That tantalizing taste of summer we had earlier last week -- when temperatures warmed into the 60s -- was all I needed to dig out the shorts and swimwear in anticipation.
Summer will arrive eventually -- it always does -- and, based on recent years, we'll have plenty of hot, scorching days.
That's why the time is right -- now -- to make plans for keeping cool during the solar vortex that's sure to come. The Fox Valley Park District has just the ticket -- a two-sided one at that. It's a double-dandy season pass to two water parks for one low price.
Through the end of April, these bargain-busting season passes are available with an amazing discount. Purchase before May 1 and you'll save $10 per pass. You'll be good to go every day, all summer long, at both Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center and Splash Country Water Park. Heck, visit both in the same day, every day, if you'd like.
Preseason prices for residents range from $39 to $65, depending on age and package, but regardless of which pass you choose, it's a blue-water bargain -- with added benefits.
As a pass holder, you're granted VIP treatment with free admission to after-hour special events, $15 off birthday parties and an invitation to the exclusive members-only event on May 30.
Also, both water parks have extended their hours for the 2014 season and will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Simple math computes to a great discount. Based on daily admission rates, a season pass will pay for itself in little more than a week. After that, it's the equivalent of free admission for the rest of the summer.
Phillips Park has four slides -- two of the winding flume variety. The other two are drop slides that provide the sensation of going over the edge of a cliff on a waterfall -- an exhilarating plunge into the placid pool below.
Splash Country has two twisting flume slides as well and its famous "lazy river" that winds through dumping buckets, sprayers, water jets and bubbling rapids.
Both parks include kid-friendly sections with spray guns, waterfalls and sand areas, with beach volleyball courts for teens and adults. Lap-lane swimming is also available at designated times.
Each weekday at both water parks will have a theme and include activities like cannonball competitions, costume contests and relay races. Special event weekends are on tap all summer such as Glow Swim, Family Luau, Noodle Night and other good-time gatherings.
Family fun is priceless, and keeping it affordable assures that it stays that way.
The season for wet and wild fun begins May 31 -- but your summer could start early with a season pass in your pocket.
• Jeff Long is the public relations manager for the Fox Valley Park District. Visit www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org to order season passes online.