Tuesday, June 13, 2000

To beat summer's heat, find a place to plunge in and GET WET!




By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When the mercury rises, Pam Price packs up her family and heads to the beach — at East Fork State Park.

        “Since we live on the east side it's the closest,” the Mount Washington woman says. “I like it because it's not horrifically crowded, and everybody there isn't tanned.”

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East Fork State Park
(Enquier photo)
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        Not everyone has a swimming pool in their back yard or community. Nor can everyone afford to join a swim club. So, while kiddie pools and water sprinklers get their share of use during the long, hot summer, sometimes, Tristaters get the urge to travel for a more thorough plunge.

        We asked the Enquirer's Internet Family Resource Panel for their ideas on where to go to get wet.

        They head to the obvious spots — the waterparks — and the not so obvious — the wet playgrounds at Winton Woods, Sharon Woods and Miami Whitewater Forest.

        Nora Rubinoff and her family of West Chester visit the “blue playground” at Sharon Woods once or twice a month because it's less crowded and more relaxed than the waterparks, where they also have memberships.

        “It's easier to keep track of your kids without feeling like you need to be in the water right on top of them,” Mrs. Rubinoff says. “My 5-year-old son can easily flit between dry and wet play.”

        What's more, she can take a picnic lunch — something she can't do at the Beach or Kings Island. It all adds up to a less expensive outing. Meanwhile, the Morrises of Pleasant Ridge have had season passes to the Beach for several years. “The variety of stuff to do kept my kids entertained as teens,” Mimi Morris says. “For me, I just sit in the Pearl and veg out or circle endlessly in a tube on the Lazy Miami.”

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Paramount's Kings Island
(Enquier photo)
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        Among other favorite spots: Rocky Fork Lake near Hillsboro, Cowan Lake at Wilmington and Brookville Lake in southeastern Indiana. And, don't forget the fountain at Yeatman's Cove/Sawyer Point.

        “It's fun to climb the stairs and get splashed by the water and duck under the waterfalls,” says Laura Randall of Mount Lookout.

        Sometimes, her family goes to Acton Lake at Hueston Woods. “It's great to go to a lake with toddlers because they can wade at the water line or sit down in five inches of water and play with their floating toys,” Mrs. Randall says.

        Here's a sample of favorite spots to cool off:

Water parks
        The Beach, 2590 Water Park Drive, Mason.

        • Facilities: The 35-acre park offers more than 40 rides and attractions, ranging from the the Pearl, a warm water pool, to the Aztec Adventure, a watercoaster that includes a triple-drop speedslide. Kids have their own play area.

        • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. seven days a week. Closed to the public July 15 and Aug. 26.

        • Cost: $21.95; $6.95 children under 48 inches; $11.95, seniors. Discounts after 4 p.m. Parking, $4.

        • Information: 398-7946.

        Coney Island Amusement Park, 6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Township.

        • Facilities: Sunlite Pool is the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world, holding more than 3 million gallons of water at depths ranging from six inches to 10 feet.

        • Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. seven days a week.

        • Cost: $10.95; $8.95 children (4-11); $7.95, seniors. Parking, $4.

        • Information: 232-8230.

        Paramount's Kings Island, 6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason.

        • Facilities: WaterWorks includes a children's area, 600,000-gallon wave pool, bodyboarding and 30 acres of tubes, slides and other attractions. Also, check out Nickelodeon's Splat City in the main park.

        • Hours: Gates open at 9 a.m. and attractions open at 10 a.m. Closing time varies.

        • Cost: Free with park admission: $38.99; $19.50, children ages 3-6 or under 48 inches, and seniors. Parking, $7.

        • Information: 754-5700.

        Surf Cincinnati Waterpark, 11460 Sebring Drive, Forest Park.

        • Facilities: Fifteen water attractions, billing itself as home to Cincinnati's largest wave pool.

        • Hours: 11 a.m. 7 p.m. seven days a week.

        • Cost: $14.95; $5.95, under 48 inches and seniors. Bumper boats, miniature golf and go-karts included in price. No parking charge.

        • Information: 742-0620.

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Miami Whitewater Forest
(Enquier photo)
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Wet playgrounds
        The Hamilton County Park District operates three wet playgrounds with water spray features, designed for ages 12 and under.

        Toddlers wearing diapers must wear swim diapers underneath bathing suits. Swim diapers are sold for $1.50 at the parks. Swimsuits also are sold for $8 for boys and $10 for girls.

        Winton Woods, Greenhills.

        • Facilities: Parky's Ark.

        • Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily, weather permitting, through Aug. 27, then weekends through Sept. 10.

        • Cost: Free admission. $1 daily parking fee or $3 annual parking pass.

        • Information: 521-7275.

        Miami Whitewater Forest, Harrison.

        • Facilities: Parky's Pirate Cove.

        • Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. daily, weather permitting, through Aug. 27, then weekends through Sept. 10.

        • Cost: Free admission. $1 daily parking fee or $3 annual parking pass.

        • Information: 521-7275.

        Sharon Woods, Sharonville.

        • Facilities: Harbor Playground has small spray features that are less elaborate than Parky's Ark and Parky's Pirate Cove.

        • Hours: Open daily.

        • Cost: Free admission. $1 daily parking fee or $3 annual parking pass.

        • Information: 521-7275.

State parks
        Caesar Creek,
8570 East Ohio 73, Waynesville. From Cincinnati: I-71 North to Ohio 73. Left on 73; park entrance about six miles on the right.

        • Facilities: The park has a 1,300-foot beach for swimming, a concession area and changing booths.

        • Hours: Swimming, sunrise to sunset.

        • Cost: Free.

        • Information: (513) 897-3055.

        East Fork State Park, Bethel, off Ohio 125. From Cincinnati: I-471 South to I-275 East. Exit No. 65 at Beechmont/Amelia/Ohio 125. Right on 125 and continue east 11 miles.

        • Facilities: East Fork Lake has 1,200 feet of public beach on the south side of the park with a concession, bathhouse and picnic area. A small camper's beach, open to campers and guests, is located on the north side of the park.

        • Hours: Swimming, sunrise to sunset.

        • Cost: Free.

        • Information: 734-4323.

        General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, Ky. From Cincinnati: I-71 South to Carrollton exit. Turn right and follow signs.

        • Lake with public beach for swimming.

        • Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

        • Cost: Free.

        • Information: (502) 732-4384.

        Hueston Woods, Route 1, College Corner. From Cincinnati: U.S. 27 North to Oxford; in center of Oxford, right on Ohio 732 North to park entrance.

        • Facilities: A 1,500-foot beach, with concession stand and bathhouse on the west shore of Acton Lake, is open to the public. Hueston Woods Resort & Conference Center offers indoor and outdoor pools.

        • Hours: Swimming, sunrise to sunset.

        • Cost: Free.

        • Information: (513) 523-6347. (513) 523-6381 for resort.

       



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