A few weeks ago, my neighbor and I were having a conversation about “Splash Pads.” Now I know most of us know what splash pads are, and yet there are a few who still do not. Splash pads are a wonderful and novel idea when a pool is not feasible…and yet when you have children, safety is a key issue!
Splash pads have become increasingly more popular in the Phoenix Arizona market because of its extremely safe way to have a backyard water park. Imagine letting you children just run outside and play in the water – and they will play for hours! Most pool builders specialize in large swimming pools and even play pools, which they deem “child friendly”, but nothing is as “kid friendly” as a splash pad with NO standing water, which means “no drowning hazards” for small children!
Now, the heat is still on in Phoenix…I’m beginning to think, we are never going to see cooler weather! But here are some really cool Splash pads throughout the Phoenix area you can take your family too. And in today’s economy, the price is still right…FREE!
Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park
This popular one-acre splash park is actually an interactive lesson for children, and teaches them how rainfall goes into the ocean or into the city water supply. Children start their learning adventure under a metal circle of clouds, where “rain” falls down and collects into streams. The water then leads to the “ocean,” where there are toy whales to ride. Only about two inches of water actually collects at any given time, which is cleaned and recycled to be circulated over and over again. There is always an attendant on duty during operating hours, and visitors can also reserve picnic tables nearby. Tempe is an enjoyable city, just walking distance from restaurants and shopping centers.
Details: 10 a.m.-7 pm. daily. South bank of Tempe Beach Park, 80 West Rio Salado Parkway , Tempe. 480-350-8625
Chandler Spray Pads
There are a few splash pads in the Chandler area, including one at Desert Breeze Park that is especially unique. Some of the spray features are in the shapes of animals, with three dolphins and an elephant showering visitors with cool water. Kids can sit on top of the animals, and three ground fountains also cool them off. Over at Espee Park, the giant primary-colored splash pad has a tower that pours water down on the laughing kids below. Three candy cane-shaped fountains, spray rings and ground sprays also keep children cool.
Details: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. through August, 10 a.m.-6 pm. September-October. Desert Breeze Park, 660 North Desert Breeze Blvd., Espee Park, 450 East Knox Road. 480-782-2727
Goodyear Community Park
The spacious splash pad gives kids plenty of space to run around and cool off on a hot day. The area has colorful arches that spray water in all directions so children can get soaked running underneath them. There is also a tumbling water feature that automatically fills up buckets of water that empty out onto visitors below. There’s also a big skate park where older kids can shred on the half-pipes and fun-boxes, basketball and tennis courts, a concession stand and plenty of shaded picnic tables and grassy areas.
Details: 9 a.m.-8 pm. daily through October. Goodyear Community Park, 3151 North Litchfield Road. 623-882-7525
Shopping Center Splash Pads
Several of the outdoor malls around the Valley have areas to cool off and get a little wet after a long day of shopping and maybe some lunch.
Tempe Marketplace (McClintock Road and Loop 202)
Desert Ridge Marketplace (Tatum Boulevard and Loop 101, Phoenix)
Westgate City Center (9401 West Glendale Ave., Glendale)
SanTan Village (Williams Field Road and Loop 202, Gilbert)
Kierland Commons (Greenway Parkway and Scottsdale Road, Phoenix)
Children should wear bathing suits at all of these water features.
Now for the Splash pad that has a nominal fee…
The Phoenix Zoo has its very own splash area in the park, called the Leapin’ Lagoon, that’s free for all zoo guests. Jet streams of water spray out from the ground, providing a refreshing respite after a long day of walking around the zoo. The perfect day? Start the morning by checking out all the animals, take a ride on the Endangered Species Carousel, enjoy lunch by the African Savanna and then cool off at the Leapin’ Lagoon in the afternoon.
Details: 10 a.m.-8 pm. daily through October. Phoenix Zoo, 455 North Galvin Parkway. $9-$18, Free for children 2 years and younger. 602-273-1341