I found a municipal waterpark called Splash In The Boro (Statesboro, GA). Admission costs only $5 on Saturdays after 5 pm; the park is open until 8 pm. The crowds had thinned by then and we had our choice of comfy lounge chairs.
Splash In The Boro blew us away. The employees and lifeguards were clean-scrubbed and friendly. The 2 children's pools both had beach-entries and bubbling fountains for little ones--in addition to this giant tower of fountains and slides for older children. We had to pry Andrew away by his fingernails.
Splash In The Boro has life jackets available for children at no additional charge. We used them for floating down the Lazy River in intertubes. You can either buy food at the not-overpriced Snack Shack ($2 for a hamburger) or take a picnic to enjoy around the city park's lake outside.
I didn't know a small, local waterpark could be this cool, at least for young children. We had kicked around the idea of Dollywood's Splash Country later this summer, but I think we'll just enjoy Splash In The Boro when we visit family instead. Later I noticed that Georgia Southern University a few minutes away also offers three free educational centers, making for a budget-friendly trip indeed.
Do you have a great, cheap water park nearby? Leave us the details in the comments.