Summer is here and hotter than ever. Still, you can’t keep the kids inside forever. Why not engage in a little creative play at your nearest water feature? From splash pads to creative water stations, we’ve compiled a list of the best East Cost adventures for families looking for low-budget, high-fun play. If you’re traveling up the coast this summer, these are the best places to let the kids explore and keep them cool at the same time!
1. The Water Lab at Brooklyn Bridge Park – Brooklyn, NY
The Waterlab at Pier 6 is one of the biggest attractions at the Brooklyn Bridge Park, so be prepared for lots of kids to play with! In addition to a jetstream field that your kids can run and splash through, there is also a great water play area with a bucket filling station and water diversion equipment. The Waterlab is posted as being only for children 5-12 with a separate toddler water area. This is a good idea since the traffic is thick on sunny days and often includes older children toting water guns.
2. Alexander W. Kemp Playground – Boston MA
Although this park doesn’t include a splash pad, it does have one of the most innovative and interesting water features on the East Coast. There are multiple levels of water diversion equipment as well as unique play manipulates that kids can investigate in the water. Kids not only get wet, but learn how different materials like rock, sand, and wood function in the man-made stream. In addition, it’s at the perfect height for children in wheelchairs, so everyone can play in the water together, regardless of mobility.
3. Sprayground – Hurricane, WV
A giant water tower, bucket system, and spray doors are just a few of the features of this popular spray pad. Its popularity is also one of the reasons why the city has put a price on the previously free attraction (unless you’re a Putnam County resident with an ID to prove it) in addition to several strict rules. Only five children are allowed per one adult attending and groups over 20 must call ahead to reserve space. Admission is $3 per person, but it’s worth it for hours of family fun.
4. Spraypad at Old Atlanta Park – Atlanta, GA
The Spraypad at Old Atlanta Park isn’t one of the biggest on our list, but it is one of the cleanest and in one of the most beautiful settings. The Spraypad boasts water canons, buckets, and jetstreams in addition to being nestled in the beautiful evergreen woods of the Old Atlanta Park. The is a small fee of $2 per child, but parents are always free. Most people who visit the park comment on its cleanliness and ample seating room, making it one of the most comfortable splash pads for parents on our list.
5. Troy Hill Sprinkler Park – Pittsburg, PA
One of the largest spray parks in the Pittsburg area, the Troy Hill Sprinkler Park is the perfect respite for a hot day. Features of the park include a misting rainbow, dumping buckets, cascading water dome, and timed water streams. Almost the entire area is fenced or enclosed by buildings and has umbrella-covered seating and picnic tables to keep watching parents out of the heat. The best part of all is that this spray pad is free, making for an excellent summer outing on anyone’s budget.
6. Downey Park Splash Pad – Orlando, FL
If there’s one thing Orlandonians know, it’s how to beat the heat. The Downey Park Splash Pad is a great example of ingenuity and creativity in developing a water feature. A large red serpent rises out of the concrete, shooting streams of water and large flowers trickle down showers throughout the day. The splash pad also includes lots of covered seating and an enclosed play area to make watching kids easy and stress-free. Cost is only $1 per child and completely worth the investment.
7. Our Special Harbor Spray Park – Franconia, VA
It’s hard to convey the magic of the Our Special Harbor Spray Park without really being there yourself. Just imagine a Chesapeake Bay-themed kids resort, complete with ocean liners, interactive water tables, and a larger-than-life sea snake. Specific water features include a spraying osprey nest, misting sunflowers, and a lighthouse. This park also features a computerized water maze and dumping water buckets. The best part of this spray pad (besides it being free) is that it is 100% handicap inclusive so that all children can play in the water side-by-side.
8. Piratesville Splash Pad – Hartsville, SC
When you’re ready to make a slightly higher investment than free, you need to put your money into the incredible adventure that is the Piratesville Splash Pad in Hartsville. It’s $4 per child and $2 per adult, which makes it feasible for many parents. Plus, you get a lot of buccaneer for your buck. Water slide down the pirate ship, sit on the bubbling barrels, or fire the water cannons at your friends and enemies. Your kids will be so happy and tired by the time you’re done, you will saving up your pennies to return ASAP.
9. The Dinosaur Place at Nature’s Art Village – Montville, CT
Travel back in time with the Dinosaur-themed splash area at the acclaimed Nature’s Art Village. In addition to prehistoric creatures, water cannons, buckets, and misters, your little ones can play in the graduated water tables and themed bubblers. The splash pad also has a milder toddler area for those still working up the courage to see the dinos face-to-face. As the largest splashpad in New England, it is sure to meet your kids’ muster. Admission is free when purchased with the Dinosaur Place admission ticket ($14.99), so if you have kids who love dinosaurs, it might be worth the price to see the interactive museum and enjoy the splash pad, too!
10. Village Park Splash Pad – Kannapolis, NC
At just $1 per child and adults for free, you can get much better than this gorgeous water area. The park, which features a water tower, dropping buckets, cannons, and jet streams, is actually broken into two sections. The larger play area is perfect for children 5-12 with more advanced developmental activities and structures to play with. The smaller area is for toddlers and features misters, bubblers, and colorful structures to climb around and investigate.
What Do You Think?
Is one of your family favorites missing from our list? Tell us about it in the comments below. We love to know the places that keep you cool and your budget intact when it comes to summer playtime.