The free splash pad at War Memorial Park; photo by Tyler Rosenthal.

Sure, summers in Arkansas are sweltering, but you're in luck: The Natural State loves its water parks! There are lots of splashy options to cool down, all just a short drive away. From big-time water parks like Magic Springs to free attractions in city parks, here are nine water parks and splash pads in central Arkansas.

P.S. For summer-born babes, many of the water parks--including Arkadelphia Aquatic Park, Diamond Springs Water Park and Splash Zone in Jacksonville--offer pool rentals and birthday party options. Visit each park's website for more information, or browse our full birthday party guide here.

1. Arkadelphia Aquatic Park: Ask your kids if they’ve ever slid down a frog’s tongue. If the answer is no, be relieved and then take them to Arkadelphia’s Aquatic Park. You’ll find a larger-than-life amphibian to play upon, arching sprays, floating play pieces, a pool with zero depth entry and an open-flume waterslide. Youngsters are guaranteed a hopping good time. Open May 23-Sept. 7; 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat., 1-5 p.m. Sun., closed weekdays when public schools are in session. $6, 10-visit pass $50, family of four season pass $200. For info: (870) 246-2747, or click here.

2. Crenshaw Springs Water Park in White Hall: This new water park in White Hall is named for the natural spring that brought the community's first residents to the area. Visitors will find two 40-foot slides, a lazy river, zero-depth entry pool, a rock climbing wall and splash areas for little ones. The city-owned park has planned additions for the future, dependent on profit. Open May 23-Sept. 7: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1-6 p.m. Sun. $12, children ages 4-12 $10, children under 3 free; 10-visit pass $7; season pass $55 (for White Hall School District residents only). For info: (870) 247-6964, or click here.

3. Diamond Springs Water Park in Murfreesboro: Even if you don’t find a diamond in the rough at the adjacent Crater of Diamonds, this aquatic playground will keep you in a mining mood. With waterfall hideaways, geysers shooting from beneath the surface, sprayers, waterspouts, cascades, two water slides and more, your little swimmers will dig this place. Open May 23-Sept. 6: Noon-6 p.m. daily through Aug. 16, noon-6 p.m. Sat. & Sun. Aug. 16-Sept. 7. $6, children less than 42 inches in height $4, children under age 2 free; 20-visit pass $90; family season pass $235. For info: (870) 285-3113,

Thrills await at Magic Springs Water & Theme Park; photo by Tyler Rosenthal.

4. Magic Springs Water & Theme Park in Hot Springs: Crystal Falls, the Magic Springs water park, includes popular attractions like Splash Island, Boogie Blast, and the Kodiak Adventure River. Smaller children will enjoy a few new slides this year, including one shaped like a bowl. Families can also enjoy a special character series featuring the likes of Captain America and Dora the Explorer. The water park is open through Sept. 7; theme park is open through Nov. 1. Hours vary throughout the summer. Admission prices vary; season passes available. For info: (501) 624-0100,

More fun at Magic Springs; photo by Tyler Rosenthal.

5. Splash Pad at Tyndall Park in Benton: Cool off at this community mini water park, complete with water spouts, filling-and-dumping buckets, and a misting arc! Enjoy your lunch at one of the covered picnic tables inside the splash pad area. Open May 23-Labor Day; 9 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. For info: (501) 776-5970, FREE!

The popular splash pad in Riverfront Park; photo by Tyler Rosenthal

6. Splash Pads at Riverfront Park: Little Rock Parks & Recreation offers two areas in downtown Little Rock for kiddos to play and stay cool this spring and summer! The first water play area is located in the Peabody Adventure Park near the climbing wall and is open for children of all ages. For the little splashers (up to age 5), head to Riverfront Park's Children's Play Area behind the Marriott Hotel and look for the gentle water spouts and beautiful waterfall. Open through October; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. For info: FREE!
The free splash playground at War Memorial Park; photo by Tyler Rosenthal.
7. Splash Pad at War Memorial Park: Open for another summer, War Memorial Park’s splash playground offers rocks, nets, nooks and crannies to climb on with fountains, mist and plenty of water to keep kids wet. A covered slide and a view of Coleman Creek nearby also entice visitors. Open through October; 7 a.m.-8 p.m. daily. For info: FREE!
8. Splash Zone in Jacksonville: This city park in Jacksonville boasts two water slides, a water tunnel, the umbrella-shaped Rain Drop and Dew Drop water showers, and the kids-only Tea Cup. One of the two swimming pools is kid-friendly, with a depth of just 30 inches, perfect for little ones just learning how to use their sea legs. Open May 23-Sept. 1; hours vary throughout summer. $5, children ages 2 and under free; slides $1 extra and not included in passes. For info: (501) 982-7946,
Wild River Country features an area especially for little swimmers; photo by Tyler Rosenthal.
9. Wild River Country in North Little Rock: Feel the thrill of speeding down the thrilling water slides, including three new slides for 2015. Splash in the waves, ride the River Rapids or simply relax as you float around the lazy river. Opens May 16; hours vary throughout the summer. Prices vary. For info: (501) 753-8600,