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Hot plus sticky equal misery, as most Floridians know. In Collier and Lee counties, where the temperatures last week tucked themselves between a spread of 76 sultry degrees at 6 a.m. to 90 by afternoon, staying cool has been on the daily check list. 

That doesn’t mean you have to lock yourself in the bedroom with the AC cranked and the drapes drawn. Pair that pursuit of some quick cool-ation with free and low-cost summer fun, family and friends invited.

Ice, ice, baby

You need the big chill. Hertz Arena’s recreational rink promises it. Spend a frosty summer mid-day gliding — or waddling carefully, like some of us — around the 200-by–85-foot rink to a background of top pop tunes. And, yes, some nonskaters tag along with their skating families because it’s worth the price of admission to feel the freeze from the gallery. 

Regular public skating hours are daily except Wednesday. Check the schedule first, however. Freestyle lessons sometimes take over the rink during the week, which cancels public sessions.

David Gabinsky, 6, practices skating during the Hertz Arena Recreational Rink’s free skate on Friday, July 1, 2022 in Estero, Fla.

Specials include a Saturday night Pizza & Pop Skate 6:30-8 p.m. Its $13 fee includes skate rental, a slice of pizza and a soft drink. There’s a late-night Friday skate 9-10:30 p.m. that includes skate rental and admission for $12, and a Sunday family skate 6:30-8 p.m., also including skate rental and admission, for $10.

There’s a concession stand for those who skate up an appetite.

How cool is this idea? So cool you’ll need a sweatshirt, the rink’s publicity advises.

Where: Recreational rinks at Hertz Arena, 11000 Everblades Parkway, Estero

When: 12:15-1:45 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and 1-2:30 p.m. weekends

Cost: $10 admission and $3 for skate rental; sizes from 8 childs to 12 male adult

Information:skateeverblades.com or 239-948-7825, ext. 1306

Apps & STEM tricks & movies, oh my!

Inside Collier County Public Libraries, cool is a given during the summer. And it’s not just thermostatic — its one- to two-hour programs that tackle everything from iPad apps to creating your own sea creatures or starting a food review club. 

For example, from the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science MODS STEMobile, there’s a hands-on program for K-fifth grade, led by educators who teach kids to make wind chutes and launchers and test them. They learn the science of flight and aviation careers in the process (10 a.m. July 16).

COOL COMPANY: Estero’s woman-owned business of the year, ice cream

AND:75-plus things to do in July: See SNL’s Darrell Hammond, Naples Pride Festival is Saturday

For teens, there’s a talk with teen author Destiny Howell (“High Score”), who can tell you how to get that story from your imagination to print (6 p.m. July 13) and BOTS (books on the shelf) discussions.

Selah Medina, 4, shows off a shell from a sandbox after the library story time on Thursday, June 30, 2022 at the Lely South Regional Library in Naples, Fla.

Adults can join others in a U.S. History Readers Roundtable, discussing their favorite U.S. history books, fiction and non-, and sharing some great reading possibilities (2 p.m. July 14). Or enjoy movies like “The Pink Panther” (2 p.m. July 26). Don’t forget the story times for toddlers with a parent on Tuesdays.

And they’re all free.

These programs are scattered around Collier libraries but are open to everyone. The only requirement is online registration. 

What and where: Classes, workshops, story times and discussion for all ages rotated around Collier County public libraries. 

When: The entire month of July

How: Register in the Events section of the Collier County Public Libraries website, collierlibrary.org

Cost: Free

Opera around the world, right here

With Mephistopheles as a drinking buddy, “Faust’ is destined for someplace hot, we know. But we can cool off at the Wang Center watching his trip.

Opera Naples has put together a summer opera film series that takes the audience to some of the best known opera houses in Europe. See La Scala, Baden Baden, the Hamburg Staatsoper and El Real in Madrid, and watch conductors like Christian Thielemann and Ricard Chailly or stars like Renée Fleming and Asmik Grigorian. 

This quartet is about to give Falstaff, who has the delusion he can seduce one of them, a run for his money in the Staatsoper Hamburg production of"Falstaff," one of the summer series films at Opera Naples.

