any City-owned swimming facilities.

Volunteer - Aquatic Coaches

The Aquatics Division is looking for volunteers to assist the Raleigh Aquatics coaching staff in supervising or directing program participants of the intra-City Swim Team. Volunteers will help organize swim meet competitors to ensure efficient operations of the meet. They may also assist at team socials. The number of volunteer hours would vary by event.

Contact :919-996-6640

Make A Splash

We are excited to announce that the City of Raleigh has just joined USA Swimming Foundation’s water safety initiative, Make a Splash. The USA Swimming Foundation launched Make a Splash in 2007 with the goal to teach every child to learn to swim. In order to accomplish this, we hope to spread awareness of the importance to learn to swim and be safe around water to every community in the country. The USA Swimming Foundation’s Make a Splash initiative is a national child-focused water safety campaign, which aims to provide the opportunity for every child in America to learn to swim. Through Make a Splash, the USA Swimming Foundation partners with learn-to-swim providers and water safety advocates across the country to provide swimming lessons and educate children and their families on the importance of learning how to swim. The USA Swimming Foundation has invested millions of dollars to provide grants to qualified Local Partner learn-to-swim programs, to spread national awareness, and to bring together strategic partners to end drowning. To date, more than four million children have received the lifesaving gift of swim lessons through the USA Swimming Foundation Make a Splash Local Partner network, comprised of more than 750 qualified lesson providers across the nation. We are very excited to a part of this initiative!

To see our classes offered please visit our registration section. For more information about the Make a Splash foundation please visit:


We are currently seeking lifeguards to staff our pools and aquatic facilities. Salaries range from $9.25 to $10.25 per hour depending on certifications. For more information, see the Lifeguards page.

Philosophy and Future

The Aquatics Program of Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources is dedicated to providing a fun and creative atmosphere for the development of swimming skills for all citizens in the Triangle area. We advocate the importance of water safety and are committed to the process of continued improvement and training of our lifeguards, swim instructors, and community. The importance of swimming is invaluable, serves as a lifetime skill and as a healthy recreational activity. The American Red Cross Swimming and Water Safety program is our standard and all of our instructors are certified as Water Safety Instructors to meet these goals.

The City of Raleigh has conducted a comprehensive Aquatic Study. The study assessed both the quantity and quality of aquatic leisure services and opportunities provided by the Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department and included a local inventory and analysis of existing public and private pools; a market and demographic analysis; a needs assessment; analysis of spatial distribution of aquatic facilities; costs; and recommended implementation and prioritization of the results.



Raleigh Aquatics

Phone: 919-996-6852

Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Service Categories:
Parks Programs

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