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Published: 5/8/2008

Numerous choices give divers and swimmers a chance to jump right in

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Patrons ride the Swahili Swirl at the Kalahari waterpark resort near Sandusky, Ohio. Patrons ride the Swahili Swirl at the Kalahari waterpark resort near Sandusky, Ohio.
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Children run and splash in the water while spending an afternoon at the beach at Olander Park in Sylvania. Children run and splash in the water while spending an afternoon at the beach at Olander Park in Sylvania.
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With Lake Erie, quarries, waterparks, inland lakes, and metroparks, northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan have a variety of offerings for people who love water.

Whether you re looking for a quick swim, a water slide, or an afternoon to bask on a beach, we ve highlighted some area venues that stand out:

• In the swim of things, Sylvania-style: Olander Park, a 60-acre site in Sylvania and Sylvania Township, features a spring-fed 28-acre lake, which is a popular destination for swimming, fishing, and boating. A 1.1-mile paved loop around Lake Olander allows for walking, jogging, in-line skating, and bicycling. There are also playgrounds, sand volleyball courts, and horseshoe pits.

Residents in the Olander Park System district can enter the area for free while nonresidents pay $3 a car Monday through Friday, $5 a car on weekends, and $7 a car on major holiday weekends. Weather permitting, the lake is open for swimming Memorial Day weekend and then weekends only until June 9. After that, it is open daily through mid-August. Olander Park System residents pay $2 per person to swim, while nonresidents are charged $4. In each case, children 2 and under are admitted free. Information: olanderpk.com

• A SUMMER SOAKING: Soak City, an 18-acre outdoor waterpark at Cedar Point in Sandusky, offers waterslides, a wave pool, and children s aquatic play areas. There are varying fees based on hours, ages, and attractions. Information: soakcity.cedarpoint.com. A nearby outdoor water park in Ottawa County is the Monsoon Lagoon Water Park at 1530 South Danbury Rd. near Port Clinton. The complex covers 300,000 square feet. Information: monsoonlagoonwaterpark.com

• Going deep: Gilboa Quarry in Putnam County boasts the area s deepest diving the quarry is more than 130 feet at some places and a sunken airplane that attracts divers from around the Midwest. The quarry is open from April 1 through Nov. 30 and has $15 fees for either diving or snorkeling. General admission is $6. Information: www.divegilboa.com

• Hitting the beach: The area known as the Irish Hills in southeastern Michigan includes inland lakes largely located in Lenawee County. Many of those lakes have public access points and beaches. Among them is the Walter J. Hayes State Park at 1220 Wamplers Lake Rd. near Onsted, Mich. There are fees to access the park. Information: michigan.gov/dnr;517-467-7401.

• Heading indoors: Of the area s indoor waterparks, more than a handful grabbed our attention. All have fees for use:

• The Africa-themed 173,000-square-foot Kalahari Indoor Waterpark Resort off U.S. 250 just south of Bogart Road near Sandusky claims to be America s largest water park. Information: kalahariresort.com

• Castaway Bay Indoor Water Park in Sandusky has a 38,000-square-foot facility at the former Radisson Harbour Inn next to the Cedar Point Causeway and features a Caribbean theme. Information: castawaybay.com

• Also in Sandusky is the Great Wolf Lodge on U.S. 250 with a 42,000-square-foot facility. Information: greatwolf.com

• The fourth in the Sandusky area is the Maui Sands Resort near the interchange of U.S. 250 and State Rt. 2. The 55,000-square-foot park, which has a Hawaiian theme, is scheduled to open in May. Information: www.mauisandsresort.com

• Splash Universe at the Holiday Inn Express in Dundee, Mich., has a 25,000-square-foot indoor waterpark, two slide towers, and a family interactive tree house with a 300-gallon tipping bucket on top. Information: splashuniverse.com

• Toledo-area residents can take a quick trip to the Splash Bay Indoor Water Park Resort at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Maumee. At 1705 Tollgate Drive, the indoor facility offers 30,000 square feet of attractions. Information: splashbayresort.com

• Making a splash: White Star Quarry in Gibsonburg, Ohio, is geared toward divers for recreational and training use. It is popular with rescue divers, dive teams, and public-safety personnel. It also offers an area for swimming. Fees are $10 for scuba diving and $2.50 for those ages 3-12 to swim and $3.50 for those ages 13 and up who want to swim. Information: whitestarquarry.com

• That Erie feeling: Maumee Bay State Park at 6505 Cedar Point Rd. in Oregon is a popular destination for swimmers. There is no fee to swim in Lake Erie and inland areas at the park. The park is also suited for fishing, boating, hiking, picnicking, camping, and golfing. Information: dnr.state.oh.us

• Taking A DIP in Toledo: Toledo public pools offer a quick respite from the summer heat, particularly to area children. Eight pools are expected to be open this season: Detwiler, Jamie Farr, Roosevelt, Willys, Pickford, Ravine, and Wilson.

Savage, a splash pad, also will be open. The most popular city pool last summer was Willys Pool, 1375 Hillcrest Ave., which has a diving board. The youngest of Toledo s pools is Detwiler, at 3901 290th St. It is also the city s only 50-meter pool, which is what it takes to host swim meets. Admission last year was $1. Information: 419-936-2020; ci.toledo.oh.us

• Tapped for training: Portage Quarry in Wood County serves as the training ground for several dive teams, including the Toledo-area rescue dive team and the Wood County team. Like White Star and Gilboa quarries, Portage Quarry is open to the public. It costs $10 to dive. It s $5 for adults to swim and $4 for children 12 and under to swim. Information: portagequarry.com

• Fun, sun, and sand: Luna Pier Park in Luna Pier, Mich., offers a beach for those who enjoy swimming and sunbathing and a pier for those who prefer fishing Lake Erie. Cost for parking is 50 cents hourly, and the area is typically open from Memorial Day through early September. Information: 734-848-6495.

Contact Mike Sigov at: sigov@theblade.com or 419-724-6074.



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