Do your kids like to play in the dirt? Build tree forts? Climb cliffs and careen through tunnels?If you’re nodding your head YES right now, you need...
15 top splash pads!
Need to cool off this summer? Take a tour of the area's top splash pads!
Andrews Park Splash Pad
New in 2014, this splash pad features boat motifs (including sprayer masts), rings, water-table-like attractions for early walkers, flower showers, a sunshade and numerous benches and picnic tables, too.
Burnsville Lions Playground
New in 2015, this 2,000-square-foot splash pad is at Cliff Fen Park next to a huge playground (new in 2013) with more than 87 play pieces that can accommodate up to 265 kids. This site also offers access the Minnesota Valley Wildlife Refuge.
Central Park in Maple Grove
This popular new park’s interactive fountain encompasses a 2,100-square-foot plaza with 49 jet sprays and 18 arching sprays. LED lights turn the fountain into a light show once the sun goes down.
The adjacent playground features a 120-foot-long climbing wall, a 24-foot- tall climbing tower, a great lawn, trails, a garden with a labyrinth, and a new building with a concession stand, restrooms and a large lounge area.
Como Town Splash Zone
Let the kids play in water fountains, bubblers and jets, plus sprayers and water buckets.
Similar to the Maple Grove interactive fountain, this splash pad features sprays and splashes that emerge from a concrete plaza, conveniently sited next to a new-in-2013 playground with features geared toward ages 2–5 and 5– 12, plus ample benches and shade trees.
HealthEast Sports Center
This splash pad is part of the facility formerly known as the Bielenberg Sports Center. Bubblers and water buckets spray and splash runs only when activated by a button on a special flower.
Every four minutes, kids get to restart the show. There’s a larger platform with dumping buckets, nozzles and flower showers, plus a smaller, separate platform for toddlers. Also on site is a brand-new all-inclusive playground for all abilities called Madison’s Place.
Cottage Grove shut down its expensive-to-run, 50-year-old public pool in 2011 and, in 2012, replaced it with a new splash pad with numerous overhead and waist-level sprayers. And it’s been a hit! Seating is limited, however, so parents should bring lawn chairs. Nearby, you’ll find open grasslands, paved trails, baseball and soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, and picnicking near a pretty pond.
Kelley Park Splash Pad
Kids can’t resist running through the sequence of huge blue rings that spray and mist here, creating a virtual tunnel of fun. There’s also a gazebo decked out with picnic tables, plus a beautiful, rubber-matted playground. No wood chips here!
This is another plaza-style splash pad with simple sprays and jets that shoot out of a concrete plaza. Nearby you’ll find newer playground equipment — built in 2008 with soft, synthetic surfacing — including a tot lot for younger kids.
This playful splash pad — with sprayers high and low — blends seamlessly into the Miller Park Barrier-Free Playground, which boasts accessible pathways and surface structures that give children and adults of all mobilities the opportunity to reach all levels of the play structure.
Mike and Jenny Garvin came up with the idea for the playground in hopes that their daughter, Ashley, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, could play alongside other children her age.
Check out a list of inclusive Twin Cities playgrounds designed for all abilities at tinyurl.com/playgrounds-for-all.
Nicollet Commons Park
Here you’ll find a grand, meandering waterfall that slow falls over beautiful rocks and clear water, surrounded by various plants and trees — and usually filled with kids splish-splashing in the water.
A regular, timed sprinkler display in the heart of the square adds a thrill of anticipation — a joyful place to spend a hot summer day.
You’ll find grassy hills near the action for picnicking and relaxation. You’ll also find oodles of summer concerts plus Friday- night movies at the commons, which includes a 250-seat amphitheater.
St. Louis Park
This well-known interactive destination is ideal for no-plunge fun, complete with sprayers, sprinklers, tip buckets and more. It’s located in Louisiana Oaks Park of Highway 7, featuring sprawling lawns, beautiful trees and a playground. It’s free for residents and $1 for non-residents.
Large and dotted with spinning sprayers, this northwest-metro splash pad sits next to a playground (including swing sets), a sunshade, picnic tables and a 40-acre park with baseball fields and disc golf course.
Rosemount Splash Pad at Central Park
New in July 2014, this water spot is perfect for toddlers with its 3,700 square feet of ground nozzles that spray water up out of the splash pad’s rain deck, plus a moving water feature — the Water Journey — that allows smaller children to direct water as it flows through a maze. There’s plenty of seating for parents and a covered shelter with picnic tables, too.
Round Lake Park
Adjacent to a lake, a beach and a playground, this is Eden Prairie’s other splash pad, built in 2013, featuring palm tree sprayers and a soft rubber matting surface for slip-free fun.
Valleyfair’s Barefoot Beach
This family-friendly splash pad — free with admission to Valleyfair as part of its Soak City water park — features almost an entire acre of water-play elements, including a tipping bucket, slides and geysers. Kids must be fewer than 54 inches tall or accompanied by a supervising companion. Day passes to Valleyfair start at $35 online.
Water parks, too!
Also, be sure to check out our list of two dozen water parks (great for all ages, including older kids) in our Family Directory here and here (click on water parks on the left or just search water parks).
Amanda Williams lives in rural Minnesota with her two energetic sons and husband. She is a family travel writer and considers every day an opportunity for a grand adventure — after a good cup (or two) of coffee, of course! Sarah Jackson is the editor of Minnesota Parent. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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