Here’s a guide to the ocean alternatives that help make our home a water-lover’s paradise. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
Published: May 29, 2019
By: Greg Carannante
Take a deep breath, hold your nose, dive in, splash around, swim a lap, skim down the slide, dodge the water cannons, run through the fountain. However you want to soak yourself and beat the heat this summer, here’s a guide to the ocean alternatives that help make our home a water-lover’s paradise. (Don’t forget the sunscreen!)
A.D. “Doug” Barnes Park
Located in southwest Miami on a 65-acre oasis of family-friendly green space, the park features a 25-meter six-lane heated pool. Swim lessons for children and water exercises for seniors are also available, and there’s also a lake for fishing.
3701 SW 72 Ave.
Bucky Dent Water Park
Dueling waterslides snaking down from a height of 30 feet entice riders back for plenty of “go-agains.” But there’s also a zero-depth-entry pool for parents and toddlers to relax, as well as learn-to-swim classes in heated pools for ages 6 months to adult. Like its Hialeah cousin, McDonald Water Park, Bucky Dent is a favorite of summer water camps.
2240 W. 60 St., Hialeah
Cutler Ridge Park and Pool
Located in a 10-acre park, this 25-meter swimming pool is home to the the Riptides Swim and Water Polo teams and Big Gator Swim Club. Swim lessons are available for children and adults, including Tiny Tots classes for ages 3-5.
10100 SW 200 St., Cutler Bay
Flamingo Park Aquatic Center
In the heart of Miami Beach, this beautifully landscaped state-of-the-art facility features two separate pool areas: an eight-lane lap pool aerated in the summer and heated in the winter, and a 15-inch-deep interactive water playground. There are also birthday party rentals, learn-to-swim classes and specialty camps.
1200 Meridian Ave
Founders Park Splashpad
Kids can keep cool and have fun at this interactive zero-depth water playground with nozzles, structures and loops that produce a wide array of spray options. Free for Aventura residents and one accompanying guest. Visitors pay $10 plus park admission.
3105 NE 190 St., Aventura
Goulds Park Recreation Center
Among the array of features of this community gem is a water playground with activities for children of all ages, including a splash play zone for ages 1 to 5, and a large, recently renovated swimming pool, which is available for daily swim times year-round.
11350 SW 216 St., Miami
Grapeland Water Park
This city-run park’s four big attractions — Shipwreck Island, Pirate’s Plunge, Captain’s Lagoon and Buccaneer River Ride — range from adventurous water slides to a relaxing lazy river. Colorfully designed by Miami artist Romero Britto, Grapeland offers a nice bonus for inexperienced swimmers: Free life vests available throughout the park.
1550 NW 37 Ave., Miami
Gwen Cherry Park
This Liberty City park features pools for recreational swimming for ages 3 and older and a splash pad for 1 year and older. It’s open afternoons Monday-Saturday during summer months only. Learn-to-Swim courses for children and adults are taught by certified American Red Cross instructors. Parent & Tots (ages 2-5) classes are also available.
7090 NW 22 Ave., Miami
McDonald Water Park
It’s more chill than thrill at this city-owned park’s 1,000-foot lazy river with a waterfall tunnel. Plus you get the bonus of a beach without the sand at the wave pool, with fluctuating wave patterns. Plus there’s an interactive splash pad for younger visitors.
7505 W. 12 Ave., Hialeah
Families can have a Super Splashtacular Summer at this local hotspot all season long. While visiting the venue’s attractions and shows this summer, kiddoes can cool off at at Salty’s Pirate Playground sprinkler park, the Spray and Play misting stations throughout the property, and on two new inflatable water slides introduced this year – a Plunge Double Lane slide featuring a 27 foot drop, and Tahiti Island, a small scale slide for little ones.
