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Beat The Heat This Summer With Free Splash Parks

Submitted by on Wednesday, July 29, 200916 Comments

The dog-days of summer are upon us and with the economy the way it is, free splash parks are a great way to save a few greenbacks without compromising the fun factor.  I’ve asked parents around the country for the best free and low-cost splash parks and community aquatic centers.  Thanks to them, here is a great list of affordable family outings to get wet and stay cool!  (Please keep it growing with your favorites in the comments below.  I’ll update this page often to include your suggestions!) All of these are free or low-cost (one fee per car for parking, etc.), and all have at least a zero-entry area for non-swimmers to safely play in the water.   Many of these are quite elaborate with dancing fountains, aquatic playgrounds, dump buckets and lazy rivers… some are simply dozens of heat-quenching fountains and sprays.  All are affordable, family-friendly ways to beat the heat.  I have also included some low-fee ($10 or less) waterparks and aquatic centers for families wanting more adventure without theme park prices.   (All prices and offers were correct when writing this article, but please check the website or call ahead to ensure no surprises.)

SAFETY NOTE:  Splash pads are SLIPPERY.  Please have your child wear water shoes when enjoying these parks.

Alabama:

  • The Splash Pad: Delano Park, 825 Gordon Dr. SE, Decatur, AL  35601  Public park:  FREE.  Dozens of water jets shoot through the air onto a floor featuring a large scale map of Alabama.  Nearby is a playground designed to accomodate children of all abilities.
  • J. Gilmer Blackburn Aquatic Center: at Point Mallard Park, 2901 Point Mallard Dr., Decatur, AL  35601  Water park: Admission: $11-16; half-price days: Mondays & Wednesdays from 10am -6pm.   America’s first wave pool also has slides, sandy beach, squirt factory, duck pond, and more.

Arizona:

California:

Colorado:

Florida:

  • Kathryn Abby Hannah Park500 Wonderwood, Atlantic Beach, FL  32233  Public park: Admission: $1 per person or $3 per car, water playground is located on the lakeshore, wooded park is near the ocean/beach
  • Riverfront Park: downtown historic Cocoa Village,  430 Delannoy Ave, Cocoa, FL  32922   Public park: FREE, fountains along the Indian River, playground, concerts, boardwalk, picnic areas  (recommended by Mary Davis, Cocoa resident, business owner, motivational speaker and author of The Entrepreneurial Mom)
  • Sun Splash Park611 S. Atlantic Dr.,  Daytona Beach, FL  32118  Public park:  FREE  interactive fountains right off the beach, shaded playground, nearby parking  (Recommended by:  Jan Cullinane, co-author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life(Rodale))
  • Lakes Regional Park: 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Meyers, FL  33908  State park, FREE admission, $5 all-day parking… Showering palm trees, water guns, fountains.  Bike surrey rentals, train rides, beach, etc.  (recommended by Laurel Egan Kenny, married mother of 3, owner of Turningpoint Communications)
  • Kids Kampus1410 Gator Bowl Blvd, Jacksonville, FL  32202  Public park:  FREE  splash park with mini-replicas of Jacksonville landmarks
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace,  Walt Disney World, N Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), FL  32830   The one area of Disney where admission and parking are both FREE.   Kids can spend hours trying to catch the jumping water jets.  Plenty of dining and shopping options nearby, there’s also a train ride for $2, a carousel, and occasional FREE live shows.   Disney Quest is nearby (not cheap, but a fun indoor arcade/theme park for kids 10 and up).  (recommended by Orlando local mom and travel agency owner, Allison Jones)
  • Interactive Fountain:  Laishley Park, 100 Nesbit St., 200 Harbor Walk Drive(to parking lot), Punta Gorda, FL  33950  Public park:  FREE.   Activated by a motion sensor, kids can run through the filtered-water spouts.  Restrooms and pavillions for shade nearby.

Georgia:

  • Fountain of Rings: Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta GA  (parking on Luckie St NW between Spring St NW and Centennial Olympic Park Dr. NW)  Public park:  FREE, local kids love to run through the fountains ; fountains are near All Children’s Playground and the Georgia Aquarium

Illinois:

  • Crown Fountainin Millenium Park, 201 E Randolph St,  Chicago, IL   Public Park: FREE  two towers display video of faces appearing to spout water from their mouths into a shallow reflecting pool.

