Featuring a competition venue and an elaborate pirate-themed leisure area, Splash! La Mirada Aquatics Center is a testament to the Southern California city’s growing desirability.

Designed by Counsilman-Hunsaker and Westberg & White Inc., the $24 million facility includes a broad range of interactive systems, sophisticated theming and exotic finishes, making it one of the nation’s premiere outdoor aquatics centers.

The main leisure elements occupy a 1,200 square-foot area highlighted by a zero-depth entry pool with a pirate-head tipping bucket. A 600-foot lazy river includes a variety of spray and rainfall features and a central slide tower includes a body slide, speed slide and tube slide.

The other side of the facility features an eight-lane, 50-meter competition pool complete with a moveable bulkhead, a gutter-overflow system, one- and three-meter diving platforms, and two LED scoreboards. To one side of the competition pool are concrete bleachers that can accommodate up to 400 people. The lawn area on the other side has been planned and pre-plumbed for a second 50-meter pool.

At the center of the site is an eight lane, 25-yard teaching pool with a deck-level overflow and an elegant semi-circular stair entry. Additionally, a 20-person therapy spa — in an unusual three-leaf clover design — is set off in a quieter corner of the facility, allowing groups of three to five people to sit in separate areas with enough room in the center of the spa to allow for vigorous water exercise.

All details of the 18-acre facility have practical purpose in addition to aesthetics. For example, the decorative concrete is designed to retard the sun, keeping bare feet comfortable. The low-NOx pool heaters are gas-fired and energy efficient while the high-rate sand filtration consists of the latest pumps and controls for green measures. For water quality, the facility relies on bulk sodium hypochlorite combined with C02 and acid for pH control. A walled-off storage area provides housing for lane markers, starting platforms, lifeguard stands, water polo cages and other competitive accoutrements.

The city of La Mirada’s connections to Spanish history led to the overall theme, starting at the entrance where a pirate statue greets guests. Once inside, themed features include an interactive wrecked pirate ship, a spectacular skull rock formation emerging from a sand play pit, a ship’s wheel, treasure chest and scoreboards recalling the masts of Spanish vessels. Other elements include rope bridges, signage frames and a host of piers and docks, while even waste receptacles simulate wooden barrels.

Helping tie the entire property together is a series of winding, interconnected paths of blue/mother-of-pearl exposed-aggregate and sand-colored concrete. The walk paths are designed to evoke a spacious feel with easy transition between activity areas.

Additionally, congregating spaces are appointed with concrete benches, tables and chairs, and a sweeping arc of umbrellas. And a large landscaped area, just above the main aquatic zone, is a reliable revenue source with shade structures and areas for large parties. The main building includes locker rooms, meeting and food-service facilities, office space, and a retail store with aquatic products.

The City of La Mirada was recently named a “Best Place to Live” by CNN MONEY Magazine, with the aquatic center named as one of the reasons for the honor.


Aquatic space: The main aquatics area is approximately 1,200 square feet

Year opened: 2007

Cost: $24 million

Dream feature: A themed leisure area that includes a 550-foot-long lazy river and three waterslides and is flanked by a 50-meter competition pool and a teaching pool.


  • Aquatic Designer:Counsilman-Hunsaker
  • Architect of Record: Westberg + White
  • Swimming Pool Contractor:California Commercial Pools
  • Project Management:C W Driver
  • Pool Equipment Supplier: Knorr Systems


  • Aquatic Lift: PAL RehaMed International
  • Bulkheads: Stark Aquatic Systems
  • Chemical Controllers:Impact AFC, Seimens Water Technologies
  • Covers: T-Star
  • Diving Boards & Stands: Durafirm International Corp.
  • Filters, High Rate Sand: Nemato
  • Grates: Lawson Aquatics
  • Hardscape, Custom: Shaw & Sons
  • Hardscape, Deck: Trademark Concrete
  • Heaters: Lochinvar
  • Lighting, Overhead: Musco Lighting
  • Lockers: Smarte Carte
  • Pumps, Circulation: ITT Marlow H2O Technologies
  • Pumps, Features: Pentair
  • Racing Lanes & Water Polo Goals:Antiwave
  • River Rockwork: Boulderscape Inc.
  • Safety Equipment & Starting Blocks:Paragon Aquatics
  • Scoreboards & Timing Systems: Colorado Time
  • Shade Structures: Sunports
  • Slides & Play Structure:Whitewater West
  • Spray Features: Aquatic Recreation Co.
  • Theming: Scenario Design


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