Your kids can only bob in the water for so long before the chlorine turns their hair a luminescent green. To keep the troops entertained on a hot summer day, hit a variety of family-friendly attractions in east Phoenix and downtown Tempe, where a winning combo of air-conditioning, finger food, and hands-on museums awaits.
As for water parks, how about one with an educational focus? Your kids will learn a little something and, later, you'll get to sit long enough for a glass of Chardonnay.
Hall of Flame Museum of Firefighting. Cool, cavernous galleries filled with shiny red engines and other fun firefighter paraphernalia. Kids can climb all over a '51 American LaFrance truck and listen to once-live 911 calls. Open daily. $6, $4 ages 6-17, $1.50 ages 3-5, ages 2 and under free. 6101 E. Van Buren St., Phoenix; www.hallofflame.org or 602/275-3473.
Pueblo Grande Museum and Archaeological Park. Indoor/outdoor museum encompassing the ruins of a prehistoric Hohokam village. Wander through life-size replicas of indigenous dwellings, then come inside for the Dig It! Explore Archaeology exhibit and build a miniature Hohokam village. Open daily. $2, $1 ages 6-17, 5 and under free. 4619 E. Washington St., Phoenix; www.pueblogrande.com or 602/495-0901.
Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park. Waterfalls, mists, shallow pools, and streams that collectively tell the story of Earth's water supply. Open daily. Tempe Beach Park, Mill Ave. and Rio Salado Pkwy., Tempe Town Lake; www.tempe.gov/lake or 480/350-8625.
Monti's La Casa Vieja. Mini steaks and burgers for kids; filet mignon and vino for adults. Lunch and dinner daily. $$. 100 S. Mill Ave., Tempe; 480/967-7594.
Cookiez. Kid heaven. Choose your own cookie and ice cream for gooey oversize sandwiches. 11:30-8 Tue-Thu and Sun, 11:30-midnight Fri-Sat. 514 S. Mill Ave., Tempe; 480/557-7051.