There is a phenomenon in Colorado where, without fail, after expressing your discomfort with the heat, some asshat will chime in with a curt and sassy, "But it's a dry heat."
Let's put an end to this annoyance right now: Heat is heat, hot is hot, and it doesn't matter if you're in the jungle and feel like you're walking around inside of someone's mouth or in the desert wishing you had an Evian atomizer. Either way you're hot, sweating and uncomfortable.
This summer when those dog days get extra doggy, take that "dry heat" nonsense and shove it, because there's nothing better than getting wet on a hot day. There are aquatic attractions in Colorado Springs, and if you've got a couple bucks to spare and a bikini you'd like to embarrass yourself in, then there's no better way to beat the heat than a good dousing.
Spray and splash
If you are an infant, were recently an infant, or are a teenager with no money and no car and your mom wants you out of the house because it's hot and you're sucking up all the air, then the Deerfield Hills Sprayground (4290 Deerfield Hills Road, springsgov.com) is where it's at come June 1, weather permitting. Though it's lesser-known than the Uncle Wilber Fountain (Acacia Park, 115 E. Platte Ave., springsgov.com), on hot days you can see large numbers of children, many in street clothes, running through streams of water and falling down and skinning their knees and basically having the time of their lives. Adults and teenagers, on most days, do not enjoy this activity nearly as much, but it's free, and running through the jets in your sundress is a good way to show a date how quirky and spontaneous you are.
If a splash park isn't your bag, and it probably isn't, then municipal pools are a good option for watery fun. But be warned: City-owned pools are always a crapshoot. They're usually kind of scuzzy and warm and bring in about 8,000 people a day. And then there are the X factors: tween boys with goggles, teenage girls who don't swim but hog the deck chairs for tanning (go home!) and hairy grandpas who insist on doing laps, no matter how crowded it is.
But every now and then, at the right time of day when the crowd has yet to arrive, the water is still cool, and you finally have an opportunity to show your girlfriend your sweet back flip moves in the deep end ... oh yeah, that's the magic hour. That $7 is totally worth it. For locations, openings, hours and admission prices on all of the municipal swimming pools Colorado Springs offers, visit springsgov.com.
Some people prefer a more natural approach to their swimming, and while we may not have an ocean nearby where waves gently lap at sugary white sands and the sun sets every evening in an explosion of pinks and tangerines over crystal-clear waters the color of emeralds, we do have Prospect Lake. Located in Memorial Park (1605 E. Pikes Peak Ave., but the swim beach is located on the Union Boulevard side) right in the middle of town, Prospect Lake offers a large body of water suitable for swimmers and jetskiers and boaters as well. Sure, there aren't dolphins or Jimmy Buffet-isms, but maybe a duck will paddle up to your floaty. That would be neat, huh?
If you're looking for something a bit bigger than just a lake in a downtown park, try Lake Pueblo State Park (640 Pueblo Reservoir Road, parks.state.co.us/parks/lakepueblo). Reservoirs and lakes are the Middle American's beach. They're muddy and kind of icky, but drink enough beer and you'll think you're in Tahiti.
The best thing about heading to Lake Pueblo (Pueblo Dam's reservoir) is that there's more room than any other swimming spot in town. Everywhere else, you may be forced to bump shoulders with strangers who are just as stinky and sweaty as you are; the reservoir will generally allow you room for a towel or two and even a game of catch if you've tired of swimming.
If you want to save a little money, you can always just hose yourself off in the backyard or fill the tub with cold water, but there really is something especially fun and summery about belly flops and ill-fitting bathing suits. So bring a picnic, an inner tube, your niece and her water wings, and lots of sun block, and prepare for an excellent afternoon of swimming and sunburn. In summer time it's damn hot, but the living is easy when you've got a body of water close by.