Webber Natural Swimming Pool is located in Webber Park and is the first public swimming pool in North America to have a natural filtration system that will use plants in a nearby pond rather than chemicals to treat the water. It is also the only FREE public pool in the Twin Cities (not including Minneapolis wading pools). My family agrees that it is the best "feeling" water they have ever swam in; its cleanliness is touchable. That said, the pool is closely monitored and closes if the natural filtration systems are unable to keep up with bacteria growth. It is best to check ahead before heading out to swim - especially if it has stormed recently or has been particularly hot.
April 2, 2020: Minneapolis Parks has announced that all outdoor aquatic facilities will remain closed for the summer of 2020. This includes Webber Natural Swimming Pool.
Children between 13-17 visiting without an adult will be required to have an Active Pass to to use the pool. If you are coming as a family, this will not affect you.
Active Passes can be obtained for free and are required for a variety of MPRB youth programs. While I'm not a fan of the Active Pass program because I think it is poorly run and discourages activity, the parks do have good reasons for this requirement. Active Passes theoretically increase customer service and user safety. It also helps staff identify young people in the event of an emergency.
Youth arriving at the Webber Pool who have not registered for an Active Pass can go to the nearby Webber Recreation Center and sign up, and then be checked into the pool. Children 12 and younger are still required to be accompanied by an adult.
Background of Webber Natural Swimming Pool
Jayne Miller, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board explained that "It’s better for the environment and for users because we’re not using any chemicals." Instead, it uses filters and plants to cleanse the water. In case you think this idea may be too good to be true, you'll be relieved to know that Europe has more than 20,000 natural swimming pools. So although Minneapolis has broken new ground in North America, this is not an untested idea.
Besides the natural filtration system, the pool is also vacuumed daily. Robotic vacuums were custom built to clean the pool.
Patrons are asked to do their part to keep this pool clean, as well.
Webber Natural Swimming Pool Rules
You will note that Webber pool has a lot of rules. These are necessary to maintain the safety and cleanliness of the pool The staff is diligent in enforcing those rules. Frankly though, some days all the whistle blowing and yelling can be a bit overwhelming. It is also not the easiest pool to accompany multiple children to since children under age 13 need to be within arms reach of an adult at all times. Anyone with more than one child knows they scatter in different directions whenever possible. As a result, it can be a bit frustrating as an adult chaperone of more than one child. We recommend taking back-up and keeping your adult child ratio one to one, if possible.
- Swimmers must shower before entering the pool.
- No food, beverages, tobacco, pets or glass allowed in pool facility; no street shoes in pool.
- Toddlers and babies must wear swim diapers. They can be purchased at the park for $2 each if you don't bring your own.
- Youth 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, age 18 or older.
- Children younger than 8 years old must be supervised by an adult at all times.
- Only United States Coast Guard approved lifejackets may be worn.
- Inflatable articles, balls, and water wings are not allowed.
- Horeseplay, spitting, pushing, running, and any other unsafe behaviors are not allowed.
- During designated water safety breaks, all guests are required to exit the water.
- Staff has the right to remove any individuals in violation of Pool Rules or MPRB and City Ordinances.
- Obey staff and lifeguards at all times.
- Don’t swim if you have open sores or are sick.
- The pool will not open if the temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Pool users are responsible for their personal items. The MPRB is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
- Swimwear must be within pool guidelines.
One last thing to note is that this pool has a daily capacity of 500 people. That means once it reaches its daily capacity, they do not let anyone else in, even if others leave. Again, this is necessary to maintain the cleanliness of the natural pool. The pool can and does hit its capacity on particularly hot days.
Some photos courtesy of Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board. No compensation was offered or received for this listing.