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Get ready to splash into Spring in Orlando and Tampa area waterparks

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If there's one thing that reminds everyone that it's nearly summertime in Florida, it's waterpark season. Usually starting in early to mid-March this season, which often coincides with the start of bikini season, is when area water theme parks reopen after their winter slumber. In Tampa's Adventure Island®, the 2014 season of fun in the sun starts on Saturday, March 8. In Orlando, where the season never really ends, the wettest fun in the city can be found at Wet ‘n Wild Orlando.

Visitors to Adventure Island® are greeted in 2014 with the ability to once again to splash in the wave pool, amble down the Rambling Bayou, race down speed slides, including Everglides® and Riptide, or just kick back on the beach amidst a tropical Key West setting. Now, for a limited time, the best value to visit all season long is the Adventure Island Fun Card.

With the card, you can pay for a day and enjoy unlimited access to Adventure Island all season long with no blackout dates. The card is valid from March 8 through Oct. 12, 2014, and is available for purchase online, at the Adventure Island or Busch Gardens® front gates or by calling 1-888-800-5447. The Adventure Island Fun Card is $47 for adults and $43 children, and you can even add Busch Gardens for a combined Fun Card for $129 (adults) and $120 (children).

From the moment guests enter Adventure Island®, they are immersed in a Key West-themed paradise. The 40-acre water park features thrilling slides and tube rides, including Riptide, Wahoo Run®, Key West Rapids, Runaway Rapids, Everglides®, Calypso Coaster, Aruba Tuba, Caribbean Corkscrew®, Water Moccasin and Gulf Scream. Guests can also kick back on the beach, under a cabana or in the 17,000-square-foot wave pool, play on professional sand volleyball courts, breeze through the tropical gift shop or let the current sweep them through a half-mile of lush landscapes and tropical waterfalls on the Rambling Bayou. Each cabana includes four chaise lounges, a locker, a mini-fridge with bottled waters and four souvenir towels. Daily rental prices range from $99.99 to $189.99, based on the time of year.

Visit the website for daily operating hours. Single-day admission tickets for Adventure Island are $47 for adults and $43 for children. Children ages 2 and younger are free, and all children must be accompanied by an adult. All prices are per person, plus tax. Park hours are subject to change.

After experiencing the fun and excitement at Adventure Island, you can travel less than an hour to the city of Orlando to enjoy the original waterpark, Wet ‘n Wild Orlando. Orlando’s premier waterpark sets the standard for thrills and over-the-top excitement – offering world-class attractions to thrill-seekers of all ages. Families can share a wide variety of waterpark adventure, with more than fifteen themed rides and attractions and more multi-person rides than any other waterpark in Central Florida. Experience a deep space adventure that’s light years from ordinary on The Black Hole™: The Next Generation, encounter a splashing dose of group therapy on the Brain Wash™ or boogie down on the retro raft adventure Disco H2O™. At Wet ‘n Wild you’ll find high-speed, seriously twisted, multi-person adventures that let you feel the fun and share the rush.

This summer, guests will be able to enjoy a high-speed race awaits guests this summer when Wet ‘n Wild Orlando opens Florida’s tallest and fastest water-based racing attraction of its kind. The Aqua Drag Racer will be six stories tall and propel guests through four lanes of head-to-head competition at fifteen feet per-second before splashing them across the finish line.

“The new Aqua Drag Racer will pull guests into a high-speed thrill ride unlike any other around,” said Michael Black, Sr. Vice President & GM of Wet ‘n Wild. “This ride combines friendly competition along with the excitement of sharing the rush with family and friends.”

Guests will take their mark, get ready for a full throttle adrenaline rush and then power through enclosed braided, twisting tunnels as they accelerate into four parallel racing lanes. They will gain even more speed before rushing toward the finish line. The Aqua Drag Racer is designed to be the wettest and wildest high-speed drag race ever.

No matter your thrill level, you'll be able to find everything you're looking for at your favorite Central Florida waterpark. Now, just visit them all and see which one you prefer!

Be sure to subscribe to this column, travel to some of the greatest local getaways around, all from the comfort of your desktop (or laptop, or PDA, or smartphone!) If you have a favorite local attraction you'd like to see profiled, please let me know. Also, be sure to follow me on twitter, and read my articles about motorsports, HOAs, elections, and restaurants.

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