If beating the heat is on your Summer Bucket List, look no further. Here’s a list of the best Smarty-approved splash parks in or near the QC. All you need is sunscreen, bathing suits, and water shoes (but you’d be uber Smarty if you also packed snacks and a chair for yourself :-)). You might notice Carowinds isn’t on this list – that’s because I really tried to stick to freebies. Carowind’s Carolina Harbor Waterpark is certainly one to visit this summer (more than once), but check out one of these local splash parks if you’re looking to kill a couple of hours!
If you haven’t been to Birkdale lately, put it on your list pronto! Tons of great shopping, restaurants, AND an awesome spray ground to wear the kids out. Many times there’s live music, too. Sunday is one of my favorite days to spend at Birkdale. If you can sneak into Uniquities, do it! One of the B-E-S-T boutiques around.
Dan Nicholas Park
This park is worth the drive up I-85. Plan to spend the day here, so take a change of clothes so you can take advantage all the park has to offer! Not only do they have a great splash park, but there’s a petting zoo, a train ride, an awesome playground, and more. Take a lunch!
This was my kids’ and my go-to when they were itty bitty. We loved everything about it – except the gigantic hill up to the car when the kids are screaming from fatigue . Don’t make the same mistakes I did in 2006 – yank the kids out 15 minutes before you think they’re ready. Hopefully you’ll be leading little angels up that hill to the car :-). This is one of the most contained splash parks around – perfect for the li’ls if it’s not too crowded.
300 S Church St
Nestled directly across from the Knight’s stadium, this ingeniously designed park skyrocketed to the top of my kids’ lists quickly – and remains there even as they age. Spend a day at this park, and you will feel like you’re living in the best city in the world (because you are, of course). It’s the perfect blend of urban funk and kid-friendly fun. Check out all of the scheduled activities. I’m determined to make it up there for one of their summer lunch music series – it was on my list last summer and it’s staying on for this summer.
340 Stallings Road
We hit this park a couple of summers ago after it had just been re-designed. It has a GREAT splash park – MUCH bigger than Latta Park (but also a little farther out. It’s worth the drive, I promise!). This is a great place to meet a group of friends because it’s really manageable – keep an eye on the kids while socializing with your mom friends.
The Green Uptown
S. Tryon St between MLK and Stonewall
Make it a full day by grabbing lunch uptown and wear bathing suits under cover ups! Also, don’t forget your camera. The Green is one of the most photo-worthy spots in Charlotte!
What did we miss, Smarties? What are some of your fave places to cool off around town?