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The Great Outdoors

By Meghan Godby

While the official start of summer isn’t until June 21, there’s no question that the beloved season is already upon us. Temperatures are rising, patios are buzzing with activity, and the air has a distinct aroma of sunscreen and backyard barbecues.

Keeping kids busy and cool can be challenging this time of year. You don’t want to go stir crazy indoors, but sometimes you don’t have time for a full day at the pool or the zoo. The solution? A “splash pad” – a simple, refreshing, kiddo-friendly water feature that won’t break the bank, but will certainly give you a break from the summer heat.

There are several spots to check out within just a few miles of Wheat Ridge. Surfside Spray Park in Lakewood (5330 W. 9th Ave.), for example, is both affordable and conveniently located. The park features two splash pads – one for older children and one for the little ones. Admission is $1 per person; hours vary, call 303-328-5880 for more information.

Arvada also boasts its very own splash pad park at 5850 Garrison St. While this one is free and packed with impressive water features, it can also get crowded, so you might want to come later in the day once the rush has died down. It is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily through Sept. 15.

But what if you don’t feel like venturing too far from home? You’re in luck – Discovery Park (West 38th Avenue and Kipling) is a great (and free!) option right here in Wheat Ridge. While you won’t find any elaborate water features here, that doesn’t prevent the kids from having a fun time. A stomp on the designated area will cause water to shoot up into the air – simple, but delightful to the little ones (and a great way to burn some energy, to boot).

These simple fountains are certainly a fun way to burn an hour or two during the summer, but they aren’t all that Discovery Park has to offer. Once children tire of splashing in the water, there’s a playground and plenty of areas to sprawl out for a family picnic. A small creek is a perfect place for little ones to explore and dip their toes in the water. Even the sandbox has a water spigot! If possible, come during the week to avoid crowds. It’s open until September from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The park also offers stunning views of the foothills, close proximity to the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt, and is right across the street from the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, which offers affordable day rates for its indoor pools.

So if you haven’t stopped by Discovery Park before, make a visit! The splash pad is just the beginning.