Local Life

Making a splash at area’s parks and splash pads

Water World remains massive draw to north Denver

There are about 97 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year, which means there's a good chance residents are going to need to find ways to beat the heat several times as the summer goes on.
Luckily, most communities have the perfect way to stay cool - water features.
Whether it's a splash pad and outdoor at places like Centennial, Littleton or Golden or massive water parks like Hyland Hills' Water World in Federal Heights, there's something for every age to enjoy and cool off.
“As we went through our master plan update process, we discovered how important water features are to our residents,” said Allison Scheck, public engagement and operations manager with the city of Lakewood. “Not only do they provide release from the heat, but they can be affordable options for families to get together and play.”
Splash pads - which are water features in public places that don't feature much standing water and include fountain sprayers and other active water features - can be found in popular city locations like Englewood's civic center or Olde Town Arvada, but many communities are going above and beyond with their pads.
The Foothills Park and Recreation District, located in the southern region of Jefferson County, recently unveiled a newly renovated Clement Park Splash Park. The original water fountain at the location was built in 1987, so in its new form, it now includes Colorado elements such as boulders, water curtains, and a creek-like waterway, as well as new shelters that will be available for rental in order to accommodate birthday parties and gatherings.

“The response from our community has been overwhelming, especially after two years of preparation,” said Ron Hopp, executive director of Foothills. “It’s a free option for people that gets them out enjoying the outdoors.”

Located in Centennial Center Park, the city of Centennial has an award-winning splash pad that, along with the rest of the park, is a state-wide draw, according to Allison Wittern, public information manager with the city. She said children from all over the metro area are bused in during the summer to splash around.

In addition to three ever-popular outdoor pools at three of its recreation centers, Lakewood also has the Ray Ross Splash Pad and Surfside Spray Park, the latter of which is the city’s newest water feature and has been growing in popularity every year.

“Whenever people discover Surfside, they can’t believe it,” Scheck said.

Of course, no article on aquatic entertainment would be complete without mentioning the state’s — and indeed, one of the country’s — largest water park, Water World.

Located on 64 acres and featuring more than 50 attractions, including the brand-new Glacier Run, the park has drawn in more than 15 million people in its 39 years of operation. And 2018 is already off to a promising start, with its busiest June yet, according to Joann Cortez, communications director with the Hyland Hills district.

“We’re a place that has so many amenities, including all kinds of food and cabana rental options, but it is important to us that those are optional,” she added. “We allow people to bring in their own food and drinks, so if a family simply wants to pay admission and not a dollar more, they don’t need to.”

Water World is home to all manner of attractions, from child-friendly areas like Wally World and Turtle Bay to family-friendly experiences like Lost River of the Pharaohs and Voyage to the Center of the Earth, as well more thrilling options like the Skyline Speed Slides.

But what many people aren’t aware of is Water World is publicly owned, so all the money spent there goes to Hyland Hills’ many recreational sports offerings for children in the district.

“We’re constantly evaluating ways we can improve things or change them to be more in line in with what people want,” Cortez said. “We bring money to community programs, local businesses benefit from all the visitors, and most importantly, we’ve provided countless memories to families over the years.”


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