4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami
Miami Shores Village Aquatic Center
The Aquatic Center has two pools worth of fun for all ages — an activity pool with slides and zero-depth entry and an eight-lane competition pool. Shipwreck Cove features six waterslides, interactive playground equipment and water cannons. There’s also the Predators Swim Team, and several aquatic classes, including Red Cross swim lessons for ages 6 months to adults. The facility is only open to village residents and their guests.
10200 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami Watersports Complex
On a 90-acre freshwater lake in Hialeah, this water park features wakeboarding, skiing, wakesurfing, wakeskating, tubing, kneeboarding and more. With three cable systems, boats and expert coaches, sessions are for kids to advanced riders. Private sessions are also offered.
401 E. 65 St.
This park features pools for recreational swimming for ages 3 and older and a splash pool for 2 years and older. It’s open afternoons Monday-Saturday during summer months only. Learn-to-Swim courses are also available.
14150 SW 264 St., Miami
Normandy Isle Park & Pool
Located on Normandy island in Miami Beach, this park features a four-lane lap pool and an interactive/play pool with water toys, changing rooms with showers and a concession area. An unusual bonus: The pool is open in the evenings thanks to an illuminated deck.
7030 Trouville Esplanade
North Pointe Community Center
Operated by the YMCA, the family-friendly water activities here include a 6,000-square-foot, beach-entry-style recreational pool as well as a massive
splash playground for ages 2 and older with slides, jets, water cannons and rain curtains. A swimming complex has showers and public lockers. Swim lessons and an aquatic camp are also offered.
7351 NW 186 St., Hialeah
Palm Springs North Pool
Located within Norman & Jean Reach Park, this pool and splash playground are open year-round. The pool is equipped with pool lifts, allowing disabled or elderly citizens to come for a swim. Swimming lessons and water safety courses for children and adults are taught by certified American Red Cross instructors.
7901 NW 176 St., Hialeah
Pinecrest Gardens Splash ‘N Play
This mini splash pad is for ages 2-12, though it’s perfect for the little ones. They can run through the water spouts as their chaperones wait on the shaded benches, surrounded by the gorgeous gardens that were the original site of Parrot Jungle. 11000 Red Rd., Pinecrest, 305-669-6990 www.pinecrestgardens.org
Sgt. Joseph Delancy Park
This park features interactive water activities for children of all ages, including a swimming pool and a splash playground for ages 2 and older. The pool is open sunrise to sunset only during the summer. Learn-to-Swim programs are offered for children and adults, as well as for adults with disabilities.
14450 Boggs Dr., Miami
South Dade Park Aquatic Center/Helen Sands Pool
The brand-new facility at the 8.61-acre park features a zero-depth-entry pool for competitive/recreational swimming, eight 25-yard lap lanes and a water slide tower, plus remodeled pool buildings.
28151 SW 164 Ave., Miami
South Pointe Park
With stunning views, this park not only serves as an iconic backdrop for photo shoots, but also includes a children’s playground with water features, a pier for fishing and access to the beach.
1 Washington Ave., Miami Beach
Surfside Community Center
Ideal for a low-stress family outing, the center’s features include a zero-depth entry leisure pool, a lap pool, a corkscrew waterslide and a Tot Lot kids’ play area. It’s open only to Surfside residents and their guests.
9293 Harding Ave.
One of Coral Gables’ most famous landmarks, this historical beauty created in 1923 from a coral rock quarry is fed by a fresh-water spring that’s drained and refilled daily. Surrounded by palm trees, shady fields and porticos, the 820,000-gallon pool features towers, waterfalls, cave-like grottos and a signature bridge. Children under 3 are not admitted.
2701 De Soto Blvd., Coral Gables
While water is not the main attraction here, there are several splash zones and water play areas throughout the park, like giant spray fountains, a “whale tail waterfall” and overflowing buckets. Ocean Voyage inside the Playworld Playground and the Fiesta Fountain at the Amazon and Beyond Village Plaza are great places for the kids to stomp around and get soaked.
12400 SW 152 St.