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Instant fun, just add water

Beat the heat this summer at some of the Coast's coolest spots

GULF ISLANDS WATERPARK

With its slides, water rides, pools and other attractions, Gulf Islands Waterpark is an ideal way to spend a sweltering summer day. Adventurous kids can grab a mat and challenge each other on the Riptide Racer, undertake a 400-plus foot rafting adventure on the Camille Cutter or brave the Deer Island Express tunnel slide. Smaller children can play at Pelican’s Bay, featuring water cannons, giant squirt guns, a 200-foot shallow wad- ing area and more. Waterpark any-day tickets are $39.99 for those 42 inches tall and over, $29.99 for those below; patrons also can buy season passes.

17200 16th St., Gulfport www.gulfislandswaterpark.com

SALVATION ARMY CROC CENTER

Kids and adults alike can appreciate The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center indoor aquatic facility, offering a recreation and lap pool, Jumbo Shrimp slide, splash pads and more. Visitors can buy a guest pass for scheduled two-hour public sessions ($10 per per- son, ages 2 and under free); purchase in person at the center or online.

575 Division St., Biloxi, www.krocmscoast.org

SUMMER SPLASH BASH, MARGARITAVILLE

On Friday nights in the summer, Margaritaville Resort resumes its popular Summer Splash Bash pool parties. Featuring a kid-friendly DJ, this is the only time of the year when the resort’s pool is open to non-hotel guests. Admission is $15 and free for children 5 and younger.

195 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, www.margaritavilleresortbiloxi.com

BUCCANEER BAY WATERPARK

This 4.5-acre aquatic oasis will keep the whole family cool and entertained. Thrill seekers won’t want to miss Pirate’s Plank, a 375-foot waterslide, and the Pirate’s Plunge, a 425-foot twisting and turning body slide. A 460,000-gallon wave pool can generate up to eight different wave patterns. Regular admission is $19 — or $13 for those under 48 inches tall. Group reservations and season passes also are available.

1150 S. Beach Blvd., Waveland; www. mdwfp.com/parks-destinations/state- parks/buccaneer/waterpark/

GOLDEN NUGGET POOL

Alternate between lounging and swimming at the Golden Nugget’s H2O Pool + Bar. Visitors can take advantage of amenities like chaise lounge chairs, daybeds, fire pits and a hot tub. Admission is complimentary for hotel guests and $20 for non-guests Monday through Friday ($30 on weekends). All guests under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

151 Beach Blvd., Biloxi, www. goldennugget.com/biloxi/amenities/ h2o-pool/

SPLASH PADS

For free, convenient entertainment on a hot day, it’s hard to beat the numerous splash pads available along the Coast. Kids can enjoy hours of water play without the need for lifeguards.

Some of the region’s popular splash pads include:

• Point Cadet splash pad, Point Cadet Plaza, 120 Cadet Street, Biloxi

• Jones Park splash pad, Highway 49 and Highway 90, Gulfport

• Clay Boyd Park splash pad, 214 Morris Noble Road, Ocean Springs

• Fort Maurepas City Park and Nature Preserve, 499 Front Beach Drive, Ocean Springs

• Popp’s Ferry Recreational Area, 2150 Popp’s Ferry Road, Biloxi

• Long Beach splash pad, Harper McCaughn Town Green, 301 Jeff Davis Ave., Long Beach

• Clay Boyd Park, 214 Morris Noble Road, Ocean Springs

• John Henry Beck Park, 671 Division St., Biloxi

• West Side Splash Park, 4010 West Beach Blvd., Gulfport

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