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Fun in the Sun

By Noel Daniel

When the Central Valley heats up, it doesn’t pull its punches. The temperature soars as high as summer kites, and when the going gets tough—the tough go swimming. Make sure to stay cool this summer. We might suggest sticking to the water!



Both Modesto and Turlock have an assortment of “Splash Grounds” areas—water spray parks that provide a safe place to have fun and cool down. Modesto Splash Grounds are open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Sept. 4, but scheduling is always based on weather and maintenance conditions. Turlock’s two Splash Grounds are open May 5 to Sept. 4, although their hours are more varied.


Modesto Locations

Marshall Park
440 Sutter Ave.
2 – 6 p.m.

Lions’ Junction on the VCT
Roseburg Ave. / Virginia Ave.
2 – 6 p.m.Sylvan Park
2801 Niabell Pl.
2 – 6 p.m.

Ustach Park
2700 Hillglen Ave.
2 – 6 p.m.

Freedom Park
3500 Sharon Ave.
2 – 6 p.m.

George Rogers Park
1650 Hillside Dr.
2 – 6 p.m.

Coffee Claratina Park
4400 Highlights Wy.
2 – 6 p.m.

Turlock Locations
Broadway Park
501 N. Broadway
Columbia Park
600 Columbia St.
Turlock Hours
Jun. 10 – Aug. 13
Monday – Thursday
3 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Friday – Sunday
1 p.m. – 8 p.m.Aug. 14 – Sept. 4
Friday – Sunday
1 p.m. – 8 p.m.


The Empire Pool, also known as the Regional Water Safety Training Center, is a relatively new facility that can accommodate approximately 125 patrons and has a host of amenities. These include a three to eight foot swimming pool, a youth water play structure, outdoor showers, a snackbar, covered picnic area, and an area with plush grass.


Hours of Operation
May 30 – Aug. 6 (Tuesday – Sunday)
Aug. 12 – Sept. 3 (Weekends Only)
Tuesday – Friday
Session 1
12:30 – 2:45 p.m.
Session 2
3 – 5:30 p.m.
Saturday & Sunday
Session 1
12:30 – 3 p.m.
Session 2
3:15 – 5:45 p.m.


Modesto Reservoir Regional Park is located at 18143 Reservoir Rd., a few miles from the town of Waterford, just off Highway 132. It offers over 3,200 acres of land and 2,800 acres of reservoir for recreation and camping. The site offers recreation like swimming, fishing, boating, water and jet skiing, and bird watching. There is a great variety of natural wildlife in the area, and for those who love to fish, they often restock the fish population at the reservoir with traditional rainbow trout, redear sunfish, largemouth bass, channel catfish, and bluegill.


Woodward Reservoir Regional Park is located at 14528 26-Mile Rd., a few miles north of Oakdale off Highway 120. It offers over 3,700 acres of land and 2,900 acres of reservoir for recreation and camping. The park features campsites, concessions, picnic shelters, barbecues, picnic tables, three boat launches and a fish-cleaning station. Campsites are located at T-Island, Muir Point, Fischer Point, Charlie’s Point, Hackberry Flat, and the volleyball court. Recreation opportunities are swimming, fishing, boating, and water and jet skiing. For the animal lovers, there is a great variety of wildlife. Be on the look-out for squirrels, jackrabbits, cottontails, red-tail hawks, coyotes, raccoons, seagulls, burrowing owls, geese, ducks, blue herons, great white egrets, and so much more.

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