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Parks and pools offer watery cooling-off periods

The midsummer heat may have you and your kids itching for something to do. Getting wet is the only way to enjoy the outdoors this time of year. Our Tampa Bay area beaches are great, but here are some local spots that may be right in your own neighborhood. Slather on the sunscreen and cool off at one of these Tampa area parks or pools.

free or cheap

Kate Jackson Park

821 S Rome Ave., Tampa

Let the kids run through the fountains at this shady park and playground in Hyde Park.

Free.

Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park

600 N Ashley Drive, Tampa

If you haven't checked out this new park downtown alongside the soon-to-open Glazer Children's Museum, it's worth a visit for the beautiful view of the Hillsborough River and the playground. While it's not necessarily a spray park, there are fountains and misting sprays where the kids can cool off.

Free.

Cypress Forest Park

650 Pine Ave. N, Oldsmar

This park, with lots of spraying colorful sculptures, is great fun for preschoolers, and Mom and Dad can certainly get their feet wet, too. Get there early, as swarms of playgroups lay claim to the covered picnic tables.

Free.

Zephyrhills Water Park

Corner of Fourth Street and Fourth Avenue, Zephyrhills

Kids, and moms or dads if you dare, run through shooting water at this 7,000-square-foot splash park.

Free.

Sulphur Springs Pool

713 E Bird St., Tampa

(813) 931-2156

With a view of the natural springs, this large city of Tampa pool includes a zero-depth entry so toddlers can wade in.

Admission is $4 for adults, $2 for juniors/seniors. City of Tampa recreation card is required ($25 individual, $75 Family Swim Pass).

pay to play

Bob Sierra Youth & Family Center

4015 Ragg Road, Tampa

(813) 269-9404

This YMCA family aquatics center in the Northdale area is a flurry of activity, with a kiddie pool that includes lots of spraying and shooting water, and a larger pool with a slide for older kids. YMCA membership is required. Individuals are $50/month, family memberships are $82/month

Lowry Park Zoo

1101 W Sligh Ave., Tampa

(813) 935-8552

The Manatee Fountains in the front of the zoo are an old favorite, but the newer Wallaroo Station water play zone with geysers and sprays boasts the adjacent playground, snack bar and shady spots for moms and dads to park. Kids also love getting splashed by the Gator Falls flume ride.

Admission (not including rides) is $20.95 for adults, $15.95 for children ages 3-11 and free for children age 2 and under. Annual passes and summer ride wristband specials are available.

Florida Aquarium

701 Channelside Drive, Tampa

(813) 273-4000

You may be attracted to the aquarium for the air conditioning, but after you visit the animals, let the kids romp around the outdoor water adventure zone. The aquarium's Explore-A-Shore lets parents relax at the cantina while kids jump through geysers and climb on sea creatures.

Admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children under 12 and free for children age 2 and under. Annual passes available.

Temple Terrace Family Recreation Complex

6610 E Whiteway Drive, Temple Terrace

(813) 712-4400

Whether you want to do laps or let the kids play, this complex has it all, including a heated main pool, a fun pool with a waterslide, a kiddie pool and a water playground.

Membership is required. Daily guest passes for aquatics cost $8 for adults and $6 for children. Annual passes available.

Parks and pools offer watery cooling-off periods 07/22/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:16pm]
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