It's starting to warm up and that means the area's many spraygrounds, public pools and splash zones will be opening up for the height of heat season.
The Highlander Pool in Dunedin is open already and having a Splash Bash and Picnic on Saturday to kick off spring with a celebration including inflatables, games, races, music and lunch. The adjacent Kiwanis Sprayground is open year-round at 1937 Ed Eckert Drive. It has water cannons, floor jets, a slide and a big yellow bucket that fills up, tips over, and drenches those who stand under it from 9 a.m. to sunset every day. The picnic Saturday is free and starts at 11 a.m.
The terrific sprayground at Del Holmes Park in St. Petersburg already opened up for the season on May 1 and will remain open until Oct. 31 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Note that the sprayers are motion activated so don't think it's not open if you don't see water going.
All the city of St. Petersburg's pools will open for the season beginning Memorial Day weekend, May 26 (North Shore Pool is open year-round).
Other water play areas around Tampa Bay
Highland Recreation Complex and Family Aquatic Center in Largo is celebrating its season opening May 19-20 with a weekend-long party with free hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, door prizes and giveaways at 400 Highland Ave. NE, Largo. This is a mini-waterpark for all ages. In addition to a pool, amenities include a 214-foot corkscrew water slide, a three-story speed slide, a zero-depth sprayground with play structure and water sprays, and a double slide suitable for all ages. Water basketball and volleyball are also available.
Cypress Forest Park in Oldsmar has a 1,500-square-foot sprayground with all manner of shooting and cascading water that is open daily now from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The park, 650 Pine Ave. N, also has picnic shelters. It costs $5 for nonresident parking; $2.50 decal per year for residents.
Kate Jackson Park, 821 S Rome Ave. in Tampa, is a beautiful park nestled in the heart of historic Hyde Park, with lots of playground equipment, picnic benches and shade trees. Kids especially enjoy running through the fountain, which shoots up water from the ground. It's open year-round and the fountain runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park has two interactive fountains, one on the east side of the park along Ashley Drive and the Mist Fountain on the west side of the park along the Riverwalk.
WaterPlay at Zephyr Park, 38116 Fifth Ave. in Zephyrhills, has fountain jets, soaker cannons, falling buckets of water and arches shooting water. The 34-acre sprayground is in downtown Zephyrhills and is the site of the Alice Hall Community Center. The water play area is open 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.