Beat the heat at Missoula’s “almost” world-famous, Splash Montana this summer. Why drive all the way to Columbia Falls to enjoy a waterpark, when you can save money, time and gas by enjoying the one in your own backyard? Not only will you save $3.50 per gallon on gas, but you’ll also save $15-$20 per ticket per person.

The weather permitting, Splash Montana is open Memorial Day through Aug. 30.

Cost: $3.50 for 11 and under, $4 for 12-17 and 58 and older, $5.75 for 18-57, infants under 1 are free.

Splash Montana has a ton of great accommodations, such as lounge chairs, sun shades, a children’s play area, the Crazy Creek Café, and two party shelters making it easy for you to stay and play all day.

My son’s favorite food at Splash Montana is the dip-n-dots. What kid can resist freeze-dried ice cream? It’s fun and delicious. We’ve also had the pizza from the Crazy Creek Café. It was pretty good pizza my boys devoured it like a pack of starving wolves.

Three exciting three-story waterslides are the main attraction to this refreshing oasis. My favorite, by far, is the slide you can ride down on an inner-tube. My boys love the enclosed slide because it makes them feel like they are in a spaceship. There is also a lazy river float-way with a wild river branch along with several spray features, the Grizzly slide and floating play structures at Splash Montana.

If you’re kiddos aren’t quite old enough, or tall enough, to enjoy the waterslides, there is an extensive children’s area with a zero-depth entry – you can gradually walk in, just like at the beach.

For those who aren’t into the whole waterpark, kids screaming noisy chaos, Splash Montana has something for you too. They offer The Lake — a 50-meter pool with 50-meter and 25-yard lap lanes plus water volleyball, polo and basketball.

Did you know?

Splash Montana offers a little something for everyone, including a coached lap swim, adult and family value nights, and an inner-tube water polo league.

Splash Montana also hosts special events, including Tube Bowl Tailgate Parties, Friday play dates, ice cream socials, and water polo and volleyball pick-up games.

I promise you won’t be disappointed by your visit to Splash Montana. I guarantee, It’s worth every penny.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.