Indiana:

Iowa:

  • Pella Aquatics Center: 602 E 8th St., Pella, IA  50219  Community pool:  $5 kids, $5.50 adults;  zero depth toddler area with fountains, mushroom waterfall, and family slide; adventure river, large water slides, waterfalls and more.  (recommended by Kristin Hiemstra of The Art of Potential)

Kentucky:

  • Waterplay: at Waterfront Park,  (driveway to Waterplay area at 1200 E. River Rd.), Louisville, KY  40202   Public park:  FREE.  Located on the Ohio River, the park has multiple spray features and splash fountains and is walking distance to the Louisville Slugger Factory & Museum and other kid-friendly museums.
  • Atlantis WaterparkHoliday Inn Lakeview, 515 Marriott Dr., Clarksville, IN 47129  (across the bridge from Louisville, KY)  Waterpark: Admission: $8 weekday, $10 weekends, hotel guests get $1 off, check Atlantis website for coupons.  Wave pool, slides, kiddie pool, beach volleyball, and more.
  • Calistoga Splash Park at Glacier Run: at Louisville Zoo, 1100 Trevilion Way, Louisville, KY  40213,  Zoo:  Splash park FREE with paid zoo admission of $8.50 -11.95 (check your home zoo membership for reciprocity).  Nautically themed splash park with sprays, dump buckets, separate toddler area, and more.

Massachusetts:

Michigan:

  • The Park at Water’s Edge: part of Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa, Thompsonville, MI  Admission: $10 pp ($35 for a family of 4) (FREE for resort guests)  1-acre water playground with a zero-depth entry pool.
  • Full Blast35 Hamblin Ave, Battle Creek, MI  49017   Water Park:  Admission: $9 Flash Flood, $12 Superblast*  (*unlimited use of water parks, ticketed attractions, one free tube rental and one water wars)  Year-round fun with indoor & outdoor water parks, 3 gyms, trampoline, mini-golf, etc.

Minnesota:

Missouri:

New Hampshire:

  • Schouler Park Splash Park near the community center at 2638 White Mountain Hwy, North Conway, NH  03860  Public Park: FREE

New Jersey:

New York:

  • The Sprayground: Seneca Lake Park, 1 Lakefront Dr., Geneva, NY 14456  (THISlooks like the right map and coincides with the directions, not the address they give)  State park:  $7 per car.   Located on the shore of Lake Seneca (in the Fingerlakes Region), with over 100 water jets spontaneously spraying water.  Playground nearby also.

North Carolina:

Ohio:

  • Activity Center Park: 221 N. Main St., Centerville, OH  45459 (suburb of Dayton)  Neighborhood park: FREE  surprise spray jets, dump buckets, and frog ‘guns’ (water shooting out of their mouth)

Oregon:

Pennsylvania:

South Carolina:

South Dakota:

Tennessee:

Virginia:

Washington:

  • Heritage Park Fountain: 330 5th Ave SW, Olympia, WA  98501  Public park: FREE.  the fountain turns off for an hour at noon and 5pm each day.  Kids love to chase the 47 dancing water spouts that spring up in random patterns.
  • Tukwila Aquatic Playground: Tukwila Community Center 12424 42nd Ave S, Tukwila (Seattle suburb), WA  98168  Public park:  FREE   variety of splash fountains, spin ‘n spray fish, and surprise fountains
  • Water Spray Playground:  Crossroads Park, 16000 NE 10th St., Bellevue (near Seattle), WA  98008  Public park:  FREE, Ocean themed with orca, whales, shipwreck and more.
  • Splash Park:  Grass Land Park, 7031 148 Ave NE, Redmond (near Seattle), WA 98052  Public park:  FREE  surprise fountains near a nice playground
  • Mount Vernon – Kiwanis Spray Park, 18th & Broadway at Kiwanis Park.  Interactive spray park with frog water cannons, random jets, misters and fountains. Free. Picnic shelter, playground, baseball field and basketball hoops also.

Don’t see your hometown favorites?  Keep this list growing by adding your favorites in the comments below!  Try to include an address and/or website link if you can.  I will update the post to include your comments periodically.  And please share your experience with any of these parks by leaving a comment.

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