BLAC List: Best Water Parks & Public Pools

ou don't need a Great Lake to make a big splash! We searched southeast Michigan to find unique local spots where families can stay cool while staying close to home – and they are all right here in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Family Aquatic Center at Chandler Park

  • Address: 12600 Chandler Park Drive, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-822-7665
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, until Labor Day
  • Costs: $7 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 3-12, $2 children under two. (Note: Non Wayne County residents pay a dollar more.)

This is the  only water park located in Detroit proper and it's perfectly nestled on the eastside, making the pool a primo place to chill. The popular Way Cool Wave Pool ranges in depth from zero to six feet. There's a "Splish Splash Land" for tots, also, featuring tons of spray fountains. Teens and adults can tube-ride or body-slide down two super-sized water slides, too. It's all waiting a quarter-mile south of I-94!

Indoor Water Park at Warren Community Center

  • Address: 5460 Arden Ave., Warren
  • Phone: 586-268-8400
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Costs: $5 Warren residents, $10 non-residents. Children under three admitted free.

Sun too hot for ya? The tropics come to life indoors at this fave, home to one of the biggest indoor enclosed water slides in Michigan. Hang out on the lazy river in a tube or get doused by a 300-gallon tipping bucket attached to a sweet play structure that's "a jungle gym in a foot of water," compete with six slides, squirt guns, water cannons and jets – and even faux palm trees and a giant toucan. There's also hot tub for ages 15-plus, and a sauna for ages 18-plus – plus a nearby pool for lap swimming.

Metro Beach Squirt Zone and Pool

  • Address: 31300 Metropolitan Parkway, Harrison Township
  • Phone: 586-463-4581
  • Hours: 11-7 p.m. daily, until Sept. 3.
  • Costs: Free for Spray 'n' Play, $3 per person for pool. Add Huron-Clinton Metroparks vehicle pass: $5 daily, or $25 annual.

No doubt: The highlight here is the nifty sprayground. Little ones can prance around through ground sprays, water cannons and even red loops that curve to form a tunnel of spritzing H20. But there's more water-logged fun to be had. Over at the Olympic-sized pool, you can race a pal down its two waterslides and practice popping off the diving board (kids must be 48 inches or taller to ride the slides). And, of course, there's tons of sandy beach to enjoy along the waters of St. Clair.

Mt. Elliott Park & Pavillion

  • Address: 120 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-566-8200
  • Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
  • Costs: Free

The newly renovated Mr. Elliot Park is part of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy's master plan to bring families and fun back to the Detroit River. The park and pavillion includes fishing outlooks, a play scape and ship-styled water features complete with water cannons and other interactive components for a guaranteed day of fun in the sun!

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Red Oaks Waterpark

  • Address: 1455 E. 13 Mile Road, Madison Heights
  • Phone: 248-858-0918
  • Hours: Regular season (June 1-Aug. 26): 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends and holidays. Late season: Aug. 27-Aug. 31: 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sept. 1-3: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.   
  • Costs: $18 on weekends, $15 on weekdays. Oakland County residents pay $13 on weekends and $10 on weekdays. Children under 2 are free with an adult. Free parking.

Kids won't be bored anytime soon at Soak Station, a water playground with water jets, curtains, slides, bubbler jets and a six-foot tipping bucket (68 amenities in all!). There's also the 990-foot River Ride tubing adventure and Spray & Play zone for wee ones. And of course, don't miss out on that Triple Turn (a triple-flume waterslide) and the Terrific Tides wave-action pool.

Rolling Hills Water Park

  • Address: 7660 Stony Creek Road, Ypsilanti
  • Phone: 734-484-9676
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends and holidays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, until Sept. 1.
  • Costs: Weekdays: $7 Washtenaw County residents, $9 non-residents. Weekdays after 5 p.m.: $4.50 and $5.50, respectively. Kids 36" tall or under: Free. Vehicle admission fees also apply.

A snazzy venue all the way, the 'Hills has it all: a wave pool, water slides, a zero-depth entry activity pool for kids (complete with a gentle bubbler, geyser, waterfall and kiddy slide for children under 45"), sand playscape, lazy river and two spraygrounds. Plus, there's a cool sun deck that stretches throughout the water park, along with concessions and various essentials sold or rented onsite, from sunscreen to life jackets.

