The summer will be here before you know it -- and so will the heat.  And you know the kids will be dying to hit the pools to try out their new bathing suits.  So, if you're planning to hit the water parks this year, we did a little research to help you find the best destinations for 2013.

SPAR Aquatic Center  -- Opens Last Weekends Starting Early May, Closes Mid-August

933 W Parish Rd, Sulphur -- (337) 721-3068

You don't have to travel out of Southwest Louisiana to hit the water park this summer -- all you have to do is head down to the edge of Sulphur and hit SPAR.  If you live close enough to the SPAR, you also get a discount on your admission price.

Admission starts at $4 for in-district residents ages 3 and up.  30-Day passes and Season passes available, based on family size.  Children 0-2 get in free.

Schlitterbahn Galveston -- Outdoor Park Opens April 21, Closes Oct. 6 / Indoor Park open March through January.

2026 Lockheed Rd, Galveston, TX 77554 -- (409) 770-9283

The cool thing about Schlitterbahn is that it has both outdoor AND indoor components that allow it to stay open for most of the year.  The indoor portion, which features heated water, opens at the start of March and at least keeps a weekend schedule all the way through the first week of January.  The outdoor park opens April 21 on a weekends-only basis until May when it goes full-time.  You'll need this chart to help you make sense of the hours.

Admission starts at $20.99 for indoor portion only.  Prices go up depending on indoor vs. outdoor and whether or not you want a souvenir cup and towel.  Two-day passes and season passes available.

Blue Bayou Water Park -- Opens May 4, Closes Labor Day

18142 Perkins Road Baton Rouge -- (225) 753-3333

It's a drive, but Blue Bayou does double duty for you, since right across the street is the Dixie Landin' Amusement Park. And of course, you can buy passes to get you into both. On its own, however, Blue Bayou is the granddaddy of Louisiana water parks. The hours start as weekends only but ramp up to daily hours by late May:

  • May 4 - May 22: Saturdays and Sundays only, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • May 23 - Aug. 6 -- Open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Aug. 7 - Labor Day, Sept. 2 -- Saturdays and Sundays only, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Admission starts at $29.99 for senior citizens and people 48" and smaller, but gets you into both parks. Season passes available.

Splash Kingdom Water Park -- Opens Memorial Day, Closes Labor Day

7670 West 70th Street, Shreveport -- (318) 938-5473

The biggest drive is Splash Kingdom up in Shreveport. The park is very family friendly and has a Christian bent to it. The hours are as follows:

  • Sundays - Thursdays:  11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Fridays and Saturdays:  11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Admission starts at $16.95 for seniors and those 42" and shorter.  Children 0-2 get in free.  Season passes available.

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