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LIers cool off at new Bay Shore spray park

Joe Barba and his daughter, Olivia, 4, of

Joe Barba and his daughter, Olivia, 4, of West Islip cool off in the new Spray Park at the Bay Shore Marina. Photo Credit: Newsday/Audrey C. Tiernan

It was a day to get wet, and stay wet.

But with the mercury pushing past 90, the line of cars at a standstill on the Robert Moses Causeway nudged Arthur Goncalves in a different direction.

Instead of heading to the beach, he took his 14-month-old son, Jake, to Islip Town's new Shipwreck Cove spray park at the Bay Shore Marina.

Goncalves, 38, of Brentwood, sat with Jake on a royal blue fish spouting water from its fat red lips. Around them, the 6-inch-deep wading pool was studded with toys spraying water in every direction: water cannons, dump buckets, water slides and a lighthouse projecting a shower from the peak of its roof.

At the park's grand opening 10 days ago, Shipwreck Cove welcomed 1,600 visitors, town parks commissioner Greg Dawson said Monday.

"We've been crowded ever since," he said.

The 6,000-square-foot wading pool was built with $1.5 million in capital funds, which Dawson said will be recouped through admission fees. A separate project to redesign the layout of the marina parking lot was completed last week for about $500,000, Dawson said.

Access to the park, at the southern end of South Clinton Avenue, costs $5 for town residents with recreation cards, $7.50 for residents without recreation cards and $10 for nonresidents. Recreation cards cost $25 for three years.

Already, Dawson said, the spray park has generated more than $40,000 in admission fees.

Rosa Rivas and her two daughters were among hundreds of parents and children there Monday seeking relief from the heat. Temperatures topped out at 95 degrees at nearby Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, according to the National Weather Service.

Laughing, Rivas, of Brentwood, carried 5-year-old Giselle through the spray.

"It's beautiful," Rivas said in Spanish. "She loves the water."

Since the park opened, the family has visited four times.

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