Paradise Bay Water Park is the only outdoor public pool in Lombard, Ill., and as such, it was very important that the project feature a range of elements. Completed in 2009, Paradise Bay is fully ADA accessible and includes: A 12-foot-deep dive well with a one-meter board and concrete tower featuring a three meter diving board and a drop slide; a 4,568-square-foot, eight-lane lap pool; a 7,040-square-foot, zero-depth-entry leisure pool that includes a sunburst of fountains and geysers, a vortex, a bench seating area and a water walk with alligator floatables, and a slide tower; and a 1,396-square-foot tot pool including a palm tree slide, Funbrella mounted in the water for shade, two soft play creatures and numerous small spray features. Complementing the aquatic amenities are family changing rooms, a bather turf area, and a concession stand.

In building the facility, designers wanted to use materials that were cost effective and appealing to the eye. Combining brick, block, glass, furniture, signage, amenities and landscaping the design team created a feeling of “getting away from it all.”

From the start environmental concerns were also key. Paradise Bay replaced the community’s first outdoor pool, opened in 1957 and in creating the new aquatics facility the old concrete tanks of the previous pool were crushed to varying sizes and used as the base of the new water park. A “crusher” was brought to the site, reducing the cost to haul away concrete and bring a new base material back while also lowering carbon emissions from trucks. Other energy saving strategies include water saving lavatories and showers, efficient lighting fixtures, recycled lumber picnic tables, and variable frequency drives on the electric play feature pumps.

But building a new complex within the footprint of the old facility was not without it’s challenges. Two top priorities were keeping existing shade trees and filling the need for a stand-alone tot pool with plenty of shade. In keeping with the facilities Caribbean theming, this pool is appropriately named “Turtle Cove” after one of the two soft play features. It has self-closing gates, and is surrounded with a rope/netting and bollard fence.  From the zero depth entry side the pool goes down to a depth of 18 inches and a Funbrella is anchored into the bottom of this pool to provide shade over the water.

Another important design feature of the facility that was accomplished was to provide sight lines to the main leisure pool, so parents can keep an eye on their older swimmers while remaining within arms length of their little ones.

For universal accessibility, all five bodies of water at Paradise Bay have either a zero-depth entry, a staircase, or both, and both the Tot Pool and the main Lesiure pool were designed in a way to keep one half active and the other half passive.

The layout of the pools was also a consideration for the swim team. To avoid having to close the entire facility on meet days Parasise Cove includes a separate competition pool and dive well.

Tying the whole project together is the subtle Caribbean theming. Landscaping includes broadleaf vegetation, native prairie grasses, ivy’s, trees shrubs, and flowers and local artist, Kate Tulley added a colorful touch. She painted the four three-foot-wide posts to look like palm trees complete with painted ropes that exactly match the cargo netting, and completed these palm trees with monkeys, a lizard and tropical birds.

Overall, the use of colors at the facility was a major topic for the design team. Anyone who has watched The Wizard of Oz can’t help but notice the change from black and white to color after Dorothy’s house comes crashing down in Oz. That idea was incorporated at Paradise Bay. Earth tones are the color of choice at the front entrance to the facility and the bathhouse and admissions area are muted browns and grays. But as one enters the water park, the mature green trees give a wonderful background to the colorful water slides, play features, palm trees and other amenities.

The overall impact of Paradise Bay was phenomenal even prior to anyone entering the new facility. It created a buzz in a town that had not had any publicly financed facilities in many years. After the opening of the facility on June 6, 2009, the District saw more seniors, more moms with strollers, and more disabled individuals come to the new universally designed water park. The addition of the drop slide and the bowl slide brought more teens back to the pool than were seen at the previous facility. More families came and stayed longer than they had in the past.

The final product was an aquatic facility that opened on time, under budget and most importantly, met the expectations of the community. In the end the project was an example of how a local community pool can bring a community together. So many opinions and ideas were provided to the Park District that almost everyone can point to something and say “that was my idea.”


Opened: 2009

Cost: $8.7 million

Aquatic space: 103,502 (total gross)

Dream amenities: A 1,124-square-foot diving well, 25-yard lap pool; 7,040-square-foot leisure pool including a vortex and waterslides; and a kiddie pool


  • Dream Designer:FGM Architects
  • Aquatic Engineer:Counsilman-Hunsaker
  • Construction Management: Corporate Construction Services


  • Anchor Industries,Shade Systems: Sun shades
  • Aquasol Controllers: Chemical controllers
  • Competitor Swim Products: Lane markers
  • Duraflex International: Diving boards
  • Filtrex Incorporated: Filters
  • Goulds Pumps: Pumps 
  • The Life Guard Store: Backstroke flags
  • Maytronics US: Cleaners/vacuums
  • Paddock Pool Equipment Co.: Gutters 
  • Paragon Aquatics: Ladders/grab bars
  • Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics:Lighting