Downpour

It might be a dry heat, but you can still get drenched in the Valley

From rappelling to resort pooling to ice blocking, here's a guide to finding the key ingredient for summer survival: water.

Slip Sliding Away: Ice blocking is a cheap thrill. All you need is a few friends, a towel, an ice block (available at most Circle Ks) and a hilly park. Wet down a slope with your block, put a towel over it, plop on, head downward and soak up the wind in your hair and the ice beneath your derri're. Glendale's Thunderbird Paseo Park (51st Avenue and Cactus Road to 72nd Avenue and Greenway Road) has excellent blocking runs, while Cactus Park (Scottsdale and Cactus roads in Scottsdale) has gentler hills for first-timers.

White Knuckle It: Canyoneering is a hybrid word for a hybrid activity. Sign up for Arizona White-Knuckle Adventures' most innovative undertaking, and you'll be hiking, swimming, rappelling (don't worry -- they'll teach you how) and wading in a canyon near Roosevelt Lake in the Salome Wilderness. No experience is necessary, but a sturdy pair of shoes you don't mind getting wet is. Transportation, lunch and equipment are included in the day trip's $135 charge. 10401 McDowell Mountain Ranch Road, #A2-112, 480-342-9669, www.arizona-adventures.com.

Awash in fun, the Valley's wet spots offer a cool reprieve from the summer sun.
Awash in fun, the Valley's wet spots offer a cool reprieve from the summer sun.

Tube City: Salt River tubing is a rite of passage for any Arizona resident. Bring sun block and water, and be prepared for anything -- you're guaranteed a good story or two from the trip. 1320 North Bush Highway, 480-984-3305, www.saltrivertubing.com.

Sink or Swim: The outdoor pool at Encanto Pool harks back to simpler days of swimming, with nominal fees ($1.50 for adults, 50 cents for kids and seniors, $6 for two-week swim lessons) and 1950s-style tile scenes around the pool. Check out wholesome scenes like ducks and turtles jumping into ponds immortalized at this local anachronism. Between Thomas and McDowell roads on 15th Avenue, 602-262-6541.

Even non-sports enthusiasts won't mind catching a game from the pool or hot tub at the MasterCard(r) Pool Pavilion at Bank One Ballpark. Thirty-five game tickets, five parking passes and various accouterments accompany the rather steep $5,900 price tag (per game) attached to this suite. 401 East Jefferson Street, 602-514-8400 (option 5).

Go Fish: From Surprise to Red Mountain, the state's Urban Fishing Program's lakes are stocked with fish ready to be caught, provided you have the requisite $16 Class U license. For more action and less shooting the breeze, sit on the shore of Tempe Town Lake. You still need a license, but you'll be in the company of plenty of other fishermen, rowers, children and water-bound Phoenicians. For information: Arizona Game and Fish Department, 2221 West Greenway Road, 602-942-3000.

Fountains of Youth: Desert Ridge Marketplace Fountain: By night, it's a teen and tween mecca; by day, it's a juicy interactive fountain in the center of the so-called District. 21001 North Tatum Boulevard, www.shopdesertridge.com.

Leapin Lagoon at the Phoenix Zoo: This "sprayground" is an incentive to trek around the zoo in 110-degree heat, but don't forget the towels (or your wallet, if you plan on buying some at the gift shop). 455 North Galvin Parkway, 602-273-1341, www.phoenixzoo.org.

Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park: Prepare for a thorough soaking -- waterfalls and fountains appear at every corner. On the south bank of Tempe Town Lake, near the park entrance at Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, 480-350-8625.

Go Jump in a Lake: Lake Pleasant, the closest major lake to north Phoenix, is where to go when you need a water-skiing, jet-skiing, parasailing, boating or fishing fix. The main entrance is two miles north of State Route 74 off Castle Hot Springs Road, 602-372-7460.

Saguaro Lake is smaller than Lake Pleasant, but it still has all the right assets -- swimming, fishing, boating, water skiing and boat rentals. 480-610-3300.

Posh Splash

Check out these resorts for super-low summertime rates and exclusive water rights -- facilities are on a strict guest-only basis.

Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa: Forget jockeying around your movie-theater seat to see over the person in front of you. Instead, bump inner tubes with your fellow movie watchers at the resort's Dive-In Movies. Other aquatic attractions include weekend water-balloon launches, a 92-foot water slide, misted private cabanas, water sports and Aqua Aerobics. 2400 East Missouri Avenue, 602-955-6600, www.arizonabiltmore.com.

Fairmont Scottsdale Princess: Here, you can slip down two of the state's most intimidating resort slides at 186 and 199 feet long, whilst fountains, coves and waterspouts supplement the swoosh factor. 7575 East Princess Drive, Scottsdale, 480-585-4848, www.fairmont.com/scottsdale.

Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa: Scuttle along the resort's re-created Gila River (done on a two-and-a-half-mile scale) to the casino, golf or Sivlik Grill; or stick to the riverside pool with its waterfalls. Also worth checking out is the Watsu pool for a water-based massage at $115 or $170. (The price depends on how long you choose to float and flex.) 5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, 602-225-0100, www.sheratonwildhorsepassresort.com.

Water Art

You can't hang water on a museum wall, but here are some places where you can see artful displays of the wet stuff.

Arizona Falls and WaterWorks: Upon entering this oft-overlooked jewel, follow the sound of water to the hydroelectric plant. On the lower level, large stones are ready for the sitting with generous shade, a view of the "falls" and water streaming down three of the area's walls. 56th Street and Indian School Road, http://www.srpnet.com/water/canals/azfalls.asp.

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