Over the holiday break, we went to a birthday party at Ray’s Splash Planet. Built on the campus of Irwin Avenue Open Elementary School, Ray’s Splash Planet is a joint venture between the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. It is located in the Third Ward District between 5th Street and Sycamore Street, very close to Gateway Village uptown.
Over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of hooplah about Ray’s Splash Planet but we just hadn’t gotten around to going. Well this party was such a fun treat. The birthday girl turned 7, which I think is a perfect age to host a party at this venue. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the girls were independent so I didn’t have to bust out my bathing suit in the height of winter. You know my rule – don’t host a swimming birthday party unless the children are old enough to swim on their own. It’s just too stressful and humiliating for us moms, unless you look like 95% of my beach babe friends! Ansley’s favorite thing was the 3-story giant slide, the Blue Comet. She also liked the Orbiter where you float in a tube around the Blue Comet. This party was three hours long, which seemed a bit excessive at first. But then when I was given the option of finishing up my Christmas shopping, three hours came around way too quickly! There were plenty of lifeguards and parental chaperones, so we certainly felt like she was safe.
You don’t have to be invited to Ray’s to enjoy the park and it’s pretty cheap to boot. It will cost you $6/day for youth 17 and under, $8/day for adults. You can buy passes which will save you some cash if you plan to go often and there is a fitness center, but I wouldn’t recommend buying into that unless you live closeby. I will say that we live super close to the Harris Y and the water activities are similar, but Ray’s has way more to offer. So it’s definitely worth the trip once in a while. I would highly recommend this as an activity to do right now, when the kids are out of school and you are looking for something different.
Here are the hours so you don’t have to scour Ray’s website:
New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day – 10:00am-6:00pm
*pool closes 30 mins before building
Happy swimming! Let us know if you’ve been and what your experience was!