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Cool fun in Manteca, Ripon & Lathrop

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Kassidy Isham, right, cools off with friends Friday at Ripon’s Mistlin Park water play feature.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED June 22, 2013 2:14 a.m.

Toddlers with chubby marshmellow arms and legs chase water as it leaps around the play area.

Others run their hands and feet through small gushes, feeling the geysers slowly growing taller and stronger.

With cameras at the ready and lunch in bag, Mom and Dad soak in a summer day cooled by a play date at Mistlin Sports Park.

Welcome to the Central Valley, where residents have learned to fight the fire of triple-digit afternoons and evenings with – you guessed it – water.

The options are many and the cost often exorbitant – trips to the beach and major water parks can be pricey, and building a pool can put off retirement plans – unless you find your way to one of the region’s many water play areas.

There, fun is free.

Mistlin Sports Park has a popular water feature with its evening light display, large gazebo and playground. More than 50 kids splashed through its springs on Thursday afternoon.

But it’s not alone.

Lathrop has incorporated water play areas at Manuel Valverde Park and Mossdale Landing Community Park.

When Valverde Park began a $4 million facelift about five years ago, the project called for state-of-the-art pulsating jets. The area is open daily from April 15 to Oct. 15 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mossdale Landing Community Park features a large daisy and water tower that shower its guests on the weekends.

The City of Manteca recently re-opened its water play area at Library Park following maintenance to a broken pipe. Situated next to the railroad tracks that cut through the heart of town, the play area’s theme follows suit.

A crossing guard at the area’s entrance along the Tidewater Bikeway warns guests of wet kids and the benches line up like train cars.

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