(Photo from freefuninaustin.com)
School’s out for the summer, and that means the kids are home! Long, hot days stretch out before you, blissfully free of projects, homework, and the usual frantic daily schedule. But what do you do when your kids get bored with their toys, their friends are off to camp, or they’re spending too much time playing video games?
Fortunately, the city of Austin maintains eleven free splash pads for the enjoyment (and relief!) of residents. Check out the gems among them:
Just off North Lamar, this splash pad is located at 1101 West 33rd Street in a two-acre park. Though it has great sprinklers for toddlers and small children, it’s also good for ‘tweens as its major feature is a large orange pipe that shoots out water with force.
Clarksville Splash Pad
Close to downtown, this low-key splash pad, is located in a historic district at 1811 West 11th Street. Large blue tarps partially cover the splash area, providing shade that isn’t always easy to find at public parks. The area around it includes the convenience of benches, picnic tables, restrooms and a nearby water fountain.
Located at 3001 Harris Park Avenue, this hidden gem tends to be quieter and less populated than some of the other parks, so your child will have plenty of opportunities to press the silver button in the middle of the splash pad and start the jets squirting. Keep in mind that you may have to pay for parking.
You’ll find plenty of parking at this playground, located at 2400 Canterbury Street. The splash pad is located near a community center which offers programs for both kids and adults (and houses the restrooms.) Note that a large tree partially shades the splash pad, but the nearby swing set is exposed to the sun.
Pease Park’s Water Sprayground
Right in the middle of the city, this popular splash pad is located at 1600 Parkway at Kingsbury Street. The pad itself is large with an open layout, but be warned that there’s no shade over the splash pad itself. There is, however, plenty of shade along the nearby walkway.
Ricky Guerrero Splash Pad
Located at 1100 Brodie Street, this partially-enclosed splash pad is wonderfully shaded and has a wide variety of water-spraying features, including a fire hydrant and a circle of water jets. A nearby playground (not shaded) and a dry-bed creek allow for more fun and adventure.
Rosewood Splash Pad
Located in the Rosewood Park at 1182 Pleasant Valley Road, this partially-shaded splash pad has the benefit of a nearby free community pool and a play space that has a pirate ship and swings.
Remember, before you set off on your splash pad adventure, be sure to check with the Austin Parks and Recreation website to see if your favorite spot is closed for routine maintenance or under repair.