By Julie Landry Laviolette
You’re standing five stories above the water park. Four corkscrew water slides await you, each spiraling some 400 feet to a plunge pool below.
Which shall you choose? The green slide offers the gentlest ride, (if cascading down to earth carried by hundreds of gallons of water can be called “gentle.”) The blue and yellow slides are the fastest, and the orange is the curviest.
Does it really matter? On the Paradise Pipeline water slide, it all comes down to 35 seconds of twisting, turning, splashing fun.
Paradise Pipeline is the newest addition to Paradise Cove, a 4.69-acre Miami water park inside C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.
The fact is, South Florida is sprinkled with splash playgrounds and real life water parks and splash playgrounds that don’t cost a bucket of money. If you’re looking for a place to cool off and have fun with the family without hitting the beach, take the plunge at one of these recreation areas. Most allow coolers (but usually no glass or alcoholic beverages), and many have concession stands, changing areas and shady spots.
At Paradise Cove, all-day admission is $9.50, which drops to $6.50 after 3 p.m. Children under 1 are free.
This family-friendly Florida water park offers something for all ages. Tots can play safely at Parrot’s Point, a 12-inch-deep pool with two small water slides and interactive play spots for kids ages 5 and younger. Older kids and adults will like Sharky’s Lagoon, an 18-inch-deep pool with three water slides (83, 93, and 125 feet long) and interactive splash zones. Or grab an inflated tube, kick back and float around Crazy Creek, a 410-foot-long lazy river that meanders around the park.
Coolers are OK here. There are two concession stands where you can grab pizza and ice cream, and there are first-come, first-served lounge chairs and picnic tables with shade umbrellas. Large shade pavilions also can be rented.
Paradise Cove is open weekends March through October, and daily in the summer. C.B. Smith Park is located at 900 N. Flamingo Road, Pembroke Pines. Call 954-357-5170.
Other Broward County water parks:
This park features two water playgrounds: one for tots, with small slides and places to climb, and one for older kids, with three slides, water guns and an oversize bucket that dumps water onto the crowd below. There’s also a swimming pool. Coolers are OK. Admission is $5; kids under 1 are free. Located at Central Broward Regional Park, 3700 N.W. 11th Place, Lauderhill. Call 954-357-5400.
Slides, water tunnels, interactive valves, wheels and levers are all part of the fun at this interactive children’s water playground. A massive bucket fills and empties onto the zero-depth entry pool, which is 12 inches at its deepest. Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult 18 or older. Admission is $5; kids under 1 are free. Coolers are OK. Located at Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach. Call 954-357-5100.
A zero-depth entry Swim Lagoon with a waterfall is part of this aquatic complex, which includes a marina with kayak and peddle-boat rentals. An interactive water playground for tots features a small slide and places to climb. A playground for older kids features slides, splash areas and a huge bucket that fills and regularly spills. Coolers are OK, and there is a concession stand onsite. Admission is $8; which drops to $5 after 3 p.m.Children under 1 are free. Located at T.Y. (Topeekeegee Yugnee) Park,3300 N. Park Road, Hollywood. Call 954-357-8811.
Miami-Dade County Parks offers splash playgrounds, with small slides, climbing spaces, and interactive water features, at several of its parks and recreational spaces. Some water features are open summers only. Call for the hours before you visit one of these water parks in Miami.
A.D. (Doug) Barnes Park
3401 SW 72 Ave., Miami
Colonial Drive Park
10750 SW 156 Terrace, Miami
11350 SW 216 St., Miami
Gwen Cherry Park
7090 NW 22 Ave., Miami
14150 SW 264 St., Miami
North Pointe Community Center
7351 NW 186 St., Miami
Palm Springs North Pool (NW)
7901 NW 176 St., Miami
Sgt. Joseph Delancy Park
14450 Boggs Drive, Miami
South Dade Park
28151 SW 164th Ave, Miami
12400 SW 152 St., Miami
The zoo offers several splash zones and water play areas throughout the park. Zoo admission of $17.95 for ages 13 and older and $13.95 for kids 3-12 is required.
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