Northeast Tarrant

Cities adding splash pads as an affordable alternative to swimming pools

Splash pads such as this one in Grapevine are becoming more and more popular in cities, offering an alternative to swimming pools. Among the reasons are they are usually free to use and safer for young children.
Splash pads such as this one in Grapevine are becoming more and more popular in cities, offering an alternative to swimming pools. Among the reasons are they are usually free to use and safer for young children. City of Grapevine

Summer and splashing go together.

Splash pads are becoming more and more popular and can be found in cities everywhere.

Weatherford is about to open its third splash pad at Marshall Park. The city installed its first in 2006.

"The biggest advantage is that a splash pad does not require lifeguards to man it," said Shannon Goodman, Weatherford parks and recreation director. "The splash pad is a lot easier for moms with young kids to not have to worry about water depth such as in pools."

Grapevine has a couple of splash pads, the first installed in 2013, and is planning another one for Bear Creek Dog Park under construction. Kevin Mitchell, the city's parks and recreation director, said they help reduce water waste.

It's also way for kids to enjoy splashing around while parents stay dry.

"The kids love them and parents do too because they can watch their kids play without getting wet themselves," Mitchell said.

In Southlake, a splash park was part of a Bicentennial Park playground project in 2015. A second is planned for December at the back terrace of the Champions Club at the Marq Southlake.

"Splash pads have become a popular amenity among many park systems in the area," said Candice Edmondson, Southlake deputy director of community services. "They engage kids' senses in a unique way and offer a new opportunity for creative play. In addition, they are a wonderful way to quickly cool down when playing outside in the Texas heat."

And this isn't just for kids, Goodman said.

"It’s open to all ages, and on a hot day we’ve seen the kids to the grandparents using it," he said.

"Trophy Club's splash pad is very popular among families with young children as there is little to no standing water in various places, making it safer for younger children to enjoy, as opposed to a pool," said Trophy Club Communications and Marketing Manager Jill Lind of that city's splash pad, which opened in 2011.

Jennifer Oakes, recreation supervisor of the Keller Pointe, said splash pads "promote physical activity, fun, and water exploration." Keller has one splash pad, which opened in 2013 at Keller Pointe.

Perhaps best of all, splash pads are generally free, while most pools charge admission.

"A splash pad is free to use for the public and creates a great opportunity for a cheap, but fun outing for everyone. It also create a more diverse park system for the residents," Goodman said. "We want to create as many recreation opportunities here as we can so that our residents don’t have to travel to experience it."

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