As summer wears on, sometimes you just need something quick, easy and free to occupy the kids and keep the adults sane. Enter the splash pad, that sure-to-please water playground that lets kids get drenched and burn energy, while parents stay dry and blissfully above the fray of floaties, pool noodles and bag upon bag of gear.
Here are ten places to cool off in the neighborhood, plus three “destination” splash pads for when you feel like venturing farther afield. They’re all free.
Nearby splash pads
>> Chuparosa Park Spray Pad, 2400 S. Dobson Road. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through August; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in September and October. The spray pad has one ground spray, four spray rings and one candy cane-shaped shower. Information: (480) 782-2752.
>> Desert Breeze Park Spray Animals, 660 N. Desert Breeze Blvd. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through August; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in September and October. Three dolphins and one elephant spray water here; jets shoot water up from the ground. Information: (480) 782-2750.
>> Espee Park Spray Pad, 450 E. Knox Road. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through August; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily in September and October. Spray rings, a tower that dumps water, three water showers and pop jets cool things down. Information: (480) 782-2750.
>> Water Tower Park, 45 W. Page Ave. Open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. A spray pad beneath Gilbert’s signature landmark is accompanied by a giant granite ball spinning on water, a water wall and grassy areas. Information: (480) 503-6200.
>> SanTan Village Splash Pad, 2218 E. Williams Field Road. Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily during summer. Located in the Children’s Play Area between Build-A-Bear and Gymboree, this colorful spot features shade and seating for parents. Park at Dillards for nearest access. Information: (480) 792-1500.
>> Esquer Park spray pad, 2407 E. McArthur Drive, Tempe. Information: (480) 350-8625.
>> Hudson Park spray pad, 1430 S. Cedar St., Tempe. Information: (480) 350-8625.
>> Jaycee Park spray pad, 817 W. Fifth St., Tempe. Open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The spray pad has a colorful climbing structure and water rings. Information: (480) 350-8625.
>> Kidsplash Fountain at Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The splash zone, next to Barnes & Noble in The District, features shaded seating and tables for parents. Shops and restaurants are steps away, and live music starts at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at two nearby stages. Information: (480) 966-9338.
>> Splash Playground at Tempe Beach Park, 80 W. Rio Salado Parkway. Open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The one-acre park teaches about the water cycle with misting “rain,” thunderclaps, lightning, streams and waterfalls. There are also spray cannons, toy whales and a sandy beach. Information: (480) 350-8625.
Destination splash pads
>> Cityscape, 1 E. Washington St., Phoenix. Open almost nonstop (the only time it really shuts down is for big events or bad weather), Cityscape’s flat water-jet fountain is ringed with umbrella-shaded tables and chairs. Throw a towel in your bag and hit it up after a ball game or a trip to a museum. Information: (602) 772-3900.
>> Rotary Splash Park at Fountain Park, 12925 N. Saguaro Blvd., Fountain Hills. Open 9 a.m. to sunset daily through Sept. 30. A scenic trip to Fountain Hills’ famous fountain can only be improved by the water cannons and other features at this water playground. Information: (480) 816-5178.
>> Scottsdale Quarter, 15279 N. Scottsdale Road. Open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Water shoots up from the ground at this palm tree- and chair- fringed fountain, which looks particularly pretty lit up after dark. Information: (480) 270-8123.
Contact writer: (480) 898-6818 or firstname.lastname@example.org