For competitive swimming, the University of Minnesota’s capacious Minneapolis campus Aquatic Center is the region’s sine qua non, but with limited public hours, an $8 daily fee and a dearth of cheap parking, the facility isn’t a great option for we amphibians to sneak in a pre-work or midday swim. We prefer to head east to the Lexington Parkway exit off Interstate 94 for St. Paul’s public swimming hole: the Great River Water Park at the Oxford Community Center. Parents can pad around a cushioned deck as their children squirt down the slides, climb on the floating log or romp in the spacious children’s pools. Lifeguards are always on duty and usually two lap lanes are kept open in the big pool, an eight-lane, 25-yard beauty with diving boards above a true deep end. A family of five gets in for $16. 270 Lexington Pkwy. N., St. Paul; 651-642-0650

Runner-up: Minneapolis Downtown YMCA