Unless you have your own pool in the backyard, when the temperatures finally start to rise again around Los Altos, you may be wondering where you can take the kids to cool off on the hottest of days.
Once again, Patch Picks comes to the rescue! Here are five great places near Los Altos where you can take the kids to cool off. Some you may have heard of, some may be new to you—either way, whip out the calendar, call the kids’ best friends to join in on the fun, and go get cool!
Where: Located inside California’s Great America theme park, 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. Open seven days a week through Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Why Go: Want the feel of a private beach resort vacation, without leaving the area? Boomerang Bay has features both the kids and the adults can appreciate. For the kids (and maybe even you adventurous adults), there are a wealth of three-story high water slides, the Great Barrier Reef wave pool to practice your body-surfing techniques in, mega-powerful sprinklers to run around and get doused under, plus even smaller water features babies can play in. For the adults, there is the swanky Cabana Village. For between $48-99—depending on the day of the week and whether you have season passes that earn you discounts—you can rent a cabana package that comes with a large, family-size tent that can shield you from the sun and allow you to relax privately, as well as other perks such as pool-side waiter service; two pool-side lounge chairs for sunning yourself in, reserved just for you; a patio table with four chairs; and all-day use of both inner tubes for Castaway Creek, and lockers for your personal items.
Pricing: One-day admission tickets are $34.99 for children age 3 and older that are under 48 inches tall, and for seniors 62 and older; $54.99 for ages 3 and older that are taller than 48 inches. Children 2 and under are always free. Season passes average around $59.99 each. Parking is $12 per vehicle unless you have a Gold or Platinum season pass. Admission to Boomerang Bay is included in admission to the theme park.
Where: Raging Waters, 2333 S. White Road, San Jose. Open seven days a week. Park opens at 10:30 a.m. and closing time varies between 5-7 p.m. depending on the day of the week and weather.
Why Go: Whether your kid just wants to swim and splash a little, or you have a water-loving daredevil on your hands, you can’t go wrong taking the kids to Raging Waters on a hot day. In addition to smaller water features for swimming lazily and running beneath sprinklers, Raging Waters is known for having some of the most daring water features around, such as the new “Bombs Away” ride. For this attraction, a person steps into a narrow “capsule” a whopping five stories above Lake Cunningham, only to have a “trap door” release beneath their feet and drop them, free-falling for several seconds before being dropped into a deep pool at the bottom. Other popular attractions include water rides like the Barracuda Blaster, Shotgun Falls, Serpentine Slides, and less daring, older favorites like the Endless River and the Activity Pool.
Pricing: Season passes are $52.99 each, or $42.99 when you buy two or more at once. Single-day tickets are $23.99 for kids under 48 inches tall or seniors 60 years and older, or $33.99 for anyone taller than 48 inches. Kids two and under are always free and can enjoy a few smaller water features.
Where: 777 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. Open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Friday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The lap pool is open Monday through Friday, 1:30-4:30 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays, 11:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Why Go: If you just want a more relaxing day at the pool without all the hustle and bustle of a major theme park, Rinconada Pool in Palo Alto is a great place to bring kids of all ages. It boasts features like the Lemon Drop Geysers, a circular waterfall, the “Aqua-Ducks” water bicycles that squirt water, plus a zero-depth faux-beach area ideal for infants with a small slide. The lap pool is fun for swimmers of all ages, with two diving boards, a shallow area, a middle-depth area and three lanes for lap swimming. Best part—both pools are heated to 80 degrees, so no having to worry about the little ones shivering and turning blue!
Pricing: Daily drop-in rates are: $2 for infants, $4 for ages 3-17, $5 for ages 18-59, and $3 for seniors 60 and older. Purchase a regular membership for daily discounts of 50 cents to $1 per day, available on site at the pool office.
Where: Fremont Avenue near Grant Road in Los Altos.
Why Go: Parents continuously praise this park for its plentiful parking, stroller-friendliness, large grass area, wealth of picnic tables and benches, and dual playground structures—one for bigger kids and another for smaller tykes. In the summer, Marymeade is the area’s best-kept secret—the playground features a water and sand play area. In its never-ending quest to be “green,” the City of Los Altos installed a recycled water feature. A fountain comes on for 30 minutes, then shuts off for 30 minutes to recycle and filter the water so it always comes out clean. So every 30 minutes, the kids get a treat as the water feature comes to life, splashing down on a little rock area and flowing into the sand, making for excellent sandcastle-building fun.
Where: 600 E. Meadow Dr., Palo Alto.
Why Go: Another great park with water features in close proximity! Mitchell Park in Palo Alto is known for its plentiful shade, large grassy area, softball fields and baseball diamonds, tennis courts, and, in the summer, its water features for kids that need cooling off. Parents are often heard referring to it as the “mini-water park” in the summer, with several water fountains the kids can run around under. For a day full of play, there are also a large sandbox area, swings, slides, and many climbing structures, plus BBQ pits for some serious summer picnicking. Oh, and don't forget, plenty of parking!