Romulus Aquatic Center

  • Address: 35765 Northline Road, Romulus
  • Phone: 734-942-2223
  • Hours: Outdoor: generally noon-8 p.m. daily, until Sept. 5. Indoor: generally noon-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday (subject to swim classes and lessons).
  • Costs: $8 Romulus residents, $1 non-residents, $5 if attending with a Romulus Athletic Center member

Dip your toes into this indoor water wonderland – you've got five pools to choose from. It's all here under one roof: a Splash Pool complete with water curtain, 150-gallon tipping bucket, kiddy slide and geyeserinos (love it); a 240-foot long Lazy River Pool (inner tubes available); the fire-engine red two-story twisting water slide – and a lap pool and hot tub, to boot. And, just outside, splash around in more tipping buckets, water geysers, cannons and foaming jets (grab a snack at the concession stand, too).

Splash 'n' Blast at Kensington Metropark

  •  Address: 2240 W. Buno Road, Milford
  •  Phone: 810-227-8910
  •  Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily, May 28-Sept. 3 (Labor Day)
  •  Costs: Regular: $5 adults, $4 kids ages 15 and under plus seniors. Twilight (5-7 p.m.): $4 adults, $3 kids and seniors. Add Huron-Clinton Metroparks vehicle pass: $5 daily, or $25 annual.

Slip down the two 250-foot twisted waterslides at this summer Metropark destination. For the wee ones, this water mecca has a cool sprayground complete with palm trees, serpents and cannons that all spray H20 galore. Note that waterslide riders must be 48 inches tall. Dry off at adjacent Martindale Beach (and, for more water fun, don't miss the nearby chances to rent a kayak, canoe, paddleboat or rowboat).

Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center at Lower Huron Metropark

  • Address: 17845 Savage Road, Belleville
  • Phone: 734-697-9181
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. weekends and holidays, until Sept. 1
  • Costs: $8 adults 48" and taller, $6 kids 30-47", free for kids under 30", $5 twilight fee (after 5 p.m.). Add Huron-Clinton Metroparks vehicle pass: $5 daily, or $25 annual. Coin-operated lockers are 50 cents.

This exciting respite from the summer heat offers a bevy of brilliant ways to get sopping wet. Like what? We're talking two water slides for speed demons, a laid-back never-ending lazy river, a sunning hill and a sweet water playscape with a 300-gallon dumping bucket. Don't forget the zero-depth entry pool with lap lanes. Top it off with food and beverages at Turtle Cove Grille. Ages 10 and under must be with parent.

Veterans Memorial Pool

  • Address: 2150 Jackson Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-794-6235
  • Hours: Monday-Friday 1-4:45 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday noon-4:45 p.m. and 6:30-8 p.m. Open through Sept. 1.
  • Costs: $4 adults, $3.50 ages 17 and under, $3.50 seniors ages 55-plus, free for kids 3 and under with a paying adult.

While officially classified as a city public pool, this Ann Arbor spot is so family friendly, affordable and filled with soak options, it earns our nod. Kids over 42 inches tall can twist and turn down a cool water slide, and littler ones can frolic in a variety of water-shooting contraptions, like a mushroom, fountains and pipes. These "raindrop" apparatus are part of a Tot Splash that's noon-1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (ages 7-plus).

Waterford Oaks Waterpark

  • Address: 1702 Scott Lake Road, Waterford
  • Phone: 248-858-0918
  • Hours: Regular season (June 8-Aug. 26): 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends and holidays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays. Late season: Aug. 27-31: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 1 – 3: 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
  • Costs: $6.50 ages 2 and up

This tropical-themed, palm tree-decked oasis is a sweet getaway. Its Dual-flume Slidewinder Waterslide is wicked fun (and what a name!), while the wave-action pool is heated to a just-right 78 degrees. Youngin's can hit the Big Bucket children's water playground to dabble in 30-plus interactive activities, including a giant tipping bucket, waterfalls and sprayers (kids must be 56" or shorter for this one). And don't miss the Ragin' Rapid, a group raft ride that drops your crew three stories of twists and turns!

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