Splash Pads: All the Rage in the Midwest

“What in the heck are splash pads?” a friend asked. Okay, the language might’ve been stronger when I was asked this, but you get the idea. I can’t remember when the word came into my knowledge bank. I must’ve seen a picture of one along with the term “splash pad.”

Splash Pad

This is a splash pad. I was able to take this on a beautiful and cool June morning. No one was braving the water, otherwise it would’ve been filled with children!


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What is a splash pad?

It’s a place with water features, usually featuring a non-slip surface, for kids to run through on a summer day. Often, there are adjacent playgrounds. Splash pads have also been called spray pools. According to wikipedia, there is a spray pool in Aurora, Illinois that dates from the 1930s (though it has closed and reopened multiple times). It is located in Phillips Park as part of the Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center.

Wow! Look at all that water!

Wow! Look at all that water!

The largest splash pad in Europe honor goes to the Splash Fountain in Krasnodar, Russia (source: wikipedia). I was unable to find where the largest splash pad or spray pool in the world is located, nor which one is the oldest. I guess there isn’t much interest in the history of splash pads (yes, I googled that term!)

What would this even be called? A stained glass sculpture?

This is a picture from the playground adjacent to the splash pad shown above. The sun and stain glass also made a beautiful design on the turf.

The reflection from the sculpture.

The reflection from the sculpture.

They are a new trend, they are fun, and there are a lot of designs! Some are as simple as a few fountains and others get complex and include tunnels of water to run through and buckets that dump water at random. One near us features a waterfall!

Our first visit to the "bunny park" splash pad!

This was our first visit to the “bunny park” splash pad! It features a large waterfall, in addition to fountains coming out of the ground.

Why does the US love Splash Pads?

If you’re visiting the US in the summer, do a bit of research on the area you’re visiting and find the local splash pad. It’s a great and usually free activity that your children will enjoy! Let’s be candid, adults enjoy these, too. I play in the fountains with my kids and appreciate feeling slightly carefree for a moment. The moment is fleeting, because where’s my kid? And the other one? There they are!  Thank goodness!

When it’s hot, they help cool you down. The kids run around through the water and get tired. It’s less scary than taking small kids who can’t yet swim to the pool. Splash pads are fun for all ages (just watch teens dump water on each other in their teenager-y way). Big kids need playtime, too!

The theme of this park is dinosaurs and they did a lovely job with the design.

The theme of this park is dinosaurs and they did a lovely job with the design.

Do you have a favorite splash pad or splash fountain? Where is it located?

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