Some of the biggest draws in Denver during the summer are Water World and the water park at Elitch Gardens. Visitors and residents alike fill the two parks to their limits and wait in huge lines to get on both the theme park and water park attractions.
The cost for playing in the water can be pretty hefty, especially if you have a family to entertain. With admission costs of $30-$40 per person (depending on age), a family of four can easily spend well over $150 -- and that is just to get in the door.
So where can you go for a little more fun than the regular swimming pool, minus the cost? There are a variety of water parks around the state -- which include some rec centers -- that will meet the needs of your family, guests, and pocket book. Check out these locations where you can make a day of playing in the water and relaxing in the sun.
Golden: The Splash at Fossil Trace
$3.50-$9/person depending on age and residency
Splash is an amazing replacement for a giant water park. With a ticket price under $10 for any family member, you can bring a picnic lunch and set up for the day. Splash boasts two large water slides, a large play area with fountains and a dumping bucket for the kids, as well as a sandy play area when they just need a break from all the water. Older family members can enjoy the lap pools as well as “adult swim” at the end of each hour.
Englewood: Pirate’s Cove
$6.50-$9.75/person depending on age and residency
Pirate’s Cove is another scaled down version of a water park Denver families and visitors can enjoy. Complete with a lazy river, dump bucket with fountains and sand area, slides and a lap pool, Pirate’s Cove has everything one of the large parks has to offer. They also offer family passes, annual passes, and punch cards to help out with costs.
Wheat Ridge: Anderson Pool
$3.50-$6.50/person depending on age and residency
Who says the neighborhood pool is boring? There is a large water slide and a water play area for the little ones. Want a little privacy to swim void of children? There is also an indoor lap pool. Anderson Pool features sun-kissed as well as tree covered grassy areas to get comfortable. They also offer punch cards, family of four rates and annual passes.
Lakewood: The Link
$4-$5/person depending on age
This isn’t an outdoor pool, but it will always be open no matter what the forecast says. The pirate ship comes complete with fountains for all the kids to play in and a giant dragon slide that goes outside of the building and back in again for the final splash. There is also a deeper pool for the bigger kids and better swimmers to play in. It isn’t the biggest pool in town, but it is pretty fun for the little ones.
Arvada: Apex Center
$3-$6.75/person depending on age and residency
Apex may be an indoor facility, but it doesn’t skimp on the fun. Equipped with an indoor zero-depth “beach” play area with slides, fountains, waterfalls and geysers as well as slides and vortex pools, this can be a great way to spend the day. Apex also sports a lap pool for those who want to get a workout in. In addition to the daily admission costs, Apex offers annual passes and punch cards.
Durango: Durango Recreation Center
$4.50-$5.75/person depending on age
The rec center in Durango offers something that few other places do: kayaking. For a mere $3 a boat (plus the cost of admission or a membership) you can take a boat into the rapid pool and learn how to kayak with the experts. They also feature a leisure pool as well as a slide and hot tub. It might not be a water park but it will keep you cool when it’s hot out.
Glenwood Springs: Glenwood Hot Springs
$9.75-$19.25/person depending on age and time of year
Glenwood Springs is known for, well, its springs. The hot springs have been used for recreation since the 19th century. The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge now houses many of the guests who visit the hot springs but you are not required to be a guest to partake of the amazing set up that they have there. Complete with kiddie pool and water slides, the hot springs pool has something for everyone. They also offer water slide only passes, season passe,s and more to match your budget and your itinerary.
Glenwood Springs: Glenwood Springs Aquatic Center
$8-$11/person depending on age and residency
Not in the mood for a “hot springs” experience? Glenwood also has something for those who just want to take a dip. The Aquatic Center in Glenwood Springs also offers kayaking for the adventure seekers. There is a water slide for older kids as well as a zero-depth play area complete with fountains for all to enjoy. Sporting lap pools and hot tubs, there is something for everyone in this mountain town center.
Alamosa: Inn of the Rio Grande
Free admission with hotel stay
Although you need to treat this more as a getaway since you are required to stay in the hotel, this indoor water park offers everything you could want and more. The Inn boasts a 155-foot-long giant water slide and kiddie slide for the little ones plus a splash pool, recreation pool and a kiddie pool. They also offer water basketball and volleyball. There's something for everyone and it’s all included in the price of your room stay.
Grand Junction: Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool
$1.00-$4.75/person depending on age
Lincoln Park-Moyer Pool not only offers public swim but also a waterslide for all and a splash pad for little ones. The pool hosts many community events especially those aligned with the end of the school year for the kids to celebrate the summer! Since it is part of the rec center memberships and punch cards are offered so you can make the best of your summer on a budget.