By DEBBIE FLESSNER

Go Columnist

On a week when Southwest Florida was breaking heat records right and left, I made the wise decision to head to a water park.

I had not been to Cape Coral’s Sun Splash Family Waterpark since my sons were all very young, but I remembered it being a great place to take little ones. When you have young children, one of those huge Disney water parks, or even Adventure Island up in Tampa, can be a little overwhelming in their size. After all, if there was ever a place you would most definitely not want to misplace your children, it’s somewhere they could potentially drown.

Sun Splash takes up about 14 acres and is much more compact than the other parks, though it actually does hold the title of Southwest Florida’s largest water park. They also pack a ton of fun into that space, so there’s plenty of activities to keep everyone happy.

After I took a walk around the park to take pictures for this column, I stowed my camera in a locker and went to go have some fun. The lockers, by the way, are $6 for a small one and $8 for a large one. You initially pay $5 more than that for each size, but get that amount back when you return the locker key. Also up in the front of the park is a large rack with complimentary life jacket rental, and they have all sizes available.

I started out my water adventures with a spin around the Main Stream River Tube Ride, Sun Splash’s version of a lazy river, and it was glorious. There were plenty of rafts available to use, unlike at some other waterparks I’ve been to, and I didn’t have to wait in line to borrow one.

After I was done there, I hit the slides — all of them. I’m a big fan of rides, whether it’s a roller coaster or a water slide. The nice thing about the slides at Sun Splash is that while there are certainly tall and fast ones, like the five-and-a-half story X-celterator, there are also smaller ones, like the Drop Slides. Even the small ones do have a height requirement of at least 48 inches, but if your little thrill seeker is shorter than that, there are plenty of water activities for him or her, too.

There’s a family pool, which has a Rain Tree, and one of the newest attractions at the park, Pirate’s Cove, is also meant for the little ones. In those areas of the park in particular, there is a lot of seating for adults, like cabanas, lounge chairs, etc. And though you are not allowed to bring food and beverages into the park, there are several places there you can get lunch, snacks, ice cream and drinks, as well as beer and wine for those who are of age.

I spent about two hours going down the slides and ended my day with about five laps around the Main Stream, during which I was so relaxed that I almost fell asleep — something that I would have never let myself do if I was there with my own children.

I guess this empty nester thing isn’t so bad, after all.

Debbie Flessner writes the Live Like a Tourist column for the Sun newspapers. You may contact her at dj@flessner.net.

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