Beverages and popcorn make the afternoon even more of a treat; reserve tickets at the opera’s website

Here’s the schedule: July  20, “Turandot”; Aug.  3, “Ariadne auf Naxos”; Aug. 17, “Faust”; Sept. 7, “Falstaff”; Sept. 21, “Der Rosenkavalier; Oct. 5, “Rusalka”; Oct. 19, “Elektra.” See the website for details on who’s starring and where it played. 

When: 3 p.m. first and third Wednesdays of each month through October

Where: Wang Opera Center, 2408 Linwood Ave., Naples

Tickets: $22 for adults, $10 for students. 

Tickets and information: operanaples.org or 239-963-9050

Swim, slide, splash your way cool

Four cool pools in the county and one in Naples offer the ultimate chill: Just drench yourself.

These pools offer lessons for those who are chicken of the sea, or who want their children to learn. That’s a doubly cool option; just call the pool of your choice.

EAGLE LAKES DONNA FIALA EAGLE LAKES COMMUNITY PARK: The newest Collier County aquatic center, based in the park, boasts a sparkling blue 25-yard-by-25-meter heated pool, a children’s activity pool, a wading pool, a 177-foot open slide and a 122-foot closed slide. There’s also a 1-meter springboard and a 3-meter springboard.

Where: 11565 U.S. 41 E., Naples

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 ages 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free ages 3 and younger

Information: 239-252-3527 or collierparks.com

GOLDEN GATE  AQUATIC CENTER: Similar to the one at Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes, Golden Gate offers a 25-yard-by-25-meter heated pool, a children’s activity pool, a wading pool, a 177-foot open slide, a 122-foot closed slide, one 1-meter springboard and one 3-meter springboard.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays; closed Sundays

Where: 3300 Santa Barbara Blvd., Naples

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 ages 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free ages 3 and younger

Information: 239-252-6128 or collierparks.com

IIMMOKALEE SPORTS COMPLEX: This pool area of this complex has a new resurfaced and designed activity pool with a zero-depth entry that slopes to 18 inches deep for toddlers that parents will love. There’s a competition pool with six lap lanes, a water slide and two diving boards. Serious swimmers, we’re looking at you.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Where: 505 Escambia St., Immokalee

Admission: $2 adults, $1.50 ages 3-17 and seniors, $1 veterans, free ages 3 and younger

Information: 239-657-1951 or collierparks.com 

A line of people wait to go down the water slides at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon in Naples on July 8, 2016. (Erica Brechtelsbauer/Naples Daily News)

SUN-N-FUN LAGOON WATER PARK: The crown jewel of Collier County pools, this high-activity venue includes:

  • Five water slides and a special activity area, The Cove, to let 5-12-year-olds get their energy worked off. The 3½-foot deep Cove has a mesh rope and inflated “lily pad” walkway to navigate, a fountain spray and attached water pistols so kids can target their friends splashing around with them in the pool.
  • A river float with soaking buckets to keep you drenched unless you’re fast enough to paddle out of the way.
  • A family falls and tadpole pool for quieter activity.

When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily

Where: 15000 Livingston Road, Naples

Admission: $13 for 48 inches and taller ($11 Collier County resident); $6 less than 48 inches tall; $9 senior (age 60 and older); 48 military; free ages 0-3

Information: 239-252-4021 or collierparks.com

RIVER PARK COMMUNITY CENTER: This center, operated by the city of Naples, holds a solid swimmers’ pool, with a six-lane, 75-foot lap capability during prescribed hours. There’s also a children’s splash play feature with zero, or beach-style, entry, without stairs. It uses geothermal water heating and cooling equipment, and there’s a shaded picnic area as well as vending machines for snacks.

When: Now through Aug. 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays. Special hours for lap swimmers during that period are 7-10 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

Admission: Free, except for lap swims, which require a $10 monthly lap fee

Where: 451 11th St. N., Naples

Information: 239-213-3037 or naplesgov.com

Harriet Howard Heithaus covers arts and entertainment for the Naples Daily News/naplesnews.com. Reach her at 239-213-6091.