20 Most Unique Splash Pad Parks
When the weather heats up, what's the easiest way to cool off? A visit to a local splash pad park, of course. They're like regular playgrounds, only aquatic.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so we rounded up 20 of the coolest splash pads in the U.S. to help you choose which to visit.
Most of them are completely free, and all of them are completely fun. Just don't forget the sunscreen!
Seattle Center International Fountain
Location: Seattle, Washington
Why you should visit this splash pad: Built back in 1961, the Seattle Center International Fountain looks otherworldly. It was remodeled in 1995, and it doesn't show its age a bit today. Kids of all ages are drawn like a magnet to the silver, dome-shaped fountain.
If you show up at the right time, you might catch a synchronized water program in which the fountains are matched up with the beat of legendary music.
The Yards Park
Location: Washington, D.C.
Why you should visit this splash pad: This D.C. waterfront park has double the fun. On the bottom level, there are rows of shooting water fountains.
On the top level, gentle cascades flow into a shallow wading pool for toddlers.
Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Fountains
Location: Boston, Massachusetts
Why you should visit this splash pad: It's on a whole different level of splashing fun, that's why. As far as free splash pad parks go, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is as good as it gets. There are four different fountains for kids to frolic in, and they're close enough that they can switch between them as they please.
The Rings Fountain is the most iconic, shooting water high into the sky, but they're all tons of fun. Plus, there's a carousel to ride when you're done splashing.
Mary Bartelme Park
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Why you should visit this splash pad: There's so much to love about this Chicago park. It's designed with recycled materials and native plants, and the large, stainless steel sculpture in the middle is a sight to behold.
In winter, it's just art. But in summer, it turns into a water feature, raining cool mist down onto the happy kids below. Don't worry; adults are welcome to run through it, too.
The Dinosaur Place Splash Pad
Location: Montville, Connecticut
Why you should visit this splash pad: The Dinosaur Place is a cross between a museum and a water park. It boasts New England’s largest splash pad. The water play area features a dinosaur rib cage fountain, dinos that shoot water from their mouths and dozens of other fun dinosaur water features.
There's also an area for toddlers and seating for the grownups. To make visiting even easier, there are changing rooms located on site.
Centennial Center Park
Location: Centennial, Colorado
Why you should visit this splash pad: The11 acres of stunning park features make this splash pad park one of a kind. Its huge amphitheater is often filled with performers on summer evenings, and the entire park is filled with art and interactive trivia.
The playground is a blast, and the newer splash pad addition has made an already amazing park even better.
Historic Fourth Ward Park Splash Pad
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Why you should visit this splash pad: Named after the historic neighborhood it was built in, Historic Fourth Ward Park is a welcome patch of greenery amid the crowded city streets. The 17-acre park features more of a splash stream than a splash pad, and kids love it.
It's like walking through a woodland spring, only with an ice cream truck around the corner. The splash pad is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., May 1 to Oct 1.
Fountain of Rings
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Why you should visit this splash pad: Um, hello? It lights up! The Fountain of Rings is another well-known splash pad park in Atlanta, holding a cherished spot right downtown.
The water feature is turned on several times throughout the day, including at night when the real magic happens. As soon as it gets dark, colorful lights illuminate the Olympic ring-shaped streams of water. Beautiful and fun.
Mt. Elliott Park
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Why you should visit this splash pad: It's more of a full-on water park than an ordinary splash pad park. The Mt. Elliott Park & Pavilion splash pad was recently renovated, featuring schooner-themed cascades and cannons that are activated by movement.
The entire water feature is interactive, and the rest of the park is just as nice. It's right on the water, and there's a shop for snacks and summer essentials.
Sister Cities Park
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Why you should visit this splash pad: This is definitely the coolest of all the splash pads in Philly. It shoots up a fountain for every one of Philadelphia's sister cities, but that's just the start.
There's also a shaded Children's Discovery Garden with a pond to splash in, toy boats to sale and an on-site cafe for a bite to eat.
