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Keep cool in the Central Virginia summer heat

Choose your favorite destination for cool summertime fun in Central Virginia. Visit Riverfront Park in Lynchburg to enjoy the spray pad.
Choose your favorite destination for cool summertime fun in Central Virginia. Visit Riverfront Park in Lynchburg to enjoy the spray pad.
Sandy Wallace

As the summertime heats up, Central Virginia families find fun ways to keep cool. Escape the heat with your family this weekend. In Lynchburg and Central Virginia, it's easy to cool down on a hot summer day.

It's easy to stay cool in the summertime at Sprayground, located in Lynchburg's Riverside Park
Sandy Wallace

In addition to local swimming pools and Virginia State Parks with lakes, kids really love playing at water parks. In Lynchburg, Sprayground is located in Riverside Park, 2238 Rivermont Avenue.

Sprayground opened in July 2010 to the delight of area children. The Junior League of Lynchburg helped fund Sprayground. Adults will tell you that two of the best things about this water playground are that it's completely ADA accessible with zero level access entry and that it's free.

Ask the kids and they'll tell you about the water buckets overhead, set to tip over and over again. Kids also enjoy the water spouts that come up from the ground and the fish sculptures that shoot water from their mouths.

During really hot weather, you'll find many parents enjoying the refreshing water too. Kids run, splash and play, shrieking as buckets of water tip over their heads. Spraygound is open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day until the beginning of October.

Head to downtown Lynchburg for more water fun in the spray pad at Riverfront Park, located at 1100 Jefferson Street. Riverfront Park is one of the best kept secrets in Lynchburg.

Much smaller than Sprayground, the spray pad features ground level water spouts the kids can run through. The spray pad is ADA accessible with zero level entry. Visit the spray pad daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Memorial Day until the beginning of October.

If you think snow skiing is only for winter, you've never been to Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, located off Candlers Mountain Road in Lynchburg on Liberty Mountain. The complex overlooks the LU campus and offers a spectacular view of the city.

The ski slope at Snowflex can be seen from a distance, rising up above the mountain. Snowflex uses a synthetic material that mimics the effects of snow and a patented misting system to allow for better skiing and tubing. There are no holes in the cushioned material or sharp edges so it's very safe.

Four new tubing runs opened in Fall 2013, offering family fun for snowtubers. Two are located next to the beginner's slope and two beside the advanced slope. The new tubing runs separate those who are snowtubing from skiers and snowboarders.

Snowtubing is a fun activity for all ages. Kids must be 36 inches or taller to snowtube at Snowflex. Those who are 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian at all times.

There are spectator seats located at both slopes. Spectators can also watch the action on the advanced slope from the upper level of the Barrick-Falwell Lodge or from the decks of the lodge.

An hour to the west of Lynchburg you'll find Splash Valley Water Park, located at 7415 Wood Haven Road in Roanoke. Splash Valley is a traditional waterpark, offering a current river for relaxing floating, two 34-feet high slides, a kids' climbing playset, sprayground area and more.

There are often lines of kids waiting for the big slides at Splash Valley. One is a bowl slide and the other is an enclosed flume slide. There's also a smaller slide that's perfect for little kids or parents to enjoy. The pool has a zero level entry for young kids and those with mobility issues.

Kids run in and out of the SprayGround's water spouts and laugh as the water hits them. Parents can watch from benches that line the pool or lounge chairs on the deck or they can just join in the fun.

There's no age limit at Splash Valley so it's great fun for parents and kids to enjoy together. Splash Valley is also a wonderful place for grandparents to bring their grandkids. The Roanoke water park is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from June through mid-August. Best of all, the prices are very reasonable. A discounted price is offered for daily admission for Roanoke County residents and for everyone on Wednesdays.

You can travel far away from Lynchburg and find more expensive places to beat the summertime heat. But the lines are shorter, the prices are more reasonable, and you can spend more time having fun by staying closer to home. Visit Sprayground, the spray pad or Snowflex in Lynchburg or Splash Valley Water Park in Roanoke soon.

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