Enjoy your summer days at Naperville’s Centennial Beach

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With temperatures starting to heat up, Naperville’s Centennial Beach can help cool you off. The beach has been a summer staple in the Naperville community since 1932 and from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, the beach is open for people to enjoy.

Programs and activities for everyone

Centennial Beach provides a plethora of activities daily, in addition to programs throughout the summer.

“It’s great because we see such a multigenerational group of people that come and visit us on a daily basis,” said Centennial Beach Aquatics Manager, Brett Sprague.

Amenities provided at Naperville’s Centennial Beach:

  • Bag Toss Areas
  • Sand Volleyball Area
  • Sand Play Area
  • Water Play Features
  • Water Slide
  • Zero-Depth Entry into the water
  • Deep Water Area (15 ft.)
  • Diving Boards
  • Centennial Grill
  • And more

People of all ages can enjoy those amenities, but there are also specific programs for different groups. Some of those programs include the adult float, Beachside & Paddle Board Yoga, Mudrats Swim team, Water Aerobics, and Special Needs Nights.

“We do special needs night(s) every year,” said Sprague. “We have two in the month of June and one in the month of July, and they’re held on Sunday evenings for families who have individuals with special needs. We have the shallow-end open and we really just try to create an environment that’s conducive to those who need that.”

Being a lifeguard at Naperville’s Centennial Beach

With depths reaching 15 feet in the deep end, and a size of 6.2 million gallons of water, the beach is unlike a typical outdoor pool. Lifeguards at the beach have to go through tough training before the facility opens for the season.

“You can see in the deep end, it’s not like a clear pool typically, at the beginning of the season you can see the bottom, but after two weeks it gets super murky,” said Centennial Beach Head Guard, Jake Mejia. “The training here is a lot different from other pools, we dive a lot to the bottom because you usually can’t see.”

In the deep end, guards use a kayak to help survey the area, in addition to other guard posts surrounding the edge. 

“Beach Bums” at Centennial Beach

Also next to the deep end, is where the Water Aerobics program is run. Ann Jansen has been in charge of the program for over 40 years and has been visiting the beach for over 80 years 

In 1970, Jansen was part of the “Save the Beach” committee, where 34 members rallied together to keep the beach swimmable. Plans were considered to use the beach for just boating and fishing.

“We had a leader at that time, that wanted to turn this beach into a boating facility, and we all went ‘They’re going to kill each other with a boat on this small of a piece of water,’” said Jansen. “Well, we got some very important people on that committee that stopped it.”

Jansen is part of Centennial Beach’s group of longtime guests, known as the “Beach Bums.” They visit the beach on a regular basis throughout the summer.

“The Beach Bums started when we would come down here with our children. And after our children learned how to swim, and they could swim on their own and they wanted to be with their friends, then here sat all the mothers and sometimes daddies that didn’t know what to do with themselves. So that’s how the Beach Bums started!”

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