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Riding the waves 

Keeping the kids cool in water parks

How can you survive the sweltering heat from the unforgiving North Carolina sun? What if you've got a few kids to entertain and no gear for boating, fishing or waterskiing? It is for you that water parks were invented. Although the Triangle boasts numerous natural water attractions—discussed elsewhere in this section—it has fewer destinations of the manmade, family-friendly variety. Still, there are some options.

Exciting water rides can be found at Silver Lake Waterpark in Raleigh. The park is most known for its waterslide, fondly called the "Beast." The Beast is five stories of exhilarating, stomach-turning fun. (You must be at least 7 years old to ride, sorry kiddies.) If that monster is a little too much for you, perhaps you can test your skills on the shipwreck, sea monster or the log. Also, parkgoers can enjoy Silver Lake's water version of bumper cars: bumper boats. Of course, you can simply enjoy the spring-fed lake and go diving or swimming. Children can enjoy the 1-foot deep wading pool, while teens and adults enjoy the 3-feet depths of lifeguard-monitored water.

If you prefer less of the water and more of the park, there are plenty of dry activities for you to enjoy. You can take a pleasurable ride on the pedal boats, and there are facilities for volleyball and horseshoes. Concession stands sell the inevitable hotdogs, hamburgers, chicken fingers and pizza, and vegetarian items are included. For you vegetarians out there, garden burgers are also available.

During the summer season, Silver Lake Waterpark, located at 5300 Tryon Road, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Cost of admission is $6.95 Monday-Friday and $7.95 Saturday, Sunday and holidays. Additional fees are added for Beast, bumper boats or pedal boat privileges. For more information, call 851-1683 or visit www.silverlakewaterpark.com.

Silver Lake Waterpark isn't the only place to get wet this summer. For those of you who live on the western edge of the Triangle, an hour's drive to the west will take you to Greensboro's Wet'n Wild Emerald Pointe. For $28.99 ($19.99 for those under 48 inches) parkgoers can enjoy more than 10 water rides all day. For more information about the park, located at 3910 S. Holden Road, call (336) 852-9721 or visit www.emeraldpointe.com.

For less expensive water entertainment, try Pullen Park, located at 520 Ashe Ave. in Raleigh. Relax and ride pedal boats for $5 or enjoy a boat, train or carousel ride for $1. For more information, call 831-6468. Don't forget that many public bodies of waters in the area, including Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake, and Orange County's University Lake and Cane Creek Reservoir, offer ample boating rentals. For more information about boating services and other lakes, visit www.ils.unc.edu/parkproject/ncparks.html.

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