Piratesville Splash Pad
Location: Hartsville, South Carolina
Why you should visit this splash pad: It's basically an inexpensive water park. Admission is way less than at most water parks, so we'll consider the park at Neptune's Island to be the king of all splash pads. Piratesville features a 5,100-square-foot splash pad with pouring buckets, jets and water cannons.
For the big kids, there's also a wave pool, lazy river and tons of water slides.
Location: Houston, Texas
Why you should visit this splash pad: Discovery Green is smack in the middle of Houston, so it's no wonder it's such a local favorite. While there's nothing crazy, the checkered floor is a fun twist for this splash pad.
There's lots of grass around, so bring a picnic to share in the shade post-playtime.
Brooklyn Bridge Park Water Lab
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Why you should visit this splash pad: The Water Lab at Pier 6 is a destination. Nay, the, destination. The lab is open whenever the temperatures hit 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and families flock to the park to enjoy a welcome escape from the sun.
The splash pad park is designed like a hidden desert oasis, complete with shady trees, climbing rocks and plenty of jets to cool off in. Before you get your feet wet, take a ride on Brooklyn Bridge Park's historic carousel.
Chelsea Waterslide Park
Location: New York, New York
Why you should visit this splash pad: The picture doesn't do it justice. At this unique, newly renovated splash pad park in the Big Apple, there's a 17,000-square-foot playground with tons of never-before-seen play equipment. Climb through a massive, geometric pipefish, or splash your heart out in a number of interactive water features.
Kids can step on sensors to control the water, and the Chelsea Waterslide Park splash pad's innovative design reuses water to make it as eco-friendly as possible.
Rancho San Ramon Community Park
Location: San Ramon, California
Why you should visit this splash pad:
In the San Francisco East Bay suburbs, visitors will find a hidden gem. The splash pad at Rancho San Ramon Community Park is one of the biggest in the Bay Area, and it's a favorite for toddlers.
The entire splashing surface is rubberized, so slipping is almost impossible. Kids can run through geysers and water tunnels to their hearts' content. For anyone who forgot to bring a change of clothes, there's also a sweet playground right next to the water play area.
Annenberg Community Beach House
Location: Santa Monica, California
Why you should visit this splash pad: We love everything about the Annenberg Community Beach House. Located in sunny Santa Monica, it's like a country club on the beach without the membership fees. Yes, you read that right. Beach volleyball courts, soccer fields, a playground, a pool and a splash pad are all open to the public.
The beach house also features art and cultural events throughout the year for those who are interested in the facility's history.
Coldwater Canyon Park
Location: Beverly Hills, California
Why you should visit this splash pad: Don't mix this little splash pad park up with the massive Coldwater Canyon Park on Mulholland. This one is in true Beverly Hills, and while it's not the biggest park on this list, it's very quaint.
In place of a run-of-the-mill splash pad, the smaller Coldwater Canyon Park features a bubbling, manmade brook for kids to wade in. It's not deep, so even the smallest splashers can partake.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Why you should visit this splash pad: In the heart of downtown L.A. is a massive interactive splash pad in Grand Park. It's open all year, and it's totally free. If your kid is the one always trying to wade into public fountains, this is the one place where it's not just allowed, but also encouraged.
It's near the Music Center and City Hall, plus tons of great places to eat.
Location: Redondo Beach, California
Why you should visit this splash pad: It's not free, but it's easily worth the admission price. Seaside Lagoon has something for everyone. It's a manmade, seasonal lagoon with water slides, fountains, a playground and a splash pad. There's also plenty of sand to play in, so don't forget to bring a bucket.
Next to the lagoon is a diner called Ruby's, so treat the kids to a strawberry milkshake and an order of fries just for fun.
Centennial Hills Park
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Why you should visit this splash pad: It's in the middle of a 120-acre regional park. The entire park is beautiful, with trails to explore and endless picnic spots. The accessible playground is friendly for kids of all ages and abilities. Yay, inclusivity!
The colorful pavement is textured to avoid slips and falls, and there are shaded benches for parents to relax on while they look on the fun. That is, of course, unless they want to join in themselves.