By Jodi Helmer
It’s no secret that temperatures can rise to sizzling in the South. Need proof? The current heat wave has temps topping 100 degrees in Charlotte! There’s no need to sit in front of a fan until fall. Here are a few creative ways to beat the heat:
Race down the waterslides or challenge the kids to a soaker gun shootout at Ray’s Splash Planet  where there is no shortage of H2O to keep things cool. Operated by the parks and recreation department, Ray’s Splash Planet was the first indoor waterpark in the state. The massive indoor complex boasts a three-story waterslide, lazy river and a quick current pool called The Vortex as well as lap lanes for swimming and water basketball and volleyball.
For a faster paced adventure, the U.S. National Whitewater Center  is the place to be. Strap on a lifejacket and race down the rapids in the manmade river or rent a kayak or and glide across the Catawba River (abandoning ship for a swim is highly recommended)! This summer, the Whitewater Center started renting standup paddleboards for more wet and wild fun. After you’re sufficiently waterlogged, grab with a cold one at the River’s Edge Bar and Grill.
See how much of a splash you can create on the bumper boats at NASCAR SpeedPark . If you’re still sweating after bumping tubes, head into the air conditioned laser tag arena.
When the mercury rises, the most popular spot in Charlotte is Boomerang Bay, the 20-acre waterpark at Carowinds . Slather on some sunscreen and spend the day playing in the Australian-themed waterpark. Take a dip in Bondi Beach, a 600,000-gallon wave pool, float along Crocodile Run, the lazy river, or speeding down one of four waterslides in the park, including Platypus Plunge and Sydney Sidewinder.
Just because it’s 100 degrees outside doesn’t mean you can’t go ice skating. Extreme Ice Center  has two rinks for hours of public skating fun. Carolina Broomball and The Charlotte Centre Curling Club also call the rink home; call ahead to see if there is a pickup game going on and try your hand at a cool new sport.
If it’s truly too hot to be moving around, grab a box of popcorn and spend the afternoon watching the latest Hollywood blockbusters at the EpiCentre Theaters  where the only thing colder than the draft beer served in the concession stand, is the a/c.
Jodi Helmer is the author of Moon Charlotte .
Photo courtesy of NASCAR SpeedPark.