8 Great Places to Cool Down in the East Valley

NOTE: COVID-19 has created some closures or restrictions. Please check websites for updates/current information.

Ahhh. Summer’s here and if you’re like most of us, you’re not looking forward to staying inside for the next four months. While Cadence at Gateway’s Chute Pool complex is open to residents, we’ve found some additional nearby places to check out for cooling down and surviving this summer. Notes with COVID-19 related information included.

1. Rhodes Aquatic Complex with a Double FlowRider, 1860 S. Longmore Rd., Mesa, is a hidden gem for adventurous families.

Phase two of the COVID-19 reopening is scheduled for Monday, June 29, for reservation only lap swim, limited and reduced capacity swim lessons. There will be limited open swimming and the Flowrider will be open then.

Kids (and parents) love the double FlowRider surf machine that re-creates the speed and challenge of ocean waves without the sharks or riptides. A beach-like entry adds to the atmosphere, plus there’s eight 25-yard lap lanes, diving boards, a large splash pad and tumble buckets. Large shade structures keep kids safe from the sun and the pool deck cool enough to ditch your flip flops.


Youth (17 & Younger) – $2.00
Adults (18 & Older) – $4.00

For varied hours of specific Mesa pools, please contact  



2.  Mesa Aquatic Complex with Lazy River, 1630 E. Southern Ave., Mesa, features a multi-use lap pool, a dive pool and a leisure pool.

Phase two of the COVID-19 reopening is scheduled for Monday, June 29, for reservation only lap swim, limited and reduced capacity swim lessons. There will be limited open swimming.

The lap pool has eight lanes and a dive tank. The leisure pool includes a zero depth entry, an aquatic play area and the coolest feature, a LAZY RIVER. Shade structures cover bleacher seating around the lap pool and approximately 20,000 square feet of decking for lounge chairs. This pool keeps kids of all ages entertained and is easy on mom’s wallet.


Youth (17 & Younger) – $2.00
Adults (18 & Older) – $4.00

For varied hours of specific Mesa pools, please contact 



3.  Golfland Sunsplash, 155 W. Hampton Ave., Mesa. Do your kids ask about that magical castle every time you drive by on the 60? Well, now’s the time to make their dreams come true and relive your childhood Sunsplash memories with a summertime visit.

Due to the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19 their schedule may change frequently. Check the Hours Page on the date of your visit to confirm available attractions.


It’s been upgraded since we were kids, and now offers more than 30 rides and attractions, including Splashdown Harbor, The Master Blaster, The Sidewinder, The Hurricane, The Tornado, The Cyclone and The Black Hole. There are tadpole pools for the younger kids, plus dump buckets, a lazy river and a 450,000 gallon wave pool.

If you’re waterlogged and want to take a break, try mini golf, the race cars or – my kids’ favorite – the arcade with hundreds of games and laser tag.

Tip: Enjoy Sunsplash during the day and Golfland’s mini golf or race cars in the evening when temps drop a bit. Kids can also enjoy the arcade (and air conditioning) without paying for the other attractions.


General Admission is $29 for those 47 inches and over; $19.99 for those under 47 inches tall. There is a small water pad outside of Golfland that is free.

Hours: Hours of attractions vary. Check the website for daily schedule.



4.  Salt River Tubing & Recreation, 9200 North Bush Highway, Mesa.

Great for teens and large family/friend adventures, Salt River Tubing is an easy way to get kids outside enjoying nature. Simply rent a tube, catch a shuttle ride to the river and hop in for hours of cool fun and quality time away from the TV.

Note: SRTR will be distributing FREE bandanas to the public to wear as face coverings! A face covering/bandana will be REQUIRED during the tube rental/tube return transactions AND for shuttle bus transport to/from Salt River. Bus transportation will be downsized to 15 people per bus.

Enjoy a two, three or five-hour trip and don’t forget to bring the sunscreen, hats and protective footwear.

Tip: Buddy-up strong swimming adults with older kids and teens as there is an undertow on the river.


Tube rentals and shuttle service are available at $19 per person/tube.

Children must be a least eight years of age and 4 feet tall.

Open seven days a week, 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Group reservations are available for tubing Mon. through Fri., excluding holidays.



5. Mesa Riverview Park Splash Pad, 2100 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa. CLOSED at this time.Check website for updates.

Home to the Chicago Cubs, the area has many amenities including a water play area with ground and shower-type sprays, shaded play structures and picnic areas.

I love that this area is enclosed with a low fence making it easy to keep an eye on active toddlers.

There’s also a nearby pond for fishing and our family’s favorites – two large rope structures you can traverse – one makes a giant 60-foot loop, while the other offers a 50-foot tall test of bravery.

Tip: The zip line has been out of order for several months. Not sure when that’ll be back online, but kids of all ages will love to try this when it’s available again.



Hours: Open year-round. Park hours are sunrise to 10 p.m. every day.



6. Gilbert Water Tower Park (Splash Pad), 45 W. Page, Gilbert, has a cool fountain splash play area by the historic Water Tower with a water wall and a 9.5 ton floating granite ball (called a kugel ball) that kids can push in any direction.

*Splash pads currently remain closed at this time. Gilbert is actively developing

protocols that would facilitate the reopening of splash pads while still

supporting physical distancing measures. Please stay tuned!


The Gilbert Water Tower, which signifies the importance of water to my hometown farming community, is the focal point of the Gilbert Heritage District. I love taking our kids to where I grew up and letting them enjoy the water before grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many nearby award-winning restaurants.



Hours: Open daily, year-round

7. Chandler Desert Breeze Park (and Splash Pad), 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd., Chandler, has a water area with spray animals that kids can climb on, including dolphins and an elephant, plus three ground sprays. As an added bonus, there’s a miniature train offering inexpensive rides so kids can ride multiple times without breaking the bank. This park is a great location for toddler birthday parties and evening summer outings.

Currently open, but with facility alternations for social distancing and hours of operation. Visit https://www.chandleraz.gov/government/city-managers-office/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19 for the most current update.



Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. May through August.

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. September through October.



8. Queen Creek Splash Pad at Founders Park, 22407 S. Ellsworth Road, Queen Creek, features a 4,000 square-foot area with various water features, including a spray water tower, aqua loops, squirter jets, two water cannons and play mini-mushroom structures. We haven’t been yet, but several friends say this is a must-see for summer.

The Splash Pad is open; the community is strongly encouraged to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people and maintain a six-foot distance. https://www.queencreek.org/government/covid-19-info


Free. An adult must accompany children under 12.

Hours: 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., May through August.

10 a.m. – 6 p.m., September through October.



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