The forecast is for full-blown summer weather this weekend, and in this part of the world that means heat. When things heat up, the best way to cool down is to find a body of water. Here are some local watering holes where "cool" is the watchword!
Pleasant Hill Aquatic Park, Pleasant Hill
Why: A diving pool and "sprayground" with two picnic areas and barbecues awaits fun-seeking families looking to cool off in the summer heat.
When: Monday through Thursday, 1:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. and Fridays through Sundays 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 3.
How much: Fees are $3.50 for children 2-6 years and seniors 55+, $4 for children 7 to 17. Children under 2 are free. Use of the surrounding park is free.
Rankin Aquatic Center, Martinez
Why: The complex includes a play pool with a beach entry and a spray-play area, surrounded by places to picnic in the shade.
Where: 100 Buckley Street, Martinez
When: Mondays 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays noon to 4 p.m. until Aug. 17. Saturdays and Sunday through Sept. 16, noon to 5 p.m.
How much: $4 for seniors 55 and over, $5 for adults 18 to 54, $2.75 for children and youth ages 3 to 17, and free for children under 2.
Why: For the network of rides, slides, rivers and pools that make up this water-focused theme park.
When: From now until Sept. 16, 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends throughout July. Hours change in August and September, so check for updated information on the Waterworld website.
How much: 2012 season passes start at $56.99. Day tickets are $33.99 at the park and $30.99 online. Visit the Waterworld ticket page of the website.
Meadow Homes Park, Concord
Why: This — except with water gushing from spouts, spraying from hoses and drenching squealing children by the bucket. Bring a picnic or fire up one of the grills and make it a party.
When: Every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sept. 30.
How much: The park is completely free.
Heather Farm Park, Walnut Creek
Why: Why not? This park has it all: an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a children's wading pool, tennis courts, picnic areas, a community center, an equestrian center, a skate park, an off-leash dog park, bike paths, tot lots, a sand volleyball court, a fishing pond, a nature pond and six athletic fields — all connected to the Iron Horse Trail.
When: Weekdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. or sunset, and weekdays and holidays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or sunset. Heather Farms is closed every Tuesday from 7 a.m. to noon for regular maintenance. Events and hours are available on the Walnut Creek Recreation website.
How much: The park is free, and the 20-lane pool is $5 for adults 18 and over, $4.25 for youth aged 7 to 17, and $3.50 for children under 6 years old.
Where do you take the kids to cool off on hot summer days? Share your oases in the comments.