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Water wings

A guide to local swimming for kids and grown-ups



So here you are, looking ahead at a long hot summer, and if you're a parent, you've got kids with energy and time, time, time.

Go to the pool.

Hell, if you're a hot, bored adult with a day of freedom on your hands, go to the pool.

Below you'll find some options for public-access pools and spray grounds/splash pads. Some cost as much as $25 for a family day pass; others cost nothing. Most of the places that follow won't open until Memorial Day weekend, but the indoor ones are accessible year-round.

In or out, remember the golden rules: No running, and no peeing.

The city of Colorado Springs and local branch of the YMCA have partnered on municipal pools, which means you don't need a Y membership to visit.

First, the indoor affairs: Memorial Park Recreation Center (280 S. Union Blvd., bit.ly/1GL8Wvw) and Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center (3920 Dublin Blvd., bit.ly/1Jm2AFu). Both are open daily and cost the same to attend: $8 adults, $6 kids 3-17 (2 and under free), $25 for a family max of two adults and four kids. At Memorial, amenities include a 25-yard pool with a separate children's pool that comes with a slide, as well as an on-site hot tub and "a relaxing and fun bubble couch for the entire family." Cottonwood Creek offers a zero-depth indoor wave pool, a lazy river, water slides and a vortex.

Come May 23, you can take the party outside and hit up sites including Wilson Ranch (2335 Allegheny Drive, bit.ly/1KHMSpp), Portal (3535 N. Hancock Ave., bit.ly/1AAw0uG) and Monument Valley (220 Mesa Road, bit.ly/1ceHE98) pools. Costs are similar to the indoor spots, with the well-appointed Wilson Ranch a few bucks extra and the humble-but-fun Prospect Lake Beach (619 Prospect Lake Drive, bit.ly/1GVFqFZ) the cheapest. Find prices for all these at bit.ly/1JMGn71.

Outside the YMCA's purview, the 25-yard Manitou Springs Pool (202 Manitou Ave., manitoupool.com) is an indoor option that uses ozone with a little chlorine to cleanse the waters. It's easier on eyes and skin than chlorine alone. Costs are $6.50 for adults, $4 for youths 17 and under, $3 for kids under 2 (or free with a paid adult). Factor in extra fees for shower use, as well as discounts for seniors, military and first responders.

Now then, the freebies. These aren't pools, and they're more kid-centric, but there's much to enjoy in the cool, toe-deep waters of, say, the Julie Penrose Fountain (126 Cimino Drive, bit.ly/1Jm2Kgd) in America the Beautiful Park. The four-story sculpture in the middle, "Continuum," from local artist Bill Burgess, is magnificent to look upon, and when it sheds sheets of water from the center of the loop, the water rolls down a sloped concrete platform. It's open 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, May 23 through Aug. 16, with reduced hours through Labor Day weekend. According to Springs Parks and Rec, "fountains are supervised by trained CPR/First Aid staff members."

Long anchoring a corner of Acacia Park is the Uncle Wilber Fountain (115 E. Platte Ave., unclewilberfountain.org) that runs — with pauses for the sculpture to open up and blast music — from noon to 6 daily, starting May 23.

East of Academy Boulevard, the Deerfield Hills Spray Ground at Deerfield Hills Community Center (4290 Deerfield Hills Road; for hours, see bit.ly/1yKozp4) opens June 1 and runs daily through Labor Day. Kids can play with water spray features that include geysers, soak stations and over 50 individual spray nozzles.

Aga Park's Splash Pad is a 4,000-square-foot extravaganza in Fountain (507 N. El Paso St.). It's open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. starting May 23, is unsupervised, and offers features that read like a zoo inventory: "side winder, bullfrog, water bug, donut spray, water jelly, frog and elephant cannon, seahorse cannon, dumping pelican, dumping bells, whale spray, wavy palm, dumping coconuts."

Finally, for the Powers set, there's a splash fountain at First & Main Town Center (3650 New Center Point) in the park before the movie theaters. It opens mid-month and runs daily from 10 a.m. to dusk.

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