Residents flock to public pools to cool off

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Just about everyone in the Southern California is taking refuge from this weekend’s scorcher. They’re piling into movie theatres, bowling alleys, coffee shops… just about anyplace with air conditioning. But those options can burn a hole in your pocket. There's a way to keep kids happy and parents’ budgets cool.

Beating the heat doesn’t break the bank for parents at the Jackie Tatum – Harvard Park Aquatic Center in South L.A. They brought their kids in for a free swim.

“Oh it’s good. Enjoying the weather," said Shonda Whitaker of L.A. as she sat poolside, cradling her 6-month-old niece.

Whitaker plunked down a couple of bucks to get into the outdoor pool. But her niece and son – and anyone younger than 17 - can go there as often as they like without paying a dime.

Ten-year-old Misael Guezara of L.A. doesn’t think much about the family budget. He just wanted to get out of the house on a hot afternoon. The South L.A. public pool is a good fun, safe place to be.

“It’s really hot today so I came for a swim," little Guezara said. "In the house I couldn’t take it. My mom’s cooking so it’s more hot. The best way to cool off is to come here and swim for a while.”

The Tatum aquatic center includes two swimming pools. A 3,400 square-foot traditional one — and another that’s smaller. It also offers a giant water slide. Several life guards are on constant watch.

Ollie Miller of L.A. brought his 10-year-old daughter and her 4-year-old cousin.

“Yeah it’s nice," Miller said as the children flopped around in the water. "Nice for the kids. Somewhere for them to be at when it’s hot.”

Pool staff members said this week’s heat wave packed the place. At least 100 kids visited.

Los Angeles Recreation and Parks operates more than 50 summer outdoor pools like Tatum- Harvard Park. The department also offers free swimming classes.