By Tammy Smith
It’s a given: Summer in South Mississippi is hot. Even those welcome breezes coming from the Mississippi Sound aren’t enough when the kids are out of school and the temperatures keep climbing.
That’s when water adventures beckon. Here on the Coast, we have an array of options. Find one that appeals to your tribe, grab your swimsuits and swim pants for the littles and head out for some family fun.
You can’t beat a splash pad for quick, easy and inexpensive fun in the water, and the Coast is blessed with several. There is no admission charge, and splash pads are seasonal. Parents, don’t forget the sunscreen, towels and lawn chairs.
BAY ST. LOUIS
• McDonald Park – Washington Avenue. Water rings and toddler sprays. Socks and/or shoes recommended. Infants and toddlers are to wear disposable swim pants. Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. (228) 342- 3664.
• Hiller Park – 380 Hiller Drive. Picnic table, restrooms, playground, water fountains nearby. Splash pad open during warm months, 9 a.m.- 8 p.m. (228) 388-7170.
• John Henry Beck Park – 671 Division St. In addition to the splash pad, features shade structures, restrooms and picnic tables. (228) 388-7170.
• Point Cadet Plaza – 121 Cadet St. Splash pad and playground equipment, plus restrooms. (228) 388-7170.
• Popp’s Ferry Recreational Area – 2141 Popp’s Ferry Road. Splash pad open daily (seasonal) 9 a.m.-8 p.m. (228) 388-7170.
• Woolmarket Splash Pad — 16320 Old Woolmarket Road. (228) 392-5410.
• Rudy Moran – 3100 Georgette Lane. Splash pad and Kaboom playground. (228) 392-7966.
• Gaston Point – 1506 Mills Ave. Water bucket drops, water rings and toddler sprays. Socks and/or shoes recommended. Infants and toddlers are to wear disposable swim pants. (228) 868-5881.
• Jones Park – U.S. 49 and U.S. 90. A zero-depth aquatic solution that features a tropical theme and combines the sensations of different water movements. (228) 868-5881.
• Lyman Splash Pad – 14592 County Farm Road, beside Lyman Senior Center. Open 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (228) 864-4116.
• Orange Grove – 13500 Three Rivers Road, behind the Clarence Johnson Memorial Park/Three Rivers Ball Park. (228) 832-8620.
• West Side – 4010 W. Beach Blvd. The 3,000-square-foot splash pad offers a pirate ship play structure with water bucket drops, several palm trees, water rings and toddler sprays. Infants and toddlers required to wear disposable swim pants; aqua socks/shoes recommended. (228) 868-5881.
• Long Beach Splash Pad – On Harper McCaughn Town Green, 301 Jeff Davis Avenue in downtown Long Beach. Splash pad open May 1-Oct. 1. (228) 669-7601.
Edward Khayat – 2nd Street and Hedgewood Drive. Pavilions, play area, walking track on 13.7 acres. (228) 474-1406.
• Clay Boyd Spray Park – 214 Morris Noble Road. 2,200 square feet of water entertainment plus benches and restrooms. Play structures with water “palm trees,” wave pool, tree house, water rings and toddler sprays. Infants and toddlers required to wear disposable swim pants, and aqua socks/shoes recommended. (228) 875-4236.
• Fort Maurepas – 499 Front Beach Drive. Offers handicap-accessible restrooms and a ship playground. (228) 875-4236.
• Beach Park – 600 City Park St. The splash pad is located within a 14-acre park with restrooms and a concession stand. (228) 938-2356.
• Lum Cumbest Park – 18417 Miss. 613. Restrooms, pavilions in a 100-acre complex. (228) 826-5330.
Most hotels on the Coast have pools, but some have kids specifically in mind. There are also some publicly accessible pools that have minimal charges.
FRANCIS X COLLINS LIFETIME FITNESS CENTER
— 2204 Swetman Blvd., Gulfport
This fitness center, part of the City of Gulfport’s Department of Leisure Services, offers an outdoor pool.
Facility use is $2 per person, regardless of age. Hours are 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. (228) 868-5791.
MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST YMCA BLOSSMAN FAMILY BRANCH
– 1810 Government St., Ocean Springs
The Blossman Family YMCA offers an indoor swimming pool.
A parent must accompany children under 8 years old. Children 8-10 must have a parent in the facility and must take a swim test. Those 11 years and older may use the facility without parental supervision and must take a swim test.
The Blossman Family YMCA offers local guests (within a 50-mile radius) a maximum of one complimentary day pass per calendar year. There is a $8 day pass charge for the second and third visits. After that, membership is required.
Guests visiting from 50 miles away or more may visit for up to two weeks (a total of 14 days per year. The fee for out-of-town guests is $8 per visit or $20 per week. (228) 875-5050 or mgcymca.org.
KROC CENTER MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST
– 575 Division St., Biloxi
Non-members of the Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center may purchase two-hour guest swim passes at $10 per person. Children ages 2 and under are admitted free and must wear a swim diaper and a plastic waterproof cover over the diaper.
The Kroc Center’s indoor pool features a two-story water slide, splash area, a lazy river and a zero-entry pool.
Purchase passes up to four days in advance (highly advised) by visiting the Kroc Center or online at www.krocmscoast.org or (228) 207-1218.
OASIS RESORT, CENTENNIAL PLAZA
– 200 E. Beach Blvd., Gulfport
Facing the Mississippi Sound on the historic grounds of Centennial Plaza, the Oasis Resort features two giant water slides with fun twists and turns. There’s also a colorful splash pad with smaller slides. The zero-entry pool is little-kid friendly.
You must be a registered guest to access the pool area and present an active hotel key card or wristband. (228) 206- 7880; centennialplazams.com
– 195 Beach Blvd., Biloxi
Atop Margaritaville, you’ll find a 450-foot lazy river, twisting and turning slides, a water ropes course and huge flip flops to hop across.
The water playground is exclusive to hotel guests. margaritavilleresortbiloxi.com/pool.
GULF ISLANDS WATERPARK
– 13100 16th St., located off I-10 (take U.S. 49 North to Landon Road), in the Gulfport Sportsplex, Gulfport
With rides and slides with names like Horn Island Blaster, Deer Island Express, Cat Island Catapult and Ship Island Wreck, Gulf Islands Waterpark pays homage to its home with coastal themes. Slow things down with a float on the Lazy Pearl River, enjoy the Spray St. Louis and the Waveland Wave Pool and test your balance skills on the Pascagoula. Take a break at Petit Bois Island Café’ or Polly’s Sweet Stuff.
The park is open daily from May 25 to Aug. 3 this year, then on weekends through Sept. 5. For specific hours, contact the park or visit the website.
Gate prices for general admission are $44.99 for 42 inches (3.5 feet) and taller, $29.99 for under 42 inches. For more pricing details, contact the park or visit the website. (228) 328-1266. www.gulfislandswaterpark.com
BUCCANEER BAY WATERPARK
1150 S. Beach Blvd., Waveland, in Buccaneer State Park
This 4.5-acre park overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is managed by the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Parks. There are all sorts of water fun available, such as Pirate’s Lagoon Wave Pool, a 17,400 square-foot surf pool; Pirate’s Plunge, a 425-foot twisting and turning body slide and Pirate’s Plank, a 375-foot completely enclosed waterslide. Little ones will enjoy Lil’ Smuggler’s Cove, a water playground with bubbler and tipping buckets.
Enjoy concessions at Sea Dog Galley and soak up the sun at Treasure Island, a 10,000 square-foot sun deck and lounge area.
Splash Island – a 5,000 square-foot pool, three waterslides, giant buckets and interactive water features – is scheduled to open this summer.
Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily May 28 to July 31, then weekends only Aug. 1 to Sept. 5 (Labor Day) this year.
Regular admission is $19 for 48 inches and taller and $13 for under 48 inches. For more pricing details, contact the park or visit the website. (228) 467-3822; https://www.mdwfp.com/parks-destinations/state-parks/buccaneer